CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Betty Schoenbaum, a local philanthropist, has passed away at the age of 100.
Betty was born in Dayton, Ohio on September, 27th, 1917. Betty met her husband, Alex Schoenbaum, in 1934 while they were both at Ohio State University. They were married in 1940 and moved to Charleston, WV shortly after.
In 1947, Alex Schoenbaum opened the Parkette Drive-In on the west side of Charleston. The restaurant became a franchise of Big Boy and named Shoney’s, which was one of Alex’s longtime nicknames. Shoney’s was the most successful Big Boy franchise in the country, and at the peak, there was 1,300 restaurants across the country.
Alex Schoenbaum passed away on December 6th, 1996 at the age of 81.
According to the Schoenbaum Center, Shoney’s success meant the Schoenbaums could give more freely to the community, and their generosity funded numerous projects for community growth and enjoyment in Charleston, but they did not stop in West Virginia. The Schoenbaum Center says the Schoenbaums’ philanthropy can be seen all over the world, as they continued to give to any cause they thought was deserving.
Betty commonly attributes their legacy’s start to her grandmother’s influence, who instilled in her the importance of humbly serving others and giving back, according to the Schoenbaum Center.
Some of their contributions to the community include the Schoenbaum Family Enrichment Center and the Schoenbaum Soccer Stadium in Charleston, WV and Schoenbaum Hall at Ohio State University, named in Alex’s memory.
Funeral services are expected to be held at B’nai Jacob Synagogue in Charleston, WV at 1 PM on Friday, August 3rd, 2018.