Mystery of Sandston USO dancer solved
When Jean Holman picked up a copy of the April 7 Henrico Citizen, she never expected to see a photo of her late mother on the cover.
But in a story written about volunteers at the Central Virginia USO (and captioned "An unidentified couple dance at the Sandston USO Club in the 1940s"), there was Patricia "Pat" Royal Perkinson, smiling as she danced with a young soldier.
"I loved the picture," said Holman. "I had never seen it before, but my dad had told me she went to USO dances before they were married."
Soon after contacting the Citizen to identify the "mystery woman" in the photo, she paid a visit to her father, Herbert R. "Bert" Perkinson, Jr., who now lives in Middlesex County.
Bert and Pat met while she was in college at RPI and had a part-time job in which she worked with Bert's mother.
"My dad's mother told her about having a son in the Army serving in the Pacific and suggested that she write to him, which she did for some time," said Holman. "My parents met face-to-face for the first time in 1946 when he came home from the war, and they were married the same year."
A long-time Sandston resident and Highland Springs H.S. alum, Pat Perkinson went on to graduate from RPI (now VCU). Holman says the USO picture was taken while she was in college.
The Perkinsons moved to Lakeside the year after they married and lived in Henrico County more than 40 years. Holman and her brother (Russ Perkinson, now a Mechanicsville resident) attended the original Hermitage H.S., which later became Moody M.S.
Bert served as director of program management for the Virginia Dept. of Transportation, while Pat's career included a stint as press aide to Governor Mills E. Godwin Jr. during his first term, and as Secretary of the Commonwealth during his later term. She also served as a legislative assistant to state senators Paul Manns and Frederick Gray; wrote a garden advice column that ran for 18 years in the Richmond Times-Dispatch; and was director of community services for J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College.
In addition, she earned accreditation from the Public Relations Society of America and handled public relations for local organizations that included the Richmond Symphony, Valentine Museum, and March of Dimes. Virginia Press Women named her Woman of Distinction and twice named her Press Woman of the Year.
After retiring, Holman's parents moved in the late 80's to the antebellum home in Middlesex County that had been in Pat's family and which the couple had bought and restored.
"She was interested in just about everything and always had one project after the other," said Holman in an obituary when her mother passed away last year.
"She was truly a remarkable woman."
Now the question is: can anyone identify the soldier who is Pat Perkinson's mystery dance partner?
For a more detailed view of the USO photo (above) from the 1940s, or to read the article that appeared in April, visit HenricoCitizen.com and search “USO.”
St. Joseph's Villa’s Flagler Housing & Homeless Services was one of three entities to earn the National Alliance to End Homelessness' Champion of Change Award. The awards were presented Nov. 17 during a ceremony at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
NAEH annually recognizes proven programs and significant achievements in ending child and family homelessness.
Flagler completed its transition from an on-campus shelter to the community-based model of rapid rehousing in 2013, and it was one of the nation's first rapid re-housing service providers to be certified by NAEH. > Read more.
Richmond International Raceway's 13th annual Community Christmas tree lighting has been rescheduled from Dec. 6 to Monday, Dec. 12, at 6:30 p.m., due to inclement weather expected on the original date.
Entertainment Dec. 12 will be provided by the Laburnum Elementary School choir and the Henrico High School Mighty Marching Warriors band. Tree decorations crafted by students from Laburnum Elementary School and L. Douglas Wilder Middle School will be on display. Hot chocolate and cookies will be supplied by the Henrico High School football boosters. > Read more.
It’s going to be a cold weekend so if you’re headed out to the James River Parade of Lights or the Richmond Road Runners Club Toy Run 5K in Innsbrook, you’d better bundle up! If you’re looking for some indoor ways to celebrate the holidays, check out Three-Penny Theatre’s production of “A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story for Christmas” or “To Drive the Cold Winter Away: An Irish Celebration of the Returning Light” at the Unitarian Universalist Community Church in Glen Allen. Also this weekend – the Henrico Theatre will show the holiday classic “Home Alone." For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
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CalendarThe annual James River Parade of Lights, sponsored by the James River Advisory Council in cooperation with Henrico Recreation and Parks, will start at 4 p.m. Henrico County’s viewing celebration will take place at Osborne Boat Landing, located at 9530 Osborne Tnpk. Gather around the bonfire and enjoy holiday music and activities. A Toy Parade, sponsored by the Battlefield Ruritans, will precede the Parade of Lights at 3 p.m. Admission is free. For details, call 652-1434 or visit http://www.henrico.us/rec. Full text