Galax may have been formed by a group of forward thinking businessmen, but  the city's history if full of women who have shaped its destiny, from the early 20th Century to today. These weren't women behind the  men------they  were driving forces at the forefront of Galax's  society, churches, politics and business community. The Galax Public Library recently compiled  information on some of these outstanding women for an exhibit.

 

ELSIE I. WILUAMS

Williams graduated from the t Christiansburg Institute, a board-.

ing school in Cambria, in 1947.
She was employed by the Rooftop of Virginia for 34 years doing social/outreach

work and was coordinator of Rooftop's senior citizens program.

Her involvement in church, civic and community activities,required enormous time

and strength, but Williams has always been a woman of unbelievable energy.

Her primary mission has been to help others and work for the betterment of mankind,

as a leader in her church, Mount Zion Holiness, in the community as well as on the

job.

Williams has been a missionary, an inspiration and a role model for many. She was

ordained a minister in 1995. She served as church secretary for years, worked with

the Union Missionary Society, was a member of the local branch of the NAACP and

helped to register voters.

AVIS MARSHALL VAUGHAN

Vaughan was a charter member of the Business and Professional Women's Club in the

Twin County area, which was organized in 1936.

The club sought to elevate the standards for women in the workplace and provide

opportunities for women through education.

The BPW Association, with Vaughan's influence, helped found the first public

library in Galax.

Vaughan was among several of the fist strong businesswomen in the Galax area. She

was a key figure in the Galax Savings and Loan on Grayson Street for many years,

and then became corporate secretary and Treasurer for Vaughan-Guynn and Vaughan-

Guynn-McGrady funeral homes in Galax and Hillsville. She held the position from

1950 to 1990.

She served as chairman of the board of First United Methodist Church in Galax.

DOTTIE S. COCK
One of Galax's most successful women in business, Cock began her career on Main

Street in 1941 as a saleslady at Claire's Fashion Shop.

She had come to Galax that year with her husband, Peyton, and three small children.

The Depression had wiped out their farm and Dottie needed to work.

In 1968, when storeowner Claire Goldstein retired, Cock bought the business at 121

North Main Street. (The Framer's Daughter now occupies this space.)
In the next decade her customer base grew so that she needed a larger space, and in

1981 she bought and renovated the two Waugh buildings in the center of downtown,

the store at the comer being the oldest brick building in Galax.

The Fashion Shoppe then commanded the prominent corner of Main and Grayson streets

and employed eight sales ladies. The fashions attracted customers from six states.

The classic and qualityl merchandise that filled her store, reflected Cock's good

taste; and her honesty and friendship built a loyal customer base that ran into the

third and fourth generations ofl Twin County families.

A loving and generous mother, she brought Ida and Yates Forbis into the business in

1985, the same year she helped son John and his wife Lynda open The Men's Shop.

Cock spent all 56 years of her working life on Main Street in Galax, and is

remembered as a good merchant, good citizen and good friend.

MARY ROBERTS GUYNN

Born to Dan and Plina Roberts and raised in the Oldtown community, Guynn attended

Galax High School and graduated from Mary Washington College.

She returned to Galax in 1951 and married Jack E. Guynn, former mayor of Galax.
Guynn is an active member of the community, and her many achievements include:
• serving on Galax City Council from 1991 to 2001
• serving as board member of the Galax-Carroll-Grayson Chamber of Commerce, which

chose her as "Volunteer of the Year" in 1981.
• helping start the Galax Farmers' Market
• serving on the board of directors of Dominion Bank (later Wachovia), Twin County

Regional Hospital and the hospital foundation .
• serving as a deacon and later an elder in the Galax Presbyterian
Church .
• serving as a charter member the "Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway selected by

then Govenor Chuck Robb.
• serving on planning committees for Galax's downtown revitalization in the early

1990s and the city's centennial festivities.
• acting as secretary/treasurer of Guynn Furniture Company
• serving as a member of the Galax Book Club, Galax Garden Club, Galax Tourism

Advisory Committee and Galax Democratic Committee.


ANNE BUTLER VAUGHAN
Vaughan moved to Galax in 1954 with husband John Bassett Vaughan.
Vaughan has served on many civic projects and remains very interested in the

progress and growth of the city.

She became Galax's first councilwoman in September 1982 and served until August

1986.

While serving on council, Vaughan chaired a committee to raise money for the Blue

Ridge Arts & Community Center and is still president. Today, the center is being

absorbed into the new Chestnut Creek School of the Arts.

Vaughan headed the organizational committee of the city's Arts of & Cultural

Council of the Twill and Counties and served as its first president.

Vaughan has been a member of the Galax Music Club, the Hoe and Hope Garden Club and

the Galax Book Club.

As a member of the First Baptist Churc, she served as president of the Women's

Missionary Union and chaired many other committees in the church.

She served on the Vaughan Memorial Library board and helped with planning for the

new Galax Public Library.

Vaughan also won the Amateur World Champion Walking Horse class in Shelbyville,

Tenn. in 1971.

SARAH MORRIS FUNK

Funk dedicated most of her adult life to her passion for teaching special

education.

She retired in 2003 after 30 years. After her husband died of lymphoma in July

2004, she decided to realize a long time dream and walk the Appalachian Trail.
Funk began preparing for the hike in October 2004, five months before her start

date, by attending a long distance workshop for women and visiting hiking

outfitters to learn about equipment.

She began her hike March 22, £ 2003 at Amicalola Falls - a state park about 90

minutes from Athens, Ga. Funk's hike led her through 14 states before she

completed her goal of reaching Mount Katahdin, Maine.

She reached the mount the final summit of the Appalachian Trail - on September 24,

2005 after hiking 2,160 miles.

HATTIE "MOM" STONEMAN

According to the Library of Congress, Hattie "Mom" Stoneman was the first woman of

importance in country music.

The Stoneman Family was awarded the first Country Music Association "Vocal Group of

the Year" award in 1967, along with their father, Ernest "Pop" Stoneman.
The Smithsonian Institution, the Library of Congress, and the BCMA have also

honored the Stoneman Family.

Fifteen of the Stoneman children, Eddie,Grace, John,Patsy Nita, Billy, Jack, Gene,

Dean, Scott, Donna, Jimmy, Rita, Rani, and Van - continue their parents' musical

legacy, making the Stoneman name the longest continuously active name in country

music.


KATHERINE LINTECUM LANDRETH FRANKE

Franke's parents challenged her to reach beyond traditional roles for women.
After graduating from Galax High School and Lynchburg College, she was one of the

first women to attend the University of Virginia Law School in 1934 and passed the

VIrginia State Bar in 1936.

A licensed pilot, Franke operated the University of Virginia Airport, which served

as a U.S. Army AirCorp primary training school during World War II.

Franke returned to Galax to practice law with her father, the late Virginia state

Sen. S. Floyd Landreth, in 1946. She was involved with her father in the Republican

Party while he was Virginia state chairman.

In 1956, she was appointed municipal judge of the City of Galax and served in that

capacity for more than a decade. She served on the board of directors of the First National Bank of Galax from 1977 to 1980 and in various leadership positions in the First Christian Church of Galax.

PENNY KYLE

Kyle, a Galax native, is the sixth president in Radford University's 95-year history.

She graduated from Galax High School, earned her Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law and an MBA from the College of William and Mary.

Her professional life began as an English teacher at Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton.

She later worked as an attorney at McGuire, Woods, Battle and Boothe, a prestigious Richmond law firm, She then had a 13-year stint at CSX Corporation, also in Richmond.

After joining this international transportation company as an attorney, she rose through the male-dominated corporate culture to become the first female officer at CSX and the vice-president in the finance department.

She was appointed director of the Virginia Lottery in 1994 by then-Gov. George Allen. Under her leadership, the lottery's gross revenues exceeded $1 billion for the last four years, and last year the lottery generated $408 million for Virginia public education.

Kyle gained valuable higher education insight while serving on the board of visitors and the foundation board at James Madison University for 10 years and the Virginia Commonwealth University foundation board for six years. She also served on various boards of civic, cultural, professional, financial and volunteer organizations.

KYLENE BARKER BARKER
became Galax's biggest local celebrity when she was crowned Miss America in 1979.
After her year of service, several corporations and associations, including the Manrnade Fiber Producer's Association, Clairol, The Palm Aire Spa and the Made in the USA Council, chose Kylene to be their spokesperson.

Drawing from her experience as a writer, producer and editor of her own segments on NBC's "The Today Show," Barker produced several fashion shows. She also made appearances on "Live with Regis and Kathy Lee" and CNN's "Crossfire" to debate issues surrounding the Miss America competition.

Articles about Barker have appeared in publications such as Newsweek, People, Time, USA Today, The New York Times, WWD, and the cover of Travel & Leisure magazine.

Her background in fitness led her to write "Southern Beauty, A Total Fitness and Beauty Program for that All American Winning Look." She has also a released her own exercise album, I "Stamina with Style."

Barker, an avid golfer, lives in Florida and Toronto, Canada.

ETOILE BERRY

Berry's natural talents surfaced early in childhood, when she was given the chore of picking flowers from her aunt's garden and making ing arrangements for the home.

Later, her reputation in floral design led to demonstrations,lectures and TV appearances as far away as Montana.

Rooftop of Virginia Community Action Program in Galax asked her to develop a network of crafters and artisans who would bring out the as yet untapped talent in Grayson and Carroll counties.

Taking donated materials from local businesses, Berry supplied individuals with materials, ideas and support to help them achieve success with handmade crafts.

This resulted in some of the most renowned potters, weavers, quilters and painters in Virginia gaining recognition.

Artists were not the only ones to benefit from Berry's talents. Bankers, ministers, educators and other individuals who encountered her were inspired by her love of humanity and were challenged to become better people.

She was an artist, pianist, lecturer, writer, soloist, church leader and lover of humanity.

Brian Spencer, manager of area Shoney's restaurants, established the Etoile Berry Foundation in her honor. This foundation allows local artists a venue for marketing their art and a percentage of sales go into a fund to buy art supplies for the area schools.

NITA SUE CARICO

Nita Sue Carico's paintings can be found in homes and churches throughout the country.

She turned the most unusual material into original artistic creations. Weeds, wild grass, seed pods, gourds, pomegranates, nuts, twigs and an antique frame were all materials used by the Galax artist to create striking arrangements.

Carico was co-author of the book "How to Dry Flowers and Arrange Them," published by Doubleday Books. She drew all of the pen and ink illustrations in the book, and created original dried arrangements shown in the color plates.

Carico gathered all of the wild material that she used in her arrangements. She grew flowers for her arrangements and dried leaves under rugs in her home.Instead of lunch on the kitchen table, there were often pepper pods, vegetables and flowers being prepared for drying.

Original and of a realistic style, her paintings were not influenced by any particular school of painting. She painted landscapes, portraits, scenes from back porches, old barns and scenes of childhood homes.

Carico sang solos on Sunday mornings at First United Methodist and was an avid wordpuzzle fan, but her chief, hobby was fishing.

JANE CALVERT GUYNN

Guynn was an educator, artist and writer who was involved in local community organizations.

Guynn was active in the Galax Music Club and Art Guild. She taught physics, biology and senior government at Galax High :

She sold stories to children's magazines and co-wrote "How to Dry Flowers and Arrange Them", with Nita Sue Carico.

Guynn enjoyed painting, working in both oil and watercolor, and won awards in local art contests.

She was accepted at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg as a half-time student and instructor in physics while she continued to work on her master's degree.

Guynn taught math at Woodlawn High School and later became an engineer in New Orleans for the Higgins Aircraft Company, manufacturers of planes during World War II.

Her job was to design radio electrical installations and follow them from experimental stages through flight tests.

Later, she became a physics instructor at Vassar College and accepted a position as a research electronics engineer with the Glen L. Martin Aircraft Corporation of Baltimore, M.D.

LIDA REYBURN CRABILL

In 1907, Crabill moved to Galax with her husband, Edd Bennett Crabill.

In the early years of Galax, she became active in the building of the Galax School, the city's first brick building. She also helped to establish the first school "league," which later became the PTA.

With her sons fighting in World War 1, Crabill served with a small group to establish the first Red Cross chapter in Grayson and Carroll counties, and promoted the Liberty Loan drives.

At the end of the war, Crabill's son, Mike, returned home and the two purchased the Blue Ridge Printing Company and the Galax Post Herald newspaper, where she remained the editor for 40 years.

Shortly after becoming editor, she began a campaign by means of public stock subscription resulting in construction of the Bluemont Hotel in Galax.

Crabill was a charter member of the local unit of the American Legion Auxiliary, a member of the Woman's Literary Club, Galax Women's Club and the Galax Music Club. She taught Sunday School and was an active member of Galax Presbyterian Church.

NANCY MELVINA CALDDWELL

Nancy Caldwell's father was native to Galax and returned here wo years after her birth.
Educated in local and "normal" schools, she received her teaching certificate and taught in 12 schools in the area.

"Miss Vinnie" was a member of the Methodist faith and a strong Democrat. She was an active member of the Virginia Federation of Music Clubs, the Federation Women's and Professional Club and the Democrat Club.

Her belief in equality and the fact that women were given the right to vote in 1920 - made her an active politician.

In 1927, "Miss Vinnie" was elected delegate to the Virginia General Assembly from the Fifth District by the Democratic Party of Carroll County. In the 1928 session, under the leadership of Gov. Harry Byrd, she played an active role in passage of several bills, including bills to build the Blue Ridge Parkway and' the Jackson Ferry Bridge, bills for education and for employing the handicapped.

Copied from the Galax Centennial Edition of the Gazette Jume 9-11, 2006


 

 

 

 

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