George T. Blume
1925 – 2022
Hall of Fame Entry Director of Boys State
The Honorable Glen E. Conrad
1949 – 2021
The Honorable Glen E. Conrad served the Western District of Virginia in both magistrate and district courts for 45 years.
Glen E. Conrad, a Radford resident, began his Boys State activities as a 1966 delegate, and was elected to the office of Senator from his city. He went on to the College of William and Mary for his law degree, and later was appointed a U.S. Magistrate Judge, the youngest magistrate in the nation at that time. He served as Chief Judge from 2010 to 2017.
Over his twenty-three years of service to Virginia Boys State, Glen served as College Coordinator, Senator Coordinator, Pro- gram Director, and Chief Instructional Counselor. He also served as a member of the Boys State Board of Directors. In 1995, Judge Glen E Conrad was inducted into the Virginia Boys State Hall of Fame.
Judge Glen E. Conrad, 71, of Roanoke, VA passed away May 20, 2021 surrounded by family and friends.
Isaac Stephen “Ike” Kelley
1948 – 2021
For almost two decades, Ike spent his Father’s Day with his Boys State delegates. He was a well versed volunteer in every aspect of the Boys State program having served as a counselor and as Virginia Boys State Director. Ike was passionate in his love of America and the Virginia Boys State program.
Ike enlisted in the Army in 1968 and served in Vietnam as a member of the 1st Battalion, 77th Armor Regiment, 5th Infantry Division (Mechanized). Ike was honorably discharged from the Army and returned home to Tennessee, where he attended Middle Tennessee State University while getting his first taste of the National Park Service at Stones River National Battlefield. Ike had a long career in federal law enforcement, acting as the Chief Ranger at Petersburg National Battlefield for 28 years, retiring in June 2005.
Ever-proud of his military service and once-again volunteering his time, Ike became active in The American Legion later in life. An active member of Post No. 2 in Petersburg, Virginia he worked tirelessly; serving in numerous positions as an advocate for active members of the military, and veterans, eventually rising to the high office of Department Commander for the Commonwealth of Virginia from 2012 to 2013.
Isaac “Ike” Stephen Kelley of Dinwiddie, Virginia, a loving husband and father passed from this world on the morning of April 23, 2021 at the age of 72.
Ike’s obituary Director of Boys State
James R. Chapman
1938 – 2020
Past Department Commander James Russell Chapman passed away on December 15, 2020. Jim earned his eligibility in The American Legion through his distinguished service in the United States Air Force, retiring after 20 years as Master Sergeant. Past Department Commander Chapman was committed to servicing our Veterans, their families and the community in which he lived.
Jim was a 28-year member of The American Legion and held many positions within the organization to include Post, District, Department Vice Commander and Department Commander. Jim also served as Membership Chairman and Department Judge Advocate. In service to his community on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, Jim was instrumental in the construction of his home Post 56 in Cheriton, VA, he also served as a K-9 Officer, Deputy Sheriff for Northampton County, Code Enforcement Officer and Clerk of the Works, where he was responsible for the construction of the Northampton County Courthouse and Jail in Eastville, VA.
Two programs of The American Legion were very important to Jim; the Junior Law Cadet and Virginia Boys State. Jim served for a number of years as a Boys State Counselor and one year as co-Master of Ceremonies for the Boys State program.
Past Department Commander Jim Chapman is a true example of service above self and how The American Legion continues to serve. James R. Chapman, a loving husband and father passed from this world on December 15, 2020.
Garland “Ray” Rhyne
1938 – 2020
Legionnaire Ray Rhyne graduated from Southern Illinois University with a degree in Political Science. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel Infantry Officer from the US Army in 1992 with over 29 years of military service. He worked for the Federal government in various positions, culminating with his retirement from the Department of Homeland Security in 2007.
Ray served The American Legion at all levels – Post, District, State, and National. Ray contributed to the success of The American Legion Boys State of Virginia program by serving as counselor, Newspaper Editor, Chief of Logistics, and Yearbook Editor. In 2011 Garland “Ray” Rhyne was inducted into the Virginia Boys State Hall of Fame.
Garland “Ray” Rhyne, a loving husband and father passed from this world on October 7, 2020.
Curtis “Curt” Dickinson
1934 – 2020
Curt Dickinson spent seventeen years with his Boys State delegates. He was a well versed volunteer in every aspect of the VA Boys State program having served as a counselor, Scholarship coordinator and Deputy Director.
Curt Dickinson served in the United States Army including two tours in Vietnam; retiring as a Colonel.
Curt served The American Legion as Post Commander of Post 86 in Kilmarnock, 12th District Commander, and Department Vice Commander.
In recognition of his career accomplishments and his service to Virginia Boys State, Curt Dickinson was inducted into the Virginia Boys State Hall of Fame in 1999.
Curtis “Curt” Dickinson, formally of Mollusk, Virginia passed away June 22, 2020.
James Albert “Buck” Owen
1946 – 2020
Buck was a 27 year retired US Navy Veteran serving in the Vietnam War. Buck had a passion for Hot Rods and Harley’s; he worked at Jacks Body Shop as a body man while living in Norfolk.
Buck was a member of The American Legion Post #104 and the V.F.W. #9855, both in Appomattox. Buck was the founding member and commander of the Appomattox American Legion Honor Guard. He was the Commander of Post #104, 10th District Commander, Department of Virginia Vice Commander, Department Chairman of Media Communications, Sargent Major reenactor with the 18th Virginia Company H Longstreet Corps, and served offices at the State and National levels of The American Legion. Buck served as a counselor at Virginia Boys State.
James Albert “Buck” Owen, of Appomattox, VA passed away January 21, 2020 surrounded by family and friends.
Clyde “Chic” Ferguson
1930 – 2019
Clyde “Chic” Ferguson passed away at Stafford Hospital 10 September 2019.
Robert D. O’Keefe
1951 – 2018
For nearly two decades, Robert spent his Fathers Day with his Boys State delegates. He was a well versed volunteer in every aspect of the Boys State program having worked as a Counselor, Parliamentary Procedures Instructor, Deputy Director, and Chairman of the Virginia Selection Committee for the Samsung Scholarship. Robert was inducted in The American Legion Virginia Boys State Hall of Fame in 2017.
Robert was a 42-year member of The American Legion from Phoebus Post 48, which awarded him with the prestigious Life Membership in 1997. Over the years, Robert assumed numerous leadership positions at the Post, District, and Department level. Clearly, Robert lived a life of “Service above Self.”
Robert’s obituary Hall of Fame Entry
Patrick Anthony O’Keefe
1949 – 2018
Patrick Anthony O’Keefe passed away on May 28, 2018, in Hampton, Virginia, and joined the saints in heaven to be with our Lord and Savior. Pat was a lifelong resident of Hampton, Virginia, having retired as a lieutenant from the Hampton Fire Department, where he had served as a firefighter and as a fire investigator.
Serving in the United States Army, Pat was stationed in Korea from 1969 – 1971. He also served two terms as the Past Post Commander of Post 48 in Phoebus, Virginia; there, he served in all capacities at Post 48 except chaplain. Pat was persuaded to volunteer at Boys State by his brother, Robert O’Keefe, and he served as a Counselor for three years. Thank you, Pat, for your service.
Charles P. Powell, Jr.
1921 – 2017
Charles P. Powell, Jr., went to be with the Commander of us all on December 8, 2017, in Newport News, Virginia. He served in the United States Army during WWII.
Charlie was a Past Department Commander of Virginia and a “72 year” member of the American Legion. Charlie served in many capacities during his numerous years in the American Legion, which included Department Vice Commander, District Commander, chairman of the Department of Finance Committee, member of the Internal Affairs Committee, and member of the Board of Directors of The American Legion Boys State of Virginia. He also served on the staff of The American Legion Boys State of Virginia for 15 years.
Charlie taught the classes on parliamentary procedures to the boys, which is a two-day class, and he awarded those who finished the class a certificate. He took the American Legion program to heart, and he modeled exceptional citizenship. God bless you, Charlie!
William Edward Buck, III
1928 – 2017
William Edward Buck, III, passed away on October 21, 2017, in Warrenton, Virginia, and entered the heavenly realm of our Savior. He was 89 years old.
Bill served in the United States Air Force for four years, having been honorably discharged with the rank of Staff Sergeant. Bill was employed with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and then he later retired from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
A longtime active member of the American Legion and a Past Post Commander and Officer of the John D. Sudduth American Legion Post 72 in Warrenton, Bill enjoyed selecting boys to become Boys State representatives; he enjoyed working with them as they attended Boys State.
Bill began working with Boys State during its 50th anniversary year in 1992 and volunteered his services for eleven years.
Gordon L. Smith
1928 – 2016
Gordon L. “Gordy” Smith, a Boys State Hall of Fame member went to the Lord on November 16, 2016. Gordy Smith worked as the newspaper consultant/publisher at more than one Boys state and was a Past Commander of American Legion Post 186 in Midlothian, VA.
After seeing the impact that Boys State had on his own son, he assumed the duties of Boys State chair for Post 186 for 22 years and sent over 770 boys to Boys State.
Approaching his job like a journeyman sales representative, Gordy developed contacts with counselors at 4 high school in the area and started working on sending more boys to Boys State. More boys needed meant sponsors, so Gordy developed a network of sponsors in local clubs and organizations to add to his network of school counselors. Requiring his boys to send a summary report of their experience at Boys State, he then used those positive reports to inspire other students and sponsors.
Never hearing no — Gordy expanded his efforts until the post had their own large bus of boys going to Boys State. One of his Gordy’s last acts was to document his process and gave it to the Legion world, he will not be forgotten.
Gordy’s obituary Hall of Fame Entry
Helen Marie Reynolds Dobyns
1929 – 2016
Helen Marie Reynolds Dobyns went home to be with her Lord Thursday, October 20, 2016. Born Helen Marie Reynolds on June 06, 1929, she attended Maywood School and then Radford Women’s College, graduating in 1950. She began teaching in Radford High School and then moved on to Time Warner/Silver Burdette. She taught many teachers across the United States and lead choirs, bands, and orchestras, including her Bethelites at the Bethel United Methodist Church in New Castle, VA. Her career found her teaching in several school systems where she started bands such as the Craig County High School Band.
She was a chorus director for American Legion Girls State and Boys State, directing the Boys State Chorus from 1986 thru 2006 where she influenced many a young person to be the best they could be!
Along with her gift of time, she raised thousands of dollars to send students from Craig County to Boys and Girls State. Many were very thankful for the change this brought to their lives.
In addition to her musical contributions to her community, state and nation, Marie Dobyns will be remembered and revered for her many contributions, her animated style of work, and devotion to her community.
Robert J. Steele
1936 – 2016
Robert J. Steele, a member of the Virginia Boys State Hall of Fame, went to be with the Commander of us all on June 8, 2016. Bob served in the United States Navy from 1958 to 1988, retiring as a Rear Admiral.
Following his retirement from military service, Bob continued to serve his country as a member of the American Legion. Bob graduated from Pennsylvania Boys State and went on to Boys Nation.
He contributed many years to Virginia Boys State, where he spent several years as a Counselor; additionally, Bob served for five years as the Keynote Speaker for the Sunday Opening Session of The American Legion Boys State of Virginia. In total, Bob served nine years with the Boys State. He was such a personable and fun character that he will be woefully missed.
Bob’s obituary Hall of Fame Entry
William O. Lewis
1942 – 2015
William O. Lewis was the son of Oscar and Mattie Mae Lewis entered into a peaceful rest on April 24th, 2015 at the Palliative Care Unit of McGuire Veterans Hospital in Richmond. William, known as “WO”, was born into a large loving family on January 25th 1942. Upon high school graduation he chose to join the United States Army, where he served honorably for sixteen years.
WO never quit serving. He was a faithful member of the American Legion, Veterans Club, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Forty and Eight Societe, and he volunteered in the Richmond Public School System with the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) programs. He led by example and though an avid bowler in several leagues and a fisherman, he completed his degree in sociology from J. Sargent Reynolds and Virginia State University.
He is remembered lovingly by his devoted daughter LaToyia T. Lewis, granddaughter Ka’Diya T. Lewis, very special friend Louvenia Spinks, sisters Grace Martin, Anita Lewis, Ada Morris, Clara Dickerson, Rebecca Lewis, Corena Amerson, adopted sister Shareitta Bell, adopted brother Raymond Lewis and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, personal friends and his many friends and associates in the American Legion, VFW, and Forty and Eight Society. His nineteen years of service to Boys State in conjunction with his lifetime of service guarantees his remembrance by those who knew him.
Vera Jakeman Bright
1936 – 2015
Vera Bright, a member of The Virginia Boys State Hall of Fame, was a versatile, hardworking, service oriented, loyal, loved, and respected individual. She was a member of the Suffolk American Legion Auxiliary Unit 57 from 1953 till the Units closing in 1983. She held most elected offices of the Unit, was a Past President, and became District President in 1960. Later she moved her membership to Stafford Unit 290. She served the Virginia American Legion Boys State for 25 years in positions from office staff to Boys State Yearbook Editor.
Vera graduated from Old Dominion University with a teaching degree and retired from teaching at Lakeland High School in Suffolk after teaching Senior English and Public Speaking. Serving children and youth she volunteered with the Old Dominion Area Council, Boys Scouts of America for 25 years, serving as a Den Leader, District Cub Chairman, Council Cub Chairman, Council Executive Board member the first chairman of the Cub Scout Day Camp, and she taught many courses about Day Camping at Boy Scout Training event She was honored, as a volunteer, with the Silver Beaver Award, the highest award given. As a volunteer with the American Red Cross, she served on the Disaster Action Team and trained others to serve on the team.
Vera was active in her church, Magnolia United Methodist, where she served as a Certified Lay Speaker, Sunday School Teacher, and Outreach Chairman. She was a member and President of the United Methodist Women.
Vera’s obituary Hall of Fame Entry
F. Carlyle Tiller
1925 – 2015
Carlyle’s obituary Hall of Fame Entry
Carroll Gene Cannon
1943 – 2014
Carroll Gene Cannon was a retired train engineer of thirty-five years, former deacon his church, a United States Navy veteran, a Post Adjutant for six years, and 1st Vice Commander of American Legion Charles R. Younts Post 73 in Franklin, Virginia who served in various other capacities within his post and the American Legion Department of Virginia Fourth District.
Carroll also served as counselor with the Law Enforcement Cadet program for two years and as a Virginia Boys State Counselor for seven years. A Legionnaire for only nine years he was always busy. Carroll’s manner, temperament, and sense of humor made him well suited as a Boys State Counselor who was highly respected by his peers and associates within the Legion and Boys State families.
The son of David H. and Mary King Cannon, he passed away on September 4th, 2014. Carroll was survived by his wife of 45 years Ella Jean Gordon Cannon, daughter Tammy C. Woods and her husband Mike, daughter Leslie C. Whitehead and her husband Leonard, and granddaughters Kelsey and Kristen Whitehead. Only 71 years of age at his passing, he will be missed by friends, family, and associates alike.
James Eborn Pilley, Jr.
1924 – 2014
Son of James and Geneva Pilley and husband of Joyce Pilley, passed peacefully from this world on April 30, 2014. Born on August 28, 1924, he grew up in Tarboro, NC, and joined the U.S. Army on February 5, 1943, serving with distinction during WWII in Patton’s Spearheaders, the 737 Tank Battalion.
An active member of the American Legion, over the years he was post commander of Post 113 several times, State Commander for Virginia twice, and Counselor and Chief Counselor of American Legion Boys’ State of Virginia for 35 years. He was inducted into the Boys State Hall of Fame in 1988.
Always proud of his service to his country, he regularly attended 737 Tank Battalion reunions. He is survived by his loving wife, Joyce; his daughter, Sue, his son Don; his stepson, Warren and grandchildren, Timothy, John, Sharon, Kafelgem and Casey. Jim brought light and much laughter to everyone he knew. The family asks that you remember him fondly with a smile, because he always wanted to leave us laughing.
Jim’s obituary Hall of Fame Entry
John R. Bright
1930 – 2014
John R. Bright, born December 7th, 1930 was a sixty-two year member of the American Legion. After high school he joined the United States Air Force and upon separation he worked in the Norfolk Naval Shipyard as an electronics mechanic, nuclear electrical/electronic inspector, and finally as an electrical/electronic planner and estimator. Moving to the Naval Supply System he was a contracting officer’s technical representative until retirement in 1986.
John was a member of the Magnolia Methodist Church for over sixty years, Virginia Boys State volunteer for forty-seven years, volunteer to Cub Scouts and Boys Scouts, Suffolk Red Cross Volunteer, National Active and Retired Federal Employees Suffolk Chapter 1743 member and a twenty-one gallon blood donor.
John passed away on March 13, 2014, but his lifetime commitment to his community, state and nation was well demonstrated by his choice of activities. John R. Bright is survived by his wife of sixty-eight years, Vera Jakeman Bright; son Arthur M. Bright and wife Faye, son John A. Bright and wife Lynn, son Steven L. Bright and wife Deborah, and seven grandchildren, Henry, Arthur, Cabel, Seth, Joshua, Samantha, and Thomas and his wife Jena.
John’s obituary Hall of Fame Entry
Rodney David Lester
1916 – 2012
Rod served as both Treasurer and Registrar for 30 years in the American Legion Boys State Program. In addition his wife, “Jack”, and their three daughters also served in the Boys State Program. All four of his grandsons attended the Boys State Program. Rod was inducted into the Boys State Hall of Fame in 1985 and retired from the program in 2004. In addition to the Boys State program, Rod was a long time supporter of American Legion Baseball.
He was a WWII veteran serving in the Army Air Corp.
Rod was a member of Post 59 for 70 years and received the Certificate of Honor for his membership and the fact that he also served as the Post Adjutant for more than 50 years. For many decades, Rod ensured that American Flags were flown on the Main Street of Christiansburg and Sunset Cemetery during all military holidays.
Rodney’s Obituary Hall of Fame Entry
Jack Montague Rainey
1916 – 2012
Jack’s Obituary Hall of Fame Entry
George Earl Whitley
1916 – 2012
George’s Obituary Hall of Fame Entry
Bruce F. Jamerson
1957 – 2011
Bruce F. Jamerson was the Legislative Coordinator of American Legion Virginia Boys State and Secretary of the Board of Directors. He contributed almost 30 years to Virginia Boys State.
Began his Boys State service in 1981 and was a very valuable member of the Boys State legislative staff for 30 years. He completely redesigned and implemented the Legislative program for Boys State to replicate the actual Virginia General Assembly. As Clerk of the Virginia House of Delegates, his expertise and ability to recruit others to support Boys State was invaluable. Bruce was a member of the Boys State Board Of Directors, served as Secretary for many years and was inducted into the Boys State Hall of Fame in 2001 for his superb leadership.
Bruce’s obituary Hall of Fame Entry
Carlton C. Hughes
1917 – 2011
Carlton served on the Boys State Staff from 1991 to 2005 as Counselor and Chief City Counselor. He was one of the most respected counselors by both fellow staff members and Boys State Citizens. His steadfast personality enabled him to project calm and common sense to most all conflict situations. Although he was a devout Christian he was able to use empathic language to bring tense situations to a calm solution. Carlton was an asset that may not be replaced for some time.
Carlton served in the Army Air Corp from 1942-1946. He was active with American Legion John D. Sudduth Post 72 in Warrenton of which he was Post Commander, Chaplain, and chairman of the Children and Youth programs. Carlton was the American Legion 16th District Chaplain Emeritus and the past Chef-de-Veterans of Foreign Wars Warrenton Post 9835, and a member and chaplain of the Catlett-Casanova-Calverton Ruritans.
Richard H. Poff
1923 – 2011
Richard’s obituary Hall of Fame Entry
Roger N. Messier
1933 – 2010
On April 30, 2010, Boys State lost a great friend and supporter, Roger Messier. Roger had been the Master of Ceremonies for Virginia Boys State for 20 years. In 2008 he was inducted into the Boys State Hall of Fame an honor he cherished. Roger served our great country in the USAF Korean Conflict for four years and was a member of the NASA – Houston Space Program Team receiving various awards to include the NASA Exceptional Bravery Award.
Roger’s American Legion career spanned many years and he served in many different offices to include Department Commander 1989-1990, National Executive Committee 1993-97 and Chairman Internal Affairs Committee. He was a mentor to many of the Legionnaires who presently hold office in Virginia. Roger was instrumental behind the scenes in helping to format policies, activities and programs for the Department of Virginia.
Prior to his passing, Roger, was a very active community leader serving with distinction on Poquoson City Council from July 1990 to December 31, 2002, during which time he served as Vice Mayor from July 1996 to December 31, 2002. He served two full terms on the Poquoson School Board from 1983-89 during which time he was Chairman for three years.
Roger will long be remembered and respected for his leadership and unselfish devotion to his community and his country.
Roger’s obituary Hall of Fame Entry
Dominick W. Scaffido
1919 – 2010
Was a member of the Boys State staff for 39 years. He began his service in 1965 and held many different positions during his service to the organization to include member of the Board of Directors to which he served as secretary for over a decade. He retired from his Boys State Logistics and Special Services position in 2003. Dom was inducted into the Boys State Hall of Fame during the 1989 session for his outstanding contribution to the Boys State Program.
Dom’s obituary Hall of Fame Entry
Edwin J. Dentz
1924 – 2008
Edwin “Eddie” Dentz tried to join the Naval Air Force while attending George Washington University. His eyesight prevented his acceptance. He stayed in school through the Army Specialized Training Program, entering the program with thirteen weeks of Basic Training at Fort McClellan, Alabama.
Eddie was sent to Alabama Polytechnic Institute, now known as Auburn University, to study engineering. Graduates of the ASTP program would then go to Officer Candidate School; however D-Day changed Eddie’s career path and he was shipped to the newly formed 106th Infantry Division at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. He was then sent to England. The 106th then moved to replace the 2nd Division on the Siegried Line in the Ardennes, and soon became involved in the Battle of the Bulge. His platoon found a way through the Seventh Panzer Division and escaped to Liege, Belgium. His unit was part of the only 162 members of the 443rd Regiment who escaped from the encirclement. Eddie was awarded the Bronze Star meal and the Combat Infantry Badge for his actions in combat.
After his military service, he resumed his studies at George Washington University where he received a law degree. He was employed as an attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice.
In 1955, along, with eleven veterans of World War II, formed the Springfield American Legion Post 176. He served as its first commander and over the next fifty-four years served in most elected and appointed positions in the Post. He continued to serve the American Legion and over the years served as 17th District Commander. He served in many Departmental level positions including Commander, Department of Virginia. He went on the serve on the American Legion National Executive Committee. He also served as the Chairman of the National Legislative Committee.
He was a member of the Bull Run Voiture 380, of the Society of 40 and 8.
He had a love for Virginia American Legion Boys State. He worked for more than 25 years in the program. He served as a city counselor, Assistant Director, and for two years was Acting Director. In 2000, he was inducted into the Boys State Hall of Fame.
Those who knew Eddie will always remember his smile and his gracious manner.
Eddie’s obituary Hall of Fame Entry Director of Boys State
Rev. Dr. Jerry Falwell
1933 – 2007
Dr. Jerry Falwell was a native of Lynchburg, Virginia. He attended Lynchburg College and was a graduate of Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri. He was the pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church from 1956 until his death. In 1971 he founded Liberty University where he served as Chancellor. He led missionary and humanitarian efforts in nations around the world. He was recognized by the Virginia Historical Society as the Most Influential Clergyman of the 20th Century.
Dr. Falwell attended Virginia American Legion Boys State in 1949 and in 2004 he was inducted into the Boys State Hall of Fame.
Dr. Falwell will be remembered for his love of the Boys State program.
Jerry’s obituary Hall of Fame Entry
Henry C. Roughton
1921 – 2006
Henry C. Roughton, served during World War Il in the Army Air Corps. He not only served his country, he served his community as well. He was active in the Masonic Lodge Corinthian No. 266, the American Legion, the Shriners, the Legion of Honor, and the Jesters. He was a member of Thalia United Methodist Church. He was employed for 42 years with C&P Telephone Company. He also worked with the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Department. He was a counselor at Virginia American Legion Boys State for 28 years. He served as a city counselor and an administrative counselor. He was inducted into the Boys State Hall of Fame in 1987.
Henry will be remembered as an outgoing, loving person who always put others first.
Rev. John Blackwell
1925 – 2004
Rev. John Blackwell was an Army veteran of World War II and the Korean Conflict. He was a member of American Legion Posts 191 and 6.
Rev. Blackwell was totally dedicated to the Boys State program. He served as Chaplain of Virginia American Legion Boys State for 30 years. Along with his duties as Chaplain, he also served as a City Counsel and Administrative Counselor. He served several terms as a member of the Boys State Board of Directors. In 1990, he was inducted into the Boys State Hall of Fame.
Those who were fortunate enough to have served on the Boys State staff with Rev. Blackwell will always remember his friendly manner, his quick smile, and his spirit of cooperation.
1925 – 2004
Emmett Burley was very interested and involved in the Boys State program for many years. His involvement spanned a multitude of activities. He was instrumental in assisting with the move of Boys State to Liberty University. For 6 years he served as a speaker for Boys State program. During the long period of time that the Boys State program stayed in Lynchburg, much of the Boys State material was stored in his garage.
He served as a member of the Boys State Board of Directors and was president of the Board. Emmett was a veteran of World War II and was a member of Lynchburg Post 16 for 60 years. He served as State Commander of the American Legion and served as a member of the National Executive Committee for 8 years.
The memory of his devotion and service to Boys State will serve as a constant reminder of Emmett to all who knew him.
1928 – 2003
Boys State lost one of its staunchest supporters during the past year. Lloyd Stacy joined the staff in 1989, at a time when his financial wizardry was needed in order for the program to continue. After observing his work in bringing the finances under control, the Board of Directors made him treasurer of Boys State of Virginia, Inc.
He was inducted into the Boys State Hall of Fame in 2000. He was a member of Woodbridge Post 364 for 30 years. For twenty-one of those years, he served as Post Financial Officer. He served as Post Commander in 1981-1982 and Sixteenth District Commander in 1984-1985. He also served for many years as the Finance Officer for the Sixteenth District. He served with distinction as Adjutant for the Department of Virginia in 1987. He was elected Department Vice-Commander in 1990-1991.
Lloyd will be sorely missed by those who worked with him, but his legacy of financial soundness will be a constant reminder of him.
William E. Vest, Jr.
1923 – 2003
William E. “Bill” Vest, Jr., was a counselor at Boys State for 30 years. During the 30 years he served at Boys State, he was looked upon as a model City Counselor and probably won more Best City awards than any other counselor.
Bill had the distinction of being a citizen of the first Boys State held in the state of Virginia in 1939. He served for many years as a member of the Boys State Board of Directors.
In 1990, he was inducted into the Boys State Hall of Fame.
He served overseas in the 8th Army Air Corps during World War II. He was a member of American Legion Post 3. Bill’s gracious and kind manner will be missed by all those who worked with him at Boys State.
Samuel J. Snow
1930 – 2002
Boys State lost one of its staunchest supporters during the past year. Sam Snow was a counselor for 48 years. He began his service here as a city counselor in 1954. At the time of his death, he was serving as Director of Operations for Boys State.
As a part of his duties, Sam arranged for CPR classes that are held each year and he also made arrangements with the University to have referees for athletic events. In 1985, he was inducted into the Boys State Hall of Fame.
Sam was a volunteer athletic trainer at E.C. Glass High School for 46 years. Those who worked with Sam will always remember his quiet manner and the efficient way he accomplished his duties here at Boys State.
Georgia “Jack” Lester
1915 – 2000
In 2000, Boys State lost one of its most enthusiastic supporters. Georgia Lester, or “Jack” as she was known, served on the staff of Virginia Boys State for 27 years. She served as office manager for 8 years and beginning in 1961, she served as co-registrar. From 1983 through 1999 she served as a staff secretary.
Jack loved the Boys State program and looked forward to returning each year. She was a member of the American Legion Auxiliary to Post 59 (Christiansburg) and was a member of the Col. William Christian Chapter of the DAR. She also was an active member of the Main Street Baptist Church.
She was an artist whose talents were shown in pictures as well as in her business which produced custom made draperies. Her artistic efforts were present at Boys State in the Hall of Fame certificates.
Jack loved people and her smile, sense of humor, and quiet manner will be sorely missed by all who knew her.
Harold A. Purnell
1909 – 2000
Harold A. “Hap” Purnell, a long time Boys State counselor, died on April 7, 2000. Hap was a counselor for 26 years and also served on the Board of Directors. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1990.
He served as a communications officer in the Navy from 1942-1945. He participated in the invasion of Iwo Jima and Okinawa and was on his way to Tokyo when the treaty was declared.
This former high school teacher and athletic coach, hospital administrator, store manager, and former Cincinnati Reds scout, was also a member of the Guilford College Hall of Fame.
Hap was a past commander and life member of American Legion Post 73 in Franklin, Virginia.
Hap was always interested in the Boys State program and when he was unable to attend the sessions, would call those who served as counselors to inquire about the events of the session. His leadership and service to the Boys State program helped it to grow into the successful program that it is today.
Henry L. “Les” Lam, Jr.
1922 – 1999
Virginia Boys State 1987-1997
Les Lam, a retired circuit court judged, died on January 8, 1999. Judge Lam joined the Army Air Force in 1942 and served as a flight instructor for 3 years. He received his law degree from William and Mary in 1952 and then began his practice of law in Virginia Beach. In 1969, he was appointed as traffic court judge and founded the Virginia Beach Motorcycle Traffic School. In 1975 he was appointed Circuit Court judge and during that tenure acted as chief judge for several years. Upon retirement, he served on the review panel for the Virginia Court of Appeals.
He served as commander of American Legion Post 113 in Virginia Beach during 1954. In 1961 he served as American Legion State Commander for Virginia. Les served Boys State for 31 years. For 21 years he served as a city counselor and for the last 10 years served as Assistant Director. He also served on the American Legion Boys State Board of Directors and, in 1963, was President of the Board.
He was inducted into the Boys State Hall of Fame in 1983 in recognition for his outstanding service to the program. Judge Lam will always be remembered for his work at Boys State. Under the leadership of men like Les, the Boys State program in Virginia has grown into one of the finest in the nation. His cheerful manner and kindness will be missed by all of those who knew him.
Lee R. Peters
1922 – 1998
Lee Peters, Legionnaire extraordinaire, and member the Boys State of Virginia Hall of Fame with more than 25 years service as a counselor, died June 5, 1998, after a long illness and complications brought about by pneumonia.
Lee, a veteran of Naval P-T Boat service during World War II, served as Commander of his Post and the old Eighth District, and as a Department Vice Commander in the 1950’s. He was an honorary Life Member of Dumfries Post 28 and Voiture 380 of the 40/8, which he served as Chef du Gare in the 1960’s.
At Boys State, Lee served in a variety of positions; as City Counselor and as Publisher of the Boys State newspaper, among others. Before his death, Lee had requested that in lieu of flowers, donations on his behalf be made to the Boys State Scholarship Fund.
During Legion and Masonic Memorial Services on June 9, Lee wore his Boys State Hall of Fame Medal and an assortment of American Legion badges and pins he was awarded over a long and illustrious American Legion career. He was buried at Quantico National Cemetery on June 11.
Rex F. Tillotson
1921 – 1998
Rex Tillotson was a veteran of World War II who served in the 145th Infantry of the 37th Division as a combat medic in the Pacific area. He received numerous medals, among them the Bronze Star and the Silver Star. He was a member of American Legion Post 39.
Rex served as a counselor at Virginia Boys State for 18 years and as director for 10 years. He was elected to the Boys State Hall of Fame in 1988. He also served as director of North Carolina Boys State for 9 years (1987-1996). For several years he served as a counselor at Boys Nation.
The Boys State program in Virginia grew under the leadership of Rex and many of the programs that we have today began during his tenure as director. The impact that he made on the lives of young men in Virginia and North Carolina is a fitting memorial to him. He will be sorely missed by those who knew him.
Rex’s obituary Hall of Fame Entry Director of Boys State
1902 – 1994
For 16 years Stanley Ryan served as Boys State Parliamentarian and Instructor of the class in parliamentary law. He was nationally recognized for his proficiency in that area and authored a widely acclaimed text on Parliamentary Procedure, based in part on his Boys State experiences. Col. Ryan’s distinguished service to American Legion Boys State culminated in his elevation in 1991 to the Boys State Hall of Fame.
James F. Draper
1916 – 1996
Jimmy Draper was a veteran of the United States Army who served his country during World War II. He helped to organize Warwick Post 255 of the American Legion, and remained a member of that post throughout his life. He held many elective posts in the American Legion, including that of Department Commander.
Jimmy volunteered his services to Boys State for 12 years as an Administrative Counselor and served for 7 years on the Board of Directors. During his years of service, he updated and improved many of the Boys State forms, kept current information in the Boys State archives, and made an intensive two year investigation of colleges and universities throughout the state in search of a home for Boys State. Jimmy will long be remembered for his deep interest in Boys State. He will be sorely missed by all those who knew him.
1922 – 1989
1918 – 1987
E. Alvin Lyle
Alvin Lyle, a retired Richmond station master who filled many positions of Boys State, was a man of dignity, charm and good humor. He could calm an audience with the mere raising of his hand. He could introduce military brass with the same dignity and charm as that accorded Governors of Virginia or national figures. He would show the Boys Stater the same dignity and make his efforts worthwhile. He was never lost for words. His good humor was well known and enjoyed. Alvin carried his program notes in a briefcase. A game of “hide Alvin’s notes” was a continuous enjoyment of the counselors and troopers. Alvin made it a point to keep his eyes on those around him. Sometimes he failed and the results were much fun. Once during a canine drug demonstration the decoy was put in Alvin’s briefcase. When the canine caught the smell, Alvin’s papers were ready for “recycling”. He was very upset but took it good naturedly when he found out that his papers has been switched and plain paper had been put in the case. When he knew of a birthday or anniversary of a counselor he made note of it during the evening assembly.
He was active in the Boys State selection in the Richmond area and rode the bus with the boys. On the return trip when Alvin took his seat on the bus, all was ready to go and the buses moved out on time as the trains had in the past. He had a wonderful bass voice and would burst into song on any occasion. He served as chorus director during the 60’s and 70’s. Many VIP guests, knowing of Lyle’s role as “The Grand Imperial Poobah”, would show him the respect of that position.
He was honored by The Boys State of Virginia for his long service to the American Youth, and his contributions to Boys State when he was inducted into the Boys State Hall of Fame in 1984.