First Female FCDC Chair Jane Vitray Passes Away

By Former Senator Emilie Miller
Jane Vitray was not born a Virginian, but the citizens of Virginia and the Democratic Party are fortunate she chose this Commonwealth.  She was from Hoboken, New Jersey and was the best of “Eastern Liberal”. .
In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s she was the first woman to be Chair of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee.  That is when I met her.  Jane called and summoned me to her home and asked me to be the FCDC Finance Chair.  I do not know why she asked but you did not say no to Jane.  FCDC and the old 10th CD headquarters were in Falls Church City and you could find Jane there every day.  On the walls were photos from the past Johnson and  Johnson race (Lyndon and Gus) of the 1960’s. She had worked hard for both candidates.  She went on to work for Lyndon’s son-in-law Chuck Robb.

That is what Jane did so well, mentor candidates, especially women.  Candidates were told to “sit at her feet” and learn.  Jane also “sought “ out candidates.  Just ask Mary Sue Terry, former Attorney General and the only women in Virginia to win state wide office.  In 1983 Jane went to Mary Sue Terry and told her she should start to think about the office of Attorney General. Jane got other women, including me, to work several years out on the campaign and Mary Sue won in 1985.
To give women a forum and networking she, myself, Sandy Duckworth and Patsy Brown, with the help of Lynda Robb, started “Good Ole Girls” many years ago.  Another way to mentor and elect women.  And just last year she was a founding member of The Farm Team.  To honor Jane a new calf born at Mary Sue Terry’s farm, where the new group was formed, was named Jane!
In her early days in Virginia Jane was active in the civil rights movement.  She told me stories of sitting at lunch counters to integrate them and going to many counties and cities to register minorities to vote.  She was an Elder at her church in Vienna. She had been the Secretary of the Fairfax County Electoral Board.  Jane and I exchanged stories and photos of what we were most proud of, our families.  Jane loved her children and grandchildren.
Jane lived a long and productive, vital life.  This only touches on a very small part of it. We can best honor her memory by doing what she did – help people whether they want to be active in the Party or in life.
A service for Jane will be held this weekend.

Saturday, April 4, 2009 at 1:00 PM
VIenna Presbyterian Church
124 Park Street NE
Vienna, VA 22180