Alumna, Staffer Jacque Oblinger Dies
Jacquelyn “Jacque” Pero Oblinger, a 1948 Bluefield College graduate who returned to work for her alma mater in the late 1970s after a distinguished career in broadcast journalism, died February 14, 2014 in Wytheville, Virginia.
February 17, 2014
Jacque Pero Oblinger, 1995
Jacque, 85, who lived most her life in Bluefield, Virginia, and Charleston, West Virginia, began her career in broadcasting in radio in the late 1950s. She later moved to television, where she was a pioneer in live TV in West Virginia and for women in TV everywhere.
Her broadcasting career spanned more than 25 years in Bluefield and then Charleston, during which time she interviewed live the likes of Jackie Kennedy, Liberace and Johnny Mathis, but was just as happy to showcase high school choirs, regional artists and other local personalities.
She was recognized by the West Virginia Broadcasters Hall of Fame as one of the most influential television personalities in the history of West Virginia. For thousands of folks, the playing of “Sleigh Ride” at Christmas still means one thing: “Jackie’s Gift Parade.” She retired from broadcasting and returned to her alma mater in 1977 to recruit students.
“Coming home to Bluefield College was one of the greatest joys of my life,” said Jacque during her days on staff at BC. “I believe God sent me there. I thank God for sending me to a place where I could contribute and make a difference.”
And make a difference, she did. In addition to recruiting students to Bluefield College, Jacque helped establish a Communications Department at BC. She became an instructor of communications and later secured equipment for the first-ever Bluefield College campus student radio station.
“She was such a special lady and had such an influence on me when I was at Bluefield College,” said 1996 alumnus Robbie Sublett. “Wonderful memories of a wonderful person.”
In 1992, she became BC’s director of career development, assisting upperclassmen in finding employment after college. During her tenure, she also served as president of the Faculty/Staff Club and a member of the Town and Gown Society. She retired from BC in 1996 after 19 years of service.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my career with Bluefield College,” said Jacque at the time of her retirement. “It’s the most wonderful place in the world to work, because of the people there and what’s in the hearts of the people. I have been truly blessed with wonderful friends who mean so much to me.”
Outside of her career, Jacque was a community servant, co-chairing the March of Dimes quest in the mid 1950s to eradicate polio in Virginia and West Virginia. She proudly gave one of the first ever Salk vaccines to her son as an initial step in wiping out the dreaded disease.
She also volunteered countless hours to the Charleston Union Mission and to other civic and service groups. In addition, she chaperoned many Miss West Virginias to the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Among her awards for community service: the West Virginia Daughter of the Year Award, the Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce Athena Award, and the BC Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award.
She is survived by her husband of 66 years, John, a 1947 Bluefield College graduate; three sons, Mark (‘86), Michael (’91) and Phillip; and a host of grandchildren, many of whom also attended BC.