Tag Archives: John Dalton

Mamie Vest passes away, worked with Virginia GOP and Govs. Holton, Dalton, Allen

CookbooksBy Lynn R. Mitchell

It was with sadness that I learned Friday afternoon that Mamie Vest had passed away (see her obituary below). With her passing, a big part of Virginia’s Republican institutional knowledge is gone (see Roanoke advertiser, Republican activist Mamie Vest dies at 77 in the Roanoke Times). She was from a more tolerant era of our party’s history when Virginia was still under Democratic control but Republicans were finally successful in electing Governors Linwood Holton and John Dalton in the 1970s. Her mark was felt by her service to the party, as noted in her obituary:

She was appointed by Governor Linwood Holton to the Consumer Credit Study Commission; by Governor John Dalton to the Advisory Committee on Furnishing and Interpreting the Executive Mansion; and by Governor George Allen to the Board of Trustees of the Virginia Museum of Natural History. She served as Chairman of the Roanoke City Arts Commission and was an active member of the Roanoke City Sigh Ordinance Committee. She also served as the Roanoke Valley Coordinator for the Virginia Bicentennial Commission.

During the 1970’s ’80s and 90s , she created and directed advertising for over 80 local, state and federal Republican political campaigns. She received the American Advertising Federation Silver Medal Award in Roanoke for contributions to the industry and community, the first woman to receive the honor in Virginia.

I got to know Mamie through Molly Koon through Facebook. We had similar political philosophies and she would often give a “thumbs-up” on my Facebook posts including something I posted earlier this week, so hearing of her death was a shock.

It reminded of a post I wrote last year about my “Dining with the Daltons” cookbook and discovering a recipe in there from Mrs. Vest (see “Dining with the Daltons” and “Virginia Hospitality” still favorites at my house). I wrote about my personally-autographed copy of Mrs. Dalton’s cookbook and added:

There’s even a recipe from Mamie Vest for “Mamie’s Walnut Pumpkin Pie” with the added note from Mrs. Dalton, “Mamie Vest has won prizes with her recipes. She has worked on most of John’s campaigns.” I didn’t know Mrs. Vest in those days when I was fresh out of high school and working in Richmond but these days she and I are Facebook friends which proves it certainly is a small world.
I posted a link to the blog post on Facebook which prompted a response from Mrs. Vest. With her permission, I amended my original post and added the historical background info she had provided. This is what she wrote:

“Thanks, Lynn. I worked with Eddy to design and produce two Dining with the Daltons cookbooks; the first (black cover) while Dalton was governor and the second (red cover) after he left office. The second one included many photos of events at the Mansion and recipes from those who enjoyed the first cookbook. Collector items now!

“Those cookbooks were major projects. The idea was born when I produced a small cookbook with Eddy’s recipes for a campaign handout. Best I remember, I had 100,000 printed. At several events, we used recipes (such as the wonderful shrimp dip) at receptions. Eddy was a wonderful cook back then — had to be with four children!”

Mrs. Vest’s photos of her farmhouse and beautiful flowers in Floyd, her little piece of paradise, graced her Facebook page throughout the years with the rolling hills and mountains of southwestern Virginia showcased for all to see.

So today it is with sadness that I remember Mrs. Vest and yet feel a sense of gratitude for all she did throughout the years to help a floundering and struggling young Virginia GOP gain a foothold in the early years, and make history with GOP governors named Holton and Dalton. Rest in peace, and thank you.

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Kalima Dalton Tate, 92, of Pulaski passes away

Kalima D. Tate

Kalima Dalton Tate

By Lynn R. Mitchell

I never met Mrs. Tate but knew of her through a young local Republican activist and former chairman of the Staunton Republican Committee, Alex Davis, who has been friends with her grandson Graham since the two were in kindergarten (they are now 27 years old). The boys grew up in Staunton — Mrs. Tate’s son, William Lee Tate II, settled down and raised his family of three children in Staunton — but Mrs. Tate lived in southwestern Virginia’s Pulaski community where she grew up, married, and lived her entire life. She will be buried there on Sunday. Alex and Graham are pallbearers.

When I passed the word of Mrs. Tate’s passing to my daughter Katy, who was a weekend guest of Mrs. Tate’s several times but who now lives in Nashville, she said, “Oh, Da. What a sweetheart. Her house was full of treasures and an old, always-groaning Boston terrier. She will be very missed in the Tate households.”

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‘Dining with the Daltons’ and ‘Virginia Hospitality’ still favorites at my house

??????????By Lynn R. Mitchell

Call me old school all you want but I like a hard copy recipe when cooking in the kitchen. While perusing my cookbook selection, I pulled two well-used ones from the shelf, leafing through the pages for recipes as my eyes scanned for just the right one, then closing the books to find the dog-eared pages and opening to those. At some point I mentally acknowledged these two cookbooks were Virginia through and through, as am I.

 

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“Dining with the Daltons” was published by Mrs. John Dalton — Eddy — while her husband was Virginia Governor from 1978-82, is personally inscribed by her, and includes a collection of her favorite recipes. In it you can find Mrs. Dalton’s Virginia Apple Cake. There’s even a recipe from Mamie Vest for “Mamie’s Walnut Pumpkin Pie” with the added note from Mrs. Dalton, “Mamie Vest has won prizes with her recipes. She has worked on most of John’s campaigns.” I didn’t know Mrs. Vest in those days when I was fresh out of high school and working in Richmond but these days she and I are Facebook friends which proves it certainly is a small world. Both recipes are very seasonal for this time of year in Virginia — pumpkins and apples.

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Lunch with Polly Campbell … surprise presentation of RPV resolution

By Lynn R. Mitchell

??????????Polly Campbell stood Friday on the front porch of the historic and stately Mimslyn Inn overlooking Luray and the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. She and I had made plans for lunch but she didn’t know a couple of friends would be joining us and that she was to receive a commemorative resolution from the Republican Party of Virginia honoring and thanking her for more than 50 years of service to the party. She was also actively involved in the Page County Republican Committee during those years. (See Polly Yager Campbell … growing up in the shadow of Shenandoah National Park.)

A Commending Resolution in Appreciation and Gratitude to PAULINA “POLLY” YAGER CAMPBELL
For 50 Years of Service to the Republican Party of Virginia

??????????This photo is of Governor John Dalton and Polly circa somewhere around 1979. These two were Young Republicans and lifelong friends. When they began working within the party in the early 1960s, the Democratic Byrd Machine was in control of Virginia but the generation that included Polly and Governor Dalton saw that change as they worked to bring the Republican Party into relevance.

From Encyclopedia Virginia: “Although the Daltons hailed from the western ‘Mountain and Valley’ region, where Republicans tended to be centrist in their political outlook, John Dalton became a leading advocate in the 1970s for a party-building strategy that stressed recruiting conservative converts from the ranks of former Democrats. In this, he was allied closely with Richard D. Obenshain, the Republican state chairman, and with Byrd-Organization Democrats such as former governor Mills Godwin. Godwin exited the Democratic Party as its more liberal faction gained control early in the 1970s, and ran for governor again as a Republican in 1973. Dalton joined the Godwin ticket as the candidate for lieutenant governor, and the pairing helped to cement an alliance between the Republican moderates from the west and the conservative former Democrats in the eastern two-thirds of the state. Dalton simultaneously cultivated ties to the state’s moderate-conservative business establishment and projected a youthful, energetic appeal to the state’s fast-growing suburban areas.”

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Judge James Turk … ‘His one wish was to become a judge’

Judge James TurkBy Lynn R. Mitchell

I opened an email earlier this week from Polly Campbell and the first thing she said was, “I just learned of Jim’s passing — he was one of the greatest people I have ever known.”

It had not occurred to me that Polly knew Judge James Turk who passed away Sunday at the age of 91. Then I wondered why it would surprise me since Polly, who was a volunteer with the Republican Party of Virginia for more than 50 years and served 44 of those years as secretary of RPV’s State Central Committee, knew many political giants. Judge Turk was just one of them.

And then Polly added, “His one wish was to become a judge; John Dalton’s wish was to become a Governor — they both met their goals.”

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