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Former police chief, judge remembered

January 29, 2011
By WARREN SCOTT, Staff writer

WELLSBURG - Area residents are mourning the death of a Wellsburg man who wore many hats over the years but is most remembered as the city's police chief.

Gene Elcesser, who died Jan. 19 at the age of 61, held the position from 1985 to 1993 and is remembered for playing an active role in Wellsburg's small police department.

"He took the job very seriously," said Brooke County Prosecutor David B. Cross, who added, "It was always a pleasure working with him."

Attorney Wayne Mielke, who got to know Elcesser while serving as Wellsburg city solicitor, said, "He was an excellent gentleman and a wonderful person. He never had a harsh word for anybody."

"He did a great job. He wasn't mean or overly easy. He stood his ground," said Brooke County Sheriff Richard Ferguson,

"I guess the best way to describe him is that he was very responsible," Ferguson added.

Many said they remember Elcesser as being quiet and hard-working.

"He was very punctual and did his job well," said Doug Hervey who, as superintendent of the Wellsburg water treatment plant, was Elcesser's employer for a time.

A graduate of St. John School and Wellsburg High School, Elcesser followed a career at the former Satralloy plant in Mingo Junction, where he worked as superintendent of raw metals, with a career in public service.

Before serving as police chief, he represented the city's 1st Ward on Wellsburg City Council, served for eight years as Wellsburg Police Judge, a position known currently as municipal judge; and for eight years as Brooke County justice of the peace, a position that was later replaced by county magistrate.

In his later years Elcesser was a member of the Wellsburg Elks Lodge, where he served as exalted ruler; American Legion, Brooke County Sportsman's Club and American Trap Shooters Association. He also was a member of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church.

He and his wife of 61 years, Mary Martha "Sweetie," had a son, Bill, who followed in his footsteps as a Brooke County sheriff's deputy; and two daughters, Christine Loy of Fairfield, Ohio; and Stephanie Smith of Ofallon, Missouri.

Also surviving are their children's spouses, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

(Scott can be contacted at

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