Born: , Wright, W.Va.         Henry #:

Died:  25 May 1989 at age 83.   Resided:Charlston Co. W. VA

CHARLSTON (AP) – W. Gaston Caperton Jr., the father of West Virgina Gov. Gaston Caperton and a co-founder of a small insurance company his son made a giant, died Thursday from complication from a stroke. He was 83.

He had suffered a slight stroke May 2 and had remained hospitalized since. He died shortly after 12:30 a.m. Thursday.

“My father was truly a great man. His lover for God, his family and his state was greater than that of any man I have ever known,” Gov. Caperton said. “He was a successful businessman and civic leader who will be greatly missed by all who knew him.”

Services were scheduled for 4 p.m. Friday at St. John's Episcopal Church in Charleston.

The governor's father was born William Gaston Caperton Jr. in Wright, W.Va. He was valedictorian of the Augusta Military Academy and earned a degree in mining engineering from Virginia Tech.

He studied business for a year at a branch of the University of Pennsylvania and for a time worked for Western Union in New York.

In 1935, he returned to West Virginia and the following year helped found McDonough-Caperton-Shepard-Goldsmith, a general insurance agency, in Charleston. McDonough was Caperton's brother-in-law.

In 1964, Caperton served as Hulett Smith's campaign director in Smith's successful bid to become West Virginia's governor. He also was a member of the committee on export expansion for the U.S. Department of Commerce.

His son, West Virginia's future governor, began working for the firm in 1963. In 1970, the younger Caperton bought out his father and uncle when the insurance group had just 13 employees.

At the time his son became governor, the firm had more than 500 employees and 19 offices and was one of the top 20 insurance brokers in the nation.

His son was a political novice when he upset incumbent Gov. Arch Moore to win the November 1988 general election. He took office in January and placed the insurance company in a blind trust.

Caperton Jr. is survived by his wife, Eliza Ambler Caperton; his son, the governor; a daughter, Cary Caperton Owen of Asheville, N.C.; six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Source: The Register-Herald