Concord Charlie To Make Prediction At 40th Anniversary Groundhog Day Breakfast

For Immediate Release: 
Jan 16 2019


Sarah M. Pritchett

Concord University

Office of Advancement

PO Box 1000, Athens, WV 24712

(304) 384-6312,


After 4 p.m.

Office: 304-384-5211

Cell: 304-320-6405






Charlie Mathena Being Honored As Grand Groundhog Watcher



ATHENS, W.Va. – Concord Charlie was snowed in last year and didn’t get to make his 40th weather prediction for Concord University’s Groundhog Day Breakfast. That makes the famed groundhog prognosticator very eager for the 2019 breakfast. The popular event is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 1 at 8 a.m. in University Point’s Pais Fellowship Hall on Concord’s Athens campus.


Concord Charlie will be sharing the spotlight at the breakfast with the Grand Groundhog Watcher, Charles T. “Charlie” Mathena. Mr. Mathena, like Charlie, had planned to participate in the 2018 breakfast.


The Grand Groundhog Watcher honor is bestowed on an individual who has positively impacted life and culture in West Virginia.


Charlie Mathena grew up in Welch, WV and graduated from Welch High School, Bluefield State College and the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science. He began his career in the funeral industry at the Memorial Funeral Directory of Princeton, WV, in 1966 and remains there today as President and General Manager.


Charlie has been married for 49 years to Marquetta Krupey Mathena and is the father of the late Charles T. “Chuck” Mathena II.


Through the Chuck Mathena Center, Charlie and Marquetta have enhanced the cultural offerings available to the area. The center, located in Princeton, WV, brings an exciting lineup of live performances to the stage each year enriching the lives of residents across the region.


Charlie’s involvement in church, civic and community activities in recent years includes the Greater Princeton Little League, Princeton-Mercer County Chamber of Commerce, Princeton Community Hospital, First Church of God on Mahood Avenue, President of the Chuck Mathena Foundation and Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Chuck Mathena Center. He is currently serving in his second term on the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.


Concord Charlie has a standing appointment with the University’s President each year to offer his predictions and insights on the duration of winter. The President relays the forecast to the breakfast guests.


According to Groundhog Day tradition, if the groundhog sees his shadow the morning of Feb. 2, six more weeks of winter can be expected. An early spring will be on the way if he doesn’t see his shadow.


The Concord Charlie tradition was originated in 1978 by the late Professor R.T. “Tom” Hill. As chairman of both the geography department and the Appalachian Studies program at Concord, Hill started the Groundhog Day Breakfast as a means to celebrate a bit of Appalachian heritage and highlight the program.


Cost per person for this year’s breakfast is $20. Reservations are required and may be made online at


Reservations may also be made by emailing or calling 304-384-6311.


For additional information about the breakfast including payment options contact the Concord University Office of Advancement at 304-384-6311 or


A photo of Charlie Mathena and a list of the Grand Groundhog Watchers are included below.

Charles T. “Charlie” Mathena






2018/2019, Charles T. “Charlie” Mathena

Chairman of the Board of Governors, Chuck Mathena Center

2017, Vain Colby


2016, Amy Shuler Goodwin

West Virginia Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Commissioner of Tourism

2015, Coach Garin Justice

Former Head Football Coach, Concord University

2014, Mr. Greg Puckett

Advocate for youth, community servant, Concord alumnus

2013, Ms. Lou Stoker

Volunteer, playwright, actress, community leader

2012, Mr. Pete Ballard (deceased)

Artist, educator, Concord alumnus

2011, Mr. Scott A. Martin

Film industry personality – actor, director, producer, started Sorry Dog Productions in 1998

2010, Ms. Beverly Wellman

Executive Director, Retired, Mercer County Convention & Visitors Bureau

2009, Gen. Robert H. “Doc” Foglesong, USAF (Ret.)

United States Air Force General (Retired); Executive Director, Appalachian Leadership and Education Foundation (ALEF)

2008, Mr. Everett Lilly (deceased)

West Virginia bluegrass artist and inductee into the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Hall of Honor

2007, Ms. Barbara Hawkins (deceased)

Political correspondent, columnist, investigative reporter

2006, Ms. Kate Long

Writer, bluegrass musician

2005, Mr. Hershel Woodrow “Woody” Williams

Congressional Medal of Honor recipient

2004, Dr. Ancella Bickley

West Virginian and African American educator, historian and author

2003, Dr. Jay Banks, (deceased)

Physician and author, lived in Union, W.Va.

2002, Dr. J. Douglas Machesney

Concord’s Vice President for Development from 1986 through 2002

2001, Mr. Andy Ridenour, Mr. Larry Groce

Created the radio show “Mountain Stage”

2000, Mr. Andrew Paterno

President of Huntington Bank’s West Virginia Region, a Concord alumnus and Kanawha County native

1999, Mr. Jerry Jarrell

Retired Director of the National Hurricane Center, a Concord alumnus and Raleigh County native

1998, Recent Concord Retirees

Harold Bailey, John Seago, Paul Morgan (deceased), Bill Ryan, Bill Wells, Beryle Santon (deceased), Violet Martin (deceased), Kevin O’Sullivan (deceased), Ed Lowe, Dale Geiger, Carl Chapman, Shelva Rarick, Bernard Kiernan (deceased), Karl Fezer, Kenneth Baker (deceased)

1997, Dr. J. Elliott Blaydes, Jr. (deceased)

Bluefield eye specialist and philanthropist

1996, Mr. Frankie Ferrante (deceased)

Owned Mercer County restaurant, Frankie’s La Salute, and was an active civic and community leader

1995, Mr. Thomas Conlin

Former West Virginia Symphony Artistic Director and Conductor

1994, Ms. Denise Giardina

McDowell County native, successful novelist focusing on the vibrant culture of the coalfields

1993, Ms. Katharine Tierney (deceased)

Bluefield civic leader and longtime friend of Concord

1992, Ms. Jean Battlo

Published poet and playwright from McDowell County

1991, Ms. Nelrose Richards Price (deceased)

Retired Registrar of Concord, 41 years of service

1990, Dr. James Bailey (deceased)

Co-founder of Veterinary Associates of Princeton and a Mercer County civic leader

1989, Reverend Harry Christie (deceased)

Former pastor of Princeton Presbyterian Church

1988, Mr. R. T. Hill (deceased)

Father of the Concord Groundhog Day Breakfast and former Professor of Geography at Concord

1987, Mr. Edward J. Cabbell

Appalachian scholar, founder of the John Henry Foundation

1986, Mr. Ken Hechler (deceased)

Former W.Va. Secretary of State and former Congressman

1985, George A. Daugherty

“The Earl of Elkview,” a prominent Charleston attorney

1984, Dr. Charles Kenneth Sullivan

Executive Director of the West Virginia Humanities Council

1983, Mr. James Dent (deceased)

Humor columnist and cartoonist for The Charleston Gazette

1982, Mr. Don West (deceased)

Director of the Appalachian South Folklife Center, Pipestem, W.Va.

1981, Dr. E. Meade McNeill (deceased)

Professor of Biology at Concord

Historian and columnist for Beckley Newspapers, Inc.

1980, Mr. Shirley Donnelly (deceased)

Historian and columnist for Beckley Newspapers, Inc.

1979, Mr. Jim Comstock (deceased)

Editor of The West Virginia Hillbilly

1978, Mr. A. James Manchin (deceased)

Former Secretary of State and State Treasurer of West Virginia




             Persons with disabilities should contact Nancy Ellison, 1-304-384-6086 or 1-800-344-6679 extension 6086

if special assistance is required for access to an event scheduled by the University on campus.