SJ430: Celebrating the life of John L. Heatwole.

Offered January 16, 2007
Celebrating the life of John L. Heatwole.
Patron-- Obenshain

WHEREAS, John L. Heatwole of Swoope, a respected artisan and community benefactor, died on November 22, 2006; and

WHEREAS, John Heatwole shared his many talents as a sculptor, folklorist, historian, author, and lecturer with his fellow Virginians; and

WHEREAS, John Heatwole was born on March 24, 1948, and grew up in Washington, D.C., the son of Lillye Marie Preston and John L. Heatwole, Jr.; and

WHEREAS, John Heatwole served in the United States Marine Corps and was employed by the Library of Congress before moving to the Shenandoah Valley in 1974; and

WHEREAS, John Heatwole moved to the Shenandoah Valley convinced by his uncle, Paul Heatwole, to follow his passion of wood sculpting; he began working at Virginia Craftsmen, pursued a professional career as an artist, and within a few years opened his own shop in Bridgewater; and

WHEREAS, over the years, John Heatwole built a reputation as an imaginative artisan and he became well-known throughout the Valley; and

WHEREAS, an art director at Neiman Marcus department store in Washington, D.C., hired John Heatwole to produce figures for a 1979 Christmas window; the National Capitol Rotunda displayed his artwork in 1980; and the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society displayed more than 200 of his pieces at its museum in Dayton in 1982; and

WHEREAS, John Heatwole created a world of wizards, dwarfs, and magical figures, and he wrote in an article Fine Wood Working that his creativity had sprung from a childhood filled with fear and anxiety; and

WHEREAS, also a celebrated storyteller, John Heatwole was passionate about Shenandoah Valley history, folklore, and superstition and wrote many books and lectured on the subjects at local events and on radio shows; and

WHEREAS, in 1995, John Heatwole wrote a book Shenandoah Voices: Folklore, Legends, and Traditions of the Valley, a collection of his interviews with colorful and fascinating people who grew up in the 19th and 20th centuries; and

WHEREAS, John Heatwole loved to explore the Shenandoah Valley’s Civil War history, and in 1998 after years of painstaking research, he published The Burning:Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley, describing the devastation civilians suffered as a result of General Sheridan’s campaign in the fall of 1864; and

WHEREAS, John Heatwole served his community on the Rockingham County Bicentennial Commission, the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District Commission, and the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation and was instrumental in preserving many historic and battlefield sites; and

WHEREAS, John Heatwole was honored with the Shenandoah University President’s Award for Outstanding Service in Community History in 2002 and the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation’s Carrington Williams Preservation Award in 2006; and

WHEREAS, John Heatwole will be greatly missed by his wife Miriam, his son David and daughter-in-law Dawn,  his wonderful grandchildren, and numerous other loving family members and friends; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, That the General Assembly mourn the passing of a talented artisan and outstanding Virginian, John L. Heatwole; and, be it

RESOLVED FURTHER, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates prepare a copy of this resolution for presentation to the family of John L. Heatwole as an expression of the General Assembly’s respect for his memory.