Margaret C. McCluskey proved, in the first quarter of the 20th century, that a woman of exceptional ability could rise to the top and amass a fortune in the world of business.
At the same time she demonstrated her willingness to share her good fortune with her community.
Margaret McCluskey received a commercial education at St. Joseph's Academy in Wheeling and when she was graduated, in 1912 at the age of 17, Sister Annunciata Owens recommended her for a job at Centre Foundry, then located near the site of the present post office.
Margaret's father, a man of the old school, objected. But economic necessity demanded that the young girl earn money. Soon after that her father died and she became the sole support of her mother and herself.
The rest is an Horatio Alger story that may have been written for Ms magazine.
From the position of office clerk she advanced rapidly through the ranks and became secretary-treasurer of the company. Her monetary compensation kept pace with her increased responsibilities. This occurred at a time in history when women executives were truly a rarity. Her salary equalled that of many male executives of the time and this also, was a unique circumstance.
She had an extraordinary grasp of the intricacies of finance and was successful not only in her executive duties but in the personal investments she made. Through her own efforts and shrewdness, she built a large personal fortune.
The foundry of which she was such a vital part grew enormously and profitably during this period and moved to much larger quarters in Warwood in 1939.
In 1959 Margaret McCluskey married Andrew C. Schiffler, a practicing attorney in Wheeling and a former U. S. Congressman. It was a happy marriage and soon Margaret C. McCluskey resigned from Centre Foundry to spend more time with her husband.
During their married life, the Schifflers often discussed at length their mutual desire to be of help to Wheeling Hospital, which was in the planning stages of a move from North Wheeling to Medical Park.
Andrew C. Schiffler died in 1970. Six years later, in 1976, when she was 81, Mrs. Schiffler succumbed but by then she had already implemented the plans for the trust to benefit Wheeling Hospital.
Under the terms of her will over $2 million was left to Wheeling Hospital. In addition to the large hospital bequest, Mrs. Schiffler left a substantial amount to the Roman Catholic Diocese to be used for the education of young men studying for the priesthood.
And, Sister Annunciata Owens, who recommended the 17-year-old Miss Margaret to the Centre Foundry, was memorialized with a bequest to her order, the Sisters of St. Joseph at Pogue's Run.
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