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Wood County Schools employee dies from COVID-19 complications

Wood County Schools mourns death of Les Lipscomb
Wood County Schools mourns death of Les Lipscomb(WTAP News)
Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 3:21 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) -This week the Wood County Schools community is mourning the loss of Les Lipscomb who passed away from complications from COVID-19.

According to a Wood County Schools press release, Lipscomb Jr., 65, passed away Sept. 14, 2021, due to complications from Covid-19. Les worked for Wood County Schools for 22 years, most recently as Custodian Coordinator for the school system.

“Les was a jack-of-all-trades. He could do anything,” said Martin Best, Physical Plant Director for Wood County Schools.

“He could do locksmith work, maintenance work, and carpentry work. When custodians had trouble with equipment, they would call him first and 90 percent of the time he’d fix it on the spot.”

Mike Fling, Assistant Superintendent of Facilities and School Services also says Lipscomb was a great handyman.

“He had that background as a mechanic and used it whenever the custodians needed help with their equipment. The past few weeks, I’ve been getting calls (for equipment repairs), and I had forgotten how much of that Les just took care of whenever someone asked.”

As Custodian Coordinator, Les was responsible for all custodial training, summer work schedules, and major projects. He also performed frequent quality checks at schools and worked with staff to improve areas of need or concern.

“Les was really good with people,” Best said. “He was a people person. He was easy to communicate with.”

“In the past few years, Les helped 50 or more custodians start their careers,” Fling said.

“He was always available if you needed him,” Best said. “If I asked him to do something, I didn’t have to worry about it getting done.”

“He was always upbeat, always personable,” Fling said. “He was a true helper. True helpers, people who are in it for others, just to help others, they’re pretty rare anymore. He just wanted to make sure everyone was taken care of. He is missed by everyone.”

Wood County Board of Education member Judy Johnson worked with Les when she was principal of Jefferson Elementary Center and while she was Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Wood County Schools.

Johnson said she often tells people how Les helped a special needs student by modifying the boy’s electric wheelchair so he could steer it with his mouth.

Les “really had a heart for the children,” Johnson said, “and gosh he was talented. He had so many talents and he was always ready to use them to help.”

Christie Willis, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching, Learning, and Accountability for Wood County Schools, said she first met Les when she was a teacher and he was a custodian at Jefferson Elementary Center. They quickly became friends and kept that friendship after they both left Jefferson and moved into new positions at Wood County Schools.

“My heart was broken” when she heard of his passing, Willis said. “I just considered him a really dear friend. Les cared about kids and he cared about people. He was just a really nice guy.”

Willis said Les had a well-deserved reputation for being friendly and reliable.

“A lot of people depended on him. He could fix anything. He would help out anyone. He was just a really good guy,” Willis said. “Wood County Schools lost a valuable member of the team.”

But Willis added she was grateful she’d had the opportunity to reunite with Les in the spring during a tour of Jefferson Elementary Center in preparation for summer programs.

“He and I did the walkthrough together. We were joking ‘here we are, back here again together,’” she said. “It was like I got to take one last stroll through Jefferson with him.”

“I’m really going to miss him,” Willis said.

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