HR82: Celebrating the life of Sol Waite Rawls, Jr.

Celebrating the life of Sol Waite Rawls, Jr.


Agreed to by the House of Delegates, February 23, 2018


WHEREAS, Sol Waite Rawls, Jr., a beloved father and a respected business leader who gave generously of his time and talents in service to the City of Franklin and the Commonwealth, died on January 28, 2018; and

WHEREAS, born in 1919 in Franklin, Sol Rawls earned a chemistry degree from the Virginia Military Institute in 1940 and then served in the United States Army during World War II, rising to the rank of major and winning the Army Commendation Medal; and

WHEREAS, following his military service, Sol Rawls forged a successful career at his father’s business, S.W. Rawls, Inc., an oil distributor that included service stations as well as Franklin’s first automobile dealership; he became the company’s president in 1964 and held that position until 1994; and

WHEREAS, a lifelong supporter of the Franklin community, Sol Rawls worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life and economic development in the city, including serving as founder and president of the Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce and Southampton Memorial Hospital; and

WHEREAS, Sol Rawls also held leadership or board positions with the Camp Foundation, Raiford Memorial Hospital, the Franklin-Southampton Alliance, the Old Dominion Area Boy Scouts of America, Franklin Southampton Charities, the Southeast Virginia 4-H Educational Center, and the Virginia Horse Center Foundation; and

WHEREAS, after Hurricane Floyd brought devastating flooding to Franklin in 1999, Sol Rawls played a leading role in establishing the Franklin Flood Fund, which raised over $4 million in aid for local businesses and residents; and

WHEREAS, a proud Virginia Military Institute graduate, Sol Rawls served as president of the Institute’s alumni foundation and as a longtime member and president of its Board of Visitors; and

WHEREAS, Sol Rawls also served as chairman of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia from 1964 to 1966 and as vice president of the Eastern Virginia Medical School Foundation from 1970 to 1980; and

WHEREAS, Sol Rawls received numerous honors and recognitions for his dedication to his hometown, including the 1966 First Citizen of Franklin award and the 1998 Business Person of the Year award from the Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce; and

WHEREAS, in 2000, Sol Rawls was presented with the Virginia Military Institute’s New Market Medal, the Institute’s highest honor; he was also the recipient of its 1990 Distinguished Service Award; and

WHEREAS, Sol Rawls will be fondly remembered and dearly missed by his children, Ann, Betsy, Patricia, and Sol III, and their families, as well as numerous other family members, friends, and Franklin residents; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the House of Delegates hereby note with great sadness the loss of Sol Waite Rawls, Jr., a dedicated citizen who provided outstanding service to the Franklin community and the Commonwealth; 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 Sol Waite Rawls, Jr., as an expression of the House of Delegates’ respect for his memory.


Offered February 16, 2018
Commemorating the life and legacy of Russell Amos Kirk.
Patron-- Ware

WHEREAS, though to change has become the mantra that accompanies the recent domination of individual and social life by the engines of economy and technology, to conserve a traditional social order was the summons of Russell Amos Kirk; and

WHEREAS, as the United States emerged from the Second World War as a dynamo of economic and material expansion, literary critic Lionel Trilling could declare, in 1950, “Liberalism is not only the dominant but even the sole intellectual tradition” of the American people; and

WHEREAS, Russell Kirk challenged the assertion of Liberalism’s hegemony by publishing, in 1952, a work, The Conservative Mind, that would transform for generations to come the political discourse of the nation; and

WHEREAS, to Russell Kirk, the conservative tradition first enunciated in the modern era by Edmund Burke, and sustained by generations of American statesmen—including the redoubtable John Randolph of Virginia—holds that the reformist zeal of Liberalism “thinks of politics as a revolutionary instrument for transforming society and even transforming human nature . . . but men cannot improve a society by setting fire to it”; and

WHEREAS, Russell Kirk drew upon the wisdom of the past to posit, too, that “[t]he twentieth-century conservative is concerned, first of all, for the regeneration of the spirit and character—with the perennial problem of the inner order of the soul, the restoration of the ethical understanding, and the religious sanction upon which any life worth living is founded. This is conservatism at its highest”; and

WHEREAS, Russell Kirk was born in Plymouth, Michigan, in 1918, earned a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and a master’s degree—with his study of John Randolph—from Duke University, served in the United States Army in World War II, and returned to his studies to become the first and only American to be awarded the degree of Doctor of Letters by St. Andrews University in Scotland; and

WHEREAS, Russell Kirk expanded upon his central theses in a distinguished series of works that included The Roots of American Order, The American Cause, The Political Principles of Robert A. Taft (with James McClellan), and The Politics of Prudence; and

WHEREAS, Russell Kirk wrote, too, masterful ghost and horror stories, such as Watchers at the Strait Gate, and magisterial literary criticism, for example, Eliot and His Age: T. S. Eliot’s Moral Imagination in the Twentieth Century, and countless newspaper columns and essays in leading journals on both sides of the Atlantic; and

WHEREAS, for these and many other of his accomplishments, Russell Kirk was presented with the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Ronald Reagan in 1989; and

WHEREAS, Russell Kirk lived most of his adult life in his ancestral home, Piety Hill, in tiny and remote Mecosta, Michigan, where he and his wife, Annette Kirk née Courtemanche, raised four daughters and where, still today, Annette Kirk welcomes students and scholars from across the world to individual study or seminars sponsored by the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal; and

WHEREAS, Russell Kirk, who died on April 29, 1994, established himself as a wise and virtuous man whose exemplary life and scholarly works are an enduring legacy of the American people, be they liberal or conservative; now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, That the House of Delegates hereby commemorate the life and legacy of Russell Amos Kirk on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his birth; and, be it

RESOLVED FURTHER, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates prepare a copy of this resolution for presentation to Annette Kirk and to Professor Bradley J. Birzer, holder of the Russell Amos Kirk Chair in History in Hillsdale College, Michigan, and author of the definitive biography of his subject, Russell Kirk: American Conservative, who will be guest speaker at a forum to be held in Richmond on March 1, 2018, by Virginian admirers of the late, great Russell Kirk.