Part 7 

100 Movers And Shapers

Edward Eugene Willey
(1910-1986) b. Frederick County
Governors came and went - 10 of them, in fact - but State Sen. Ed Willey, a North Side pharmacist, prevailed for many years as the Virginia General Assembly's most powerful member: chair of the Senate Finance Committee. When he wasn't filling prescriptions at Willey's drugstore on Bellevue Avenue, he was bringing home the bacon for the Richmond area. Although a bridge spanning the James is named for the 34-year veteran of the legislature, his daughter-in-law, Kathleen Willey has established herself in local - and national - lore as a former "Friend of Bill."

Howard Hearns Carwile
(1911-1987) b. Charlotte County
A colorful and verbose lawyer and politico who ran unsuccessfully for office 17 times before finally winning a Richmond City Council seat in 1966, Howard Carwile later served in the House of Delegates for one term. Throughout his career, Carwile tirelessly prodded the local establishment as he advocated practical solutions for African-American advancement and improved plight of the poor. Few Richmonders have been able to turn a phrase as spit-fire rapidly or as passionately as Carwile.

Mary Higdon "Sunshine Sue" Workman
(1911-1979) b. Keosauqua, Iowa
The Old Dominion Barn Dance, broadcast from Richmond, was a wildly popular show long before Nashville controlled country music. From 1946 to 1957, "Sunshine Sue" became known as the Queen of the Hillbillies through her appearances on live broadcasts over WRVA radio from the Lyric Theater (formerly at 9th and Broad). As the nation's first female radio emcee, Workman helped launch country music legends Chet Atkins, Earl Scruggs and the Carter Sisters.

Ray Dandridge
(1913-1994) b. Richmond
A ballplayer from Richmond, Ray Dandridge was arguably the greatest third baseman never to make the Major Leagues. In the 1930s and '40s, Dandridge was a Negro League star, batting .355 over 16 years. Dandridge moved to Mexico and Cuba, and finally made it to the minor leagues in 1949 at age 36. His last year was 1955, when he hit .360 at the age of 41. As good a hitter as Dandridge was, he was an unmatched fielder, with an arm that led Hall of Fame catcher Roy Campanella to call him the best he ever saw. Dandridge was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1987.

Angus Powell
(1914-1979) b. Richmond
Powell was chairman and president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond's board of directors, a rector of Longwood College, a force in establishing the boys school at Collegiate, and a brother of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell. It was largely Angus' vision that guided Midlothian Development Corp. to establish Brandermill in 1974. Located 8 miles west of Richmond on the 1,700-acre Swift Creek Reservoir, it was Richmond's first major mixed-use, planned community.

Joseph Ukrop
(1914- ) b. Richmond;
Jacquelin Ukrop
(1915- ) b. Richmond;
James Ukrop
(1937- ) b. Richmond
and Robert Ukrop
(1946- ) b. Richmond
Richmonders today are just as devoted (if not addicted) to Ukrop's Super Markets as were customers of the original mom-and-pop grocery that opened on Hull Street in 1937. The Richmond tradition was born when Joe Ukrop left his job as meat manager of a local A&P to open his own store with his wife, Jacquelin. About the size of a two-car garage, the first Ukrop's had a delivery service and allowed customers to buy groceries on credit.

The Ukrops' elder son, Jim, opened a second store in the 1960s, and younger son Bobby joined the business in 1972. In the following three decades, the family business mushroomed into a dynasty of 26 stores. Although Joe and Jacquelin Ukrop have retired, the business is still run by their sons; four third-generation Ukrops now work for the company as well.

Because it is a family owned-and-operated business, Ukrop's has more heart and soul than other companies, says Bobby Ukrop. "There is an enhanced commitment on the part of the associates and the family, and an increased sense of teamwork," he adds. The company maintains a community-minded ethic that began with Joe and Jacquelin Ukrop, who closed their store once a week during World War II to help farmers with their crops. Today Ukrop's sponsors an annual Golden Gift Program and contributes 10 percent of its pre-tax profits to charitable causes in the Richmond community.

Edmund A. Rennolds Jr.
(1916- ) b. Richmond;
Mary Anne Rennolds
(1922-1989) b. Richmond
and Emma Gray Trigg
(1890 - 1976) b. Norfolk
In 1957, a few classical music aficionados gathered in the Rennoldses' living room at the suggestion of University of Richmond professor John White to discuss establishing an orchestra for Richmond. Soon thereafter, Trigg hit the telephones and raised $10,000 in $100 pledges to underwrite the first season. Brig. Gen. Vincent Meyer (ret.) was elected president. That fall, the Richmond Symphony debuted in the Landmark Theater. Maestro Edgar Schenkman conducted. The Rennolds name is synonymous with music - each of their six children learned to play a stringed instrument. Today, an annual VCU concert series is a memorial to Mary Anne Rennolds.

Paul Sawyer
(1916- ) b. Norfolk
Once upon a time - in 1955 to be exact - Paul Sawyer, who had built race cars since the 1930s in Hampton Roads, became a co-owner of a dirt track at the Richmond Fairgrounds. Today at Strawberry Hill, the Richmond International Raceway is one of the newest facilities on the NASCAR circuit and seats 100,000 fans. RIR, under Sawyer's keen entrepreneurial guidance, has grown to such proportions that the fairgrounds is relocating to allow further expansion on the Henrico County track.

Mary Tyler McClenahan
(1917- ) b. Richmond
Mary Tyler McClenahan's realization in the 1980s that many Richmonders didn't have adequate housing led her to form the Richmond Better Housing Coalition in 1988, which has raised millions to redevelop low income housing across the metropolitan area. A longtime member of the board of the Virginia Historical Society, and trustee of Virginia Union University, among other nonprofit and philanthropic groups, McClenahan also founded the Richmond Urban Forum, a social club that regularly brings African-Americans and whites together.

Alden Aaroe
(1918-1993) b. Washington, D.C.
No Richmond broadcaster was more beloved than Alden Aaroe, who joined the staff of WRVA in 1946. Among his assignments was the Old Dominion Barn Dance. With his gentle humor, seasonal news and such wacky characters as Millard the Mallard, who first appeared in 1972, he was a perennial favorite on the most powerful radio signal in central


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

  • Re: NSFW: Naked Jogger Emerges Again in Fan District

    • I'm mr richard , I contracted HIV in 2009, I was told by my doctor…

    • on October 27, 2016
  • Re: A New Ballpark for Richmond

    • This all sounds fine and dandy, until it changes again. At least we are past…

    • on October 27, 2016
  • Re: NSFW: Naked Jogger Emerges Again in Fan District

    • Hello!! Im indeed very happy for the great help that Dr. okorom rendered to me,…

    • on October 27, 2016
  • More »
  • Latest in Miscellany

    Copyright © 2016 Style Weekly
    Richmond's alternative for news, arts, culture and opinion
    All rights reserved
    Powered by Foundation