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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.

Pat Perkinson
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.”


Community

Varina Ruritans honor students

The Varina Ruritan Club hosted the winners of its 2014 Environmental Essay contest at its monthly meeting March 11 in Varina.

The contest, in its eighth year, was for the first time open to students in grades 3-5 at Varina Elementary School. (It previously was open to Sandston Elementary School students.)

The meeting included the winners, parents of the winners, Varina Elementary principal Mark Tyler and several teachers who were in charge of the contest at the school. > Read more.

Baseball game to benefit Glen Allen Buddy Ball


For the fifth consecutive year, St. Christopher’s and Benedictine will play a varsity baseball game at Glen Allen's RF&P Park as part of a fundraising effort for the River City Buddy Ball program.

The game will take place Saturday, April 12, at 7 p.m., and the teams hope to raise $3,000 through donations, raffles and other efforts. Admission to the game is free, but fans who attend are asked to donate funds for the Glen Allen Youth Athletic Association's Buddy Ball program, which enables disabled children and teens to play baseball. > Read more.

Highland Springs field to be dedicated in honor of longtime coach Spears

The Henrico Division of Recreation and Parks will dedicate the Highland Springs Little League Majors Field in memory and honor of Rev. Robert “Bob” L. Spears, Jr., on April 12 with a ceremony at the field at 8 a.m.

Spears served the league as a coach and volunteer for 30 years and was praised as a pioneer for equality. His “Finish strong” motto embodied ethical perseverance on the field and in life. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


Do the Bunny Hop over to Meadow Farm on Saturday for an introduction to all the farm animals there! An introduction to “Global Sounds” – featuring Japanese, Indonesian, West African, Indian, and Brazilian music and dance performances – can be found at the University of Richmond. The University of Richmond will also host the annual Spider spring game, as well as the inaugural Spiders Easter Egg Hunt. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Restaurant watch

Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.

A fun, fuzzy ride

‘Muppets Most Wanted’ worthy of its franchise

Do Muppets sleep? It’s hard to say.

They don’t really eat (or breathe, as far as anyone can tell). And only occasionally do they have visible, functioning legs.

As far as anyone knows, sleeping might be off the table. And that makes it very hard to accuse the Muppets of sleepwalking through their latest feature, Muppets Most Wanted – even if that’s exactly what’s going on.

Jim Henson’s beloved creations were back in a big way after 2011’s The Muppets, with fame and fortune and even an Oscar, a first for the group (“Rainbow Connection” was nominated, yet somehow failed to collect at the ’79 ceremony). > Read more.

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