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About the Author


Julia Lockridge Pitsenberger Elbon

The author is a Mountain State native–born, reared, and educated in West Virginia. Julia Lockridge Pitsenberger Elbon holds a B.S. and M.A. from West Virginia University, the latter in guidance and counseling. Her educational career spanned levels from kindergarten to college. She taught in army education in Europe, dean of women at Alderson Broaddus College, Philippi, WV, assistant director of the counseling center and instructor of child development at Davis & Elkins College, Elkins, W.V. She established the first elementary guidance program in Randolph County schools.

Julia entered the political arena as one of the first women to represent her district in the West Virginia House of Delegates and was elected to two terms. She was later elected to the Randolph County Commission. WV Governors appointed her to terms on the West Virginia Housing Development Fund Board totaling thirty years of membership. She was elected president of the National Council of State Housing Agencies.

Archer Real Estate was founded by Julia, who broke ground as a woman broker. It was a commercial and residential company in the Randolph County area for over thirty years. These activities lead to Randolph County businesswoman of the year and Realtor of the year. She initiated the program and wrote the accrediting curriculum for a real estate minor at Davis & Elkins College.

Locally, she is active in AAUW, DAR, West Virginia Railroad Museum, Davis Memorial Presbyterian Church and was a charter member of the Randolph County Chamber of Commerce, Realtors Association and County 4- H Foundation. She has worked diligently to create tourism and economic development in the highlands of West Virginia.

As a young girl growing up in Pocahontas County, WV, Julia read under a hickory tree in the pasture of the family homestead. Her children and grandchildren read there, too, and her daughter called it “the reading tree”. She served as a church pianist, placed in 4-H competitions at the state and national level, and is a 4-H All-Star. She was awarded the West Virginia Golden Horseshoe.

Although, Julia and her husband, Harold, are still working in real estate development, she finds time to enjoy writing. She has twice married and has two children and two grandchildren. These children’s imagination and creativity are part of the rationale for the Switchback Stories.

About the Illustrator

Lil' Leroi Cover--July 11, 2016

Heather Johnson

Heather Johnson is a freelance artist. She has owned and operated her own business, Paint Studio, since 1996. Her many areas of work include portraits, murals, paintings, charcoals, drawings, and hand-etched monuments. She attended art school at Pratt Institute in New York, where she studied industrial design and fine art. After college she came home to the mountains of West Virginia, where she is inspired by the natural beauty, meandering rivers, and colorful foliage. She has a large body of work throughout the state and surrounding states. Heather lives in her hometown of Coalton, West Virginia.

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