Virginia Capitol Connections Winter 2023

Notable Passings In 2022 By BERNARD L. HENDERSON JR. Ancient Roman history, which is

him also knew that his views and positions were exclusively his own, whether his party leaders or anyone else agreed with him or not. On a personal note, he represented my district throughout his time in office. He and I chaired our respective county party committees at the same time and we debated before groups on several occasions; but through all of that, we were solid personal friends who had enormous respect for each other. We shopped at the same neighborhood market and would frequently see each other and then talk for an hour or so in the produce aisle to the shock and surprise of several of our partisan friends who saw us there. “Charlie” Waddell of Loudoun, served in the Senate of Virginia from 1972 until 1998, when Governor Jim Gilmore appointed him Deputy Secretary of Transportation, recognizing his expertise in transportation despite their different party allegiances. In 1972, every member of the Senate was in a “learned profession” or a business owner; it was a “silk stocking” club. Charlie was the only member of the Senate who worked for a salary, he was a passenger service officer for American Airlines at Dulles. While one does not need to be a member of a group to represent that group, it was wonderful for “working people” throughout Virginia to have one “like them” as a member of the imminently distinguished Senate of Virginia who knew, first-hand, what it was like to be an employee. Simultaneously, Charlie earned the respect of his Senate colleagues. Jane Woods of Fairfax, served in the House from 1988 to 1992 and in the Senate from 1992 until 2000. In 2002, Governor Mark Warner reached across the party aisle to appoint her Secretary of Health and Human Resources. Jane was the consummate public school teacher and those attributes guided her throughout her years in public service. She knew how to be strong-willed and compassionate at the same time. Her heart was bigger than her petite presence; if she found out that the most junior employee was experiencing some personal difficulty, Jane would show up to show her concern and provide encouragement. She was dedicated to her work and seemed to never sleep. It was common for those of us who had the joy of working with her to receive emails sent at unbelievably pre-dawn hours. “Joe” Holleman began his service to the House of Delegates in 1946, at the age of 22. He became Clerk of the House and Keeper of the Rolls of the Commonwealth in 1974 and retired from that position in 1991. What is not generally realized is that Joe’s service, until 1965, was as a part-time employee of the House; he was also employed as the General Manager of an auto dealership. The many enhancements to the efficiency and effectiveness of the legislative process could not have happened without Joe’s leadership. Joe was such a humble gentleman that he probably would not have given an answer if asked what was his greatest achievement, but it would undoubtedly be his commitment to promoting young people’s involvement in government. Joe recruited young people to fill staff roles in his office, he was active in American Legion citizenship programs for youth and he was like an uncle to every page who served during his time. Cincinnatus was described as living his life, “More for the good of the state than his personal prestige.” That could certainly be said for these seven wonderful Virginians, but for those who knew them as friends, they were much more than public servants. The words of Gwyneth Walker, in “Let the Life I’ve Lived Speak for Me,” which is a nice commentary for them in itself, has a line that thoroughly and succinctly describes their legacy, “The beauty of your life will shine when your day is done.” Bernard L. Henderson Jr. is President Emeritus and Funeral Celebrant for Woody and Nelson Funeral Homes. He served as senior deputy secretary of the Commonwealth of Virginia from 2002 to 2010. At the time of press, we received word of the passing of The Honorable Representative, A. Donald McEachin. We will honor his life and work in our next Virginia Capitol Connections review. Our condolences go out to all his friends and family. V

a combination of legend and fact, tells about Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus. He is described as the example of the ultimate public servant, being called out of private life on several occasions to perform a public duty and happily returning to private life as soon as the task was over. His record of public service was not flawless, he made some mistakes, but those things were subordinated by his example of the simple

life, patriotism, a firmest of values, an even-handed approach to all and for-going riches and special privileges that often are negatively associated with political office. It is said that Cincinnatus served, “More for the good of the state than his personal prestige.” The same can be said, perhaps with an exclamation point about the five former members of the Virginia General Assembly who answered their last roll call in 2022; Delegate William K. Barlow, Delegate Albert C. Eisenberg, Delegate Joseph P. Johnson, Jr., Delegate John S. Reid, Senator Charles L. Waddell and Senator Jane H. Woods. Additionally, the person who took those roll calls for many years, Clerk of the House and Keeper of the Rolls Joseph H. Holleman, Jr., who also left us. I will not write of these public servants from the perspective of their voting records, committee memberships, legislation or special issues. Those things, like the particulars of Cincinnatus’ public record, are transitory. The true significance of these public servants is their integrity, dedication and character, and these six had those attributes in abundance. “Billy” or “Billy K” Barlow of Smithfield, served in the House of Delegates from 1992 to 2011. He was not the most gregarious person in any room, but he might have been the most cordial. If you were casting a character in a movie for the kind, genteel, courtly Southern gentleman, Billy would fill the bill perfectly. He responded to everyone with the same intense interest and desire to be of assistance. He would always endeavor to find common ground when there was a divergence of opinion and did not base his respect and kindness toward others upon the extent to which they shared the same views as his. “Al” Eisenberg of Arlington, served in the House of Delegates from 2004 to 2010. He was a humble man who had nothing he needed to be humble about. Often, competing interests on a piece of legislation are told to go to a quiet corner and work out their differences, and they come back with a “compromise” that was acceptable to those parties, Al would calmly take up the cause of those Virginians who were not at that quiet corner so their interests could be considered. Al also had a scholarly passion for the Civil War, uncovering the individual stories of courage and sacrifice, and taking that perilous time out of the history book and bringing it to life and relevance. “Joe” Johnson of Abingdon, served in the House of Delegates from 1966 to 1969, and again from 1990 until 2014. Joe was not a glad-hander, but he habitually gave you a sincere greeting every time he saw you, whether it was the first time in months or the fifth time that day. He had a soothing and smooth Southwest Virginia accent that you would enjoy listening to, even if he was reading the grocery list. He was the kind of politician who was genuinely honored to have the opportunity to serve his constituents, and he did so with unswerving humility, finding pleasure and joy, not in the titles and perks of office, but in the opportunity to serve and make life better, especially for “the least of these.” “Jack” Reid of Henrico, served in the House of Delegates from 1990 to 2007. No one ever needed to wonder where Jack stood on any issue. He was known for being forthright and clear, but he always did so with good humor and respect. Everyone who knew

V irginia C apitol C onnections , W inter 2023


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