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.”
On June 13, the Short Pump Rotary Club partnered with Schnabel Engineering for a day of volunteer work with Rebuilding Together Richmond. Team members (among them [from left] Chris Rufe, Melissa Abraham, Rick Naschold, and Micky Ogburn) completed a variety of repairs and home improvements ranging from painting and landscaping to cabinet installation and fence building.
“It was a privilege to be involved in this project," said club president Melissa Abraham. "The homeowner kept thanking the volunteers, but I think all of us would agree we are the ones who actually benefited. It was an opportunity to help a community member, fellowship with great people and improve our handyman skills." > Read more.
Dr. Even Alexander, a New York Times best-selling author who has been featured on Oprah and Dr. Oz, was in town last week to promote his June 27 talk, "Proof of Heaven," at Glen Allen High School.
Alexander (pictured, at right, while Unity of Bon Air church member Harry Simmons interviews him) has written about what he considers to be his journey through the afterlife.
Tickets to this month's event are $25 and will support the new Bon Secours Hospice House being built later this year. > Read more.
For our Top 10 calendar events this weekend, click here! > Read more.
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