Jean P. Cavender

Anne Jean Plunkett Cavender, MD, 86, of Charleston, passed away Sunday, July 6, 2014, after a brief illness at Hubbard Hospice House, Charleston.

She was a family practice physician in the Kanawha Valley for 35 years. Jean retired when her first grandchild was born so she could perform her "grandmother duties."

Put in simplest and direct terms (something Dr. Jean would have wanted), Dr. Jean Cavender led an exciting and tremendous life, academically excelling out of the tiny coal mining town of Anjean in Greenbrier County to West Virginia University, completing her undergraduate degree in only two years, then started her medical education at WVU (only female in her class) and graduated from the Medical College of Virginia. She later became the first female president of the Kanawha Valley Medical Society.

She was married to the late Dr. Jerill D. Cavender for 55 years. They attended college and medical school together and worked together in the same office.

While Jean had an incredible journey in this life on earth, those who knew her were struck most not by all of her accomplishments, but by this: she was in all things a lady first and last in all aspects and a brilliant scholar who never lost sight of her God, husband and family and served mankind in a most noble and courageous way through medicine. Her grandson, Bruce, speaking for all of her grandchildren said it best: "When thinking of Grandma Jean, the only thing that I can say is that I have always loved my grandmother, but it is only when I became older, I realized how extraordinary she was. As I have matured, I have become more proud of the fact that she was my grandmother and admired her all the more, not just for her many accomplishments, for hers were so many, but for the type of person she was. In all my travels through this world and all the great people I have met, she is one, if not the most complete and extraordinary individuals I have known."

In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by her brother, Col. H. Thomas Plunkett, and sister, Glenna Plunkett Neely.

She is survived by her children, John A. "Jack" (April) Cavender of Charleston and their children, John, Perry, Mark and Ally, Thomas M. "Tom" (Coley) Cavender of Charleston and their children, Glenna and Boone, and Susan L. (David) Cavender-McCuskey of St. Albans and their children, Olivia, Bruce, Elizabeth and Colin; and brother, John R. "Jack" Plunkett of Clovis, Calif.

Funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday, July 9, at Christ Church United Methodist, Charleston, with the Rev. Dr. Randy Flanagan and the Rev. Julie Halstead officiating. Burial will follow at Mountain View Cemetery, Charleston.

Friends may call two hours prior to the service at the church.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations may be made to Hubbard Hospice House, 1606 Kanawha Blvd. W., Charleston, WV 25387-2536 and/or Christ Church United Methodist, 1221 Quarrier St., Charleston, WV 25302.

Condolences may be sent to the family at

Barlow Bonsall Funeral Home, Charleston, has been entrusted with the arrangements.

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