Thursday, August 14, 2014
One of my favorites
Marshall County lost one of its jewels last week.
In my 13 years here, meeting and getting to know folks, she was one of my favorites.
Virginia Armour died at age 92. And she left a legacy of dedication, persistence and commitment for all of us to follow.
I last saw her a few weeks back when she brought in a photo of her husband, J.W., who had celebrated his 90th birthday. She was doing well. We shared our usual hug and chatted for a few minutes.
I was stunned Tuesday, Aug. 5, when I learned of her death the night before.
Virginia served 22 and a half years as District 3 election commissioner. She ran for re-election a couple of years back at age 90 and won. That, in itself, says enough.
She loved her community, Cayce, with all of her heart.
“Virginia was dedicated – to J.W., her family, her job as election commissioner, the Cayce Fire Department and the growth and development of the Cayce community,” said circuit clerk Lucy Carpenter. “If she had an opinion on a person or an issue, she sure did not mind voicing it. Even though this caused some to be critical of her, she was the ‘go to’ person when you wanted to get things done. She was persistent. When she set out to do anything, she never left it until it was done.”
Harry Willis, president of the Cayce Fire Department board of directors and assistant fire chief, said Virginia and J.W. started the fire department January 26, 1981, with an old milk tanker and tractor they donated after watching the church across the street burn to the ground. They also donated a half acre of land for the station to be built on.
Virginia and the other ladies of the community pushed fund-raisers, like Bingo and Kenny Dickerson fish fries. She was always supporting J.W. with the fire department and assisted him as treasurer for many years.
Virginia was also instrumental in starting the community water association – initially running it from her carport.
“Eventually, they built a building and moved the water company to its present location,” Willis said.
He said he could safely say that Virginia is the one solely responsible for his joining the fire department.
“Every time I would go to pay my water bill, she would say, ‘I have that application right here.’ Finally I gave in and filled it out, and 14 years later, I’m still around. She had a personality that was difficult to say ‘no’ to.”
Both Willis and county fire coordinator and emergency management director Hugh Hollowell said Virginia and J.W. were a team.
“They were always together,” Willis said.
“They worked together on everything,” Hollowell said.
Carpenter, Willis and Hollowell knew Virginia Armour longer than I did but it didn’t take long to figure her out – tough but loving. I have the utmost respect for those kind of folks, and none did I respect more than Virginia.
Perhaps Hollowell said it best.
“When she got her mind set on an issue, whether the fire department or the water association, she worked day and night to move mountains and make it happen,” he said. “I didn’t always agree with her, but I respected her.”
Virginia Armour, Marshall County will miss you.
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