Virginia Chapter of the

National Organization for Women

Celebration & Memory



Celebrating Virginia's Feminists and Foremothers

A memorial to Virginia's pioneers in the women's movement.  Obituaries and memories of our friends, our foremothers, our heroines.

525 in loving memory


Virginia NOW celebrates the life of Elise Heinz
By Megan McDonough, Washington Post
January 29, 2014


Ms. Heinz, an Arlington resident, operated a private law practice in Arlington from the late 1960s until her retirement in 1990. She first became involved with state politics as a volunteer lobbyist for the Equal Rights Amendment in 1974. She was elected to the House of Delegates in 1977 and reelected in 1979, representing Arlington and Alexandria. 

At the time, she was one of eight women in the 100-member House, The Washington Post reported. “I got a sense that Virginia is sufficiently backward in terms of women lawyers developing credibility,” Ms. Heinz told The Post before her win in 1977. “To prove yourself, you have to go and beat their [men’s] pants off.”

At Harvard, she was one of five women in her class of 460 and an editor of the Harvard Law Review. Before opening her private practice, Ms. Heinz did legal work for the Peace Corps and Judge David L. Bazelon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

She was a member of the National Women’s Political Caucus of Virginia and was a former Virginia representative on the advisory commission of the Chesapeake & Ohio National Historical Park in Potomac, Md. She volunteered time to the American Civil Liberties Union, National Partnership for Women & Families (formerly the Women’s Legal Defense Fund) and the Arlington School Board.



Virginia NOW celebrates the life of Jean Crawford
by Scott McCaffrey, The Sun Gazzett
Feburary 7, 2014

There are, perhaps, as many stories about Jean Marshall Crawford as there are people around to tell them.

Marj Signer passed along a good one, dating back 30 years when Crawford was leading the fight to convince the conservative Virginia General Assembly to ratify the federal Equal Rights Amendment.

Crawford relished her days fighting for the ERA, Signer wrote in an e-mail, and when women's-rights supporters were arrested during a 2012 rally on the steps of the Virginia Capitol, she recalled being arrested there herself back in 1982, after the legislature narrowly defeated the Equal Rights Amendment, a move that help kill its inclusion in the U.S. Constitution.

Being among the first to be arrested on the steps of the Capitol in Richmond was a badge of honor for the feisty Crawford, Signer told the Sun Gazette.

Crawford, long a fixture on the Arlington and Virginia political scene, died on the afternoon of Feb. 5 – just hours before the Arlington County Democratic Committee, on which she served for years, held its monthly meeting.  It was Crawford who sat at the check-in table at those monthly meetings, making her, for many, the face of Arlington Democrats.  A decade ago, when a twentysomething Kip Malinosky attended his first Democratic gathering, Crawford was the first to greet him. Today, Malinosky is party chairman.

"We dearly loved Jean," a visibly moved Malinosky told Arlington Democrats on Feb. 5. "She was an absolutely amazing person – such a gracious heart, dedicated to service. We will dearly miss her."

On the local Democratic committee, Crawford also served as deputy treasurer and was a veteran precinct captain.  Crawford had something that can't be replicated: An institutional memory of local, state and national politics dating back two generations. And she had passion.

"Jean motivated others to work hard for the cause of equality – she remained to the end someone who inspired and motivated others to work hard for the causes they cared about," Signer said.

Crawford's work for the National Organization for Women (NOW) included serving in a staff position focused on abortion rights, winning election to its nation board and serving as president of the Virginia chapter. Signer, who is legislative vice chairman for Virginia NOW, called Crawford "a tireless warrior."

And a scorekeeper, too: Crawford once regaled a reporter on how a certain likely presidential candidate wasn't going to get her support, because – decades back – that individual "didn't lift a finger" to further the cause of the ERA.  While a political partisan, Crawford also was something of a force of nature, said County Board Chairman Jay Fisette, a friend of long standing. 

"She exuded positive energy, loved Arlington and acted on her deeply held Democratic values every minute of every day," said Fisette, who praised Crawford's "smile, warmth and her infectious laugh."

Long a member of the staff of the county commissioner of revenue's office, Crawford in recent years served as legislative counsel in the office of County Manager Barbara Donnellan.

Crawford "was a dear, special person who was full of life and shared her joy with all of us, every day," Donnellan said. "She made enormous contributions to Arlington and leaves a big void in our community, in our office and in our lives."


Virginia NOW
celebrates the life of
 Jean Chybinski
June 25th, 2017

Long-time NOW member Jean Chybinski died on the weekend of June 25th, 2017. Jere forwarded the note from her husband Nick to the chapter.  Nick is flying out to Michigan tomorrow (Tuesday) for a celebration of her life.

Mary Ann and I are sending Nick a message about Jean today that he can share with friends and relatives at the celebration of her life in Michigan. Would you like to add one of your own? I will assemble your messages and forward them them to Nick this evening.  Please send them to me at guncontrol@verizon.net. Thank you!

-Raymond Bridge and Mary Ann Beall




Virginia NOW celebrates the life of Senator Patsy Ticer.

Among her many contributions, Patsy was first senator to introduce and pass the
Equal Rights Amendment in Virginia.

Patricia S. “Patsy” Ticer (James A. Parcell/The Washington Post)

August 7th, 2017

Patricia S. “Patsy” Ticer, a liberal Democrat who served as the first elected female mayor of Alexandria, Va., and later spent four terms in the Virginia state Senate championing health, social services and environmental concerns, died Aug. 7 at a hospital in Alexandria. She was 82.

The cause was complications from a fall, said a daughter, Margaret Janowsky.

Mrs. Ticer, who was the wife of a former Alexandria City Council member, John “Jack” Ticer, was a neighborhood activist, hospital volunteer and real estate agent before she moved into electoral politics. She served three terms on the City Council in the 1980s, making early childhood development, education and affordable housing her priorities.

She was regarded as a consensus builder — “power,” she once said, “is being able to get things done without having to raise your voice.”

She was serving as vice mayor under James P. Moran Jr. when he won a seat in Congress in 1990. Mrs. Ticer ran to succeed him as mayor, beating Republican Ann Stone, a marketing and political consultant.

Ticer in Richmond. (Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post)

A year into the job, she withstood pressure by then-Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder (D) and Washington Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke to build a new stadium for the team in Alexandria’s Potomac Yard. Some Alexandrians were against the proposal, chiefly because of parking and traffic concerns. Others said it was a giveaway to the sports franchise at the expense of taxpayers.

Mrs. Ticer was elected to the state Senate in 1995, unseating moderate Republican Robert L. Calhoun in a district that included parts of Arlington and Fairfax counties as well as Alexandria. She supported Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts and chaired the Senate’s Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee.

She did not seek reelection to a fifth term in 2011.

“She could have had a very comfortable life but chose the messy world of politics,” Moran said. “She was always able to be a political leader without really treating anyone badly nor compromising her integrity.”

Patricia Keyser Smith was born in Washington on Jan. 6, 1935, and grew up in Alexandria. She graduated in 1951 from George Washington High School and in 1955 from Sweet Briar College, an all-women’s college in Virginia, with a bachelor’s degree in political science.

In 1956, she married Jack Ticer. She became a block captain in civic associations, participated in several PTAs and local charitable and civic groups, and helped form the Alexandria Commission for the Arts. She said her husband urged her to run for the council in 1982.  He died in 2007.

Besides Janowsky, of Alexandria, survivors include three other children, John T. Ticer Jr. of Vienna, Va., Catherine Ticer of San Jose and Virginia Baechler of Alexandria; and five grandchildren.

"Power is being able to get things done without having to raise your voice."Patsy Ticer

Read "A Personal Story of Patsy Ticer"


Virginia NOW celebrates the life of John Bennett

Published in The Washington Post on Jan. 7, 2018

JOHN C. BENNETT, JR. (Age 84) Of Alexandria, Virginia, passed away on December 29, 2017.

He was born on September 9, 1933, in Carlisle, Arkansas, to the late Stella Strahan and John Carrick Bennett. He graduated from Little Rock High School in 1951, and American University (Washington, DC) in 1961. He served honorably as a private first class in the U.S. Army and later joined the federal civil service, initially employed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Atlanta, Georgia, and New York City. He retired from the civil service in 2005, following more than four decades of commitment to fighting employment discrimination as a compliance officer with the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Federal Contract Compliance programs in Washington, DC.

John was a dedicated, long-term feminist, having joined the National Organization for Women (NOW) in New York City shortly after its founding in the late 1960's. His commitment to women's rights and equality continued during the following years in various activities and programs undertaken in the New York City and Capitol Hill (DC) NOW chapters.

John is survived by Carol A. Kalinoski, his best friend, colleague, companion, soulmate, and wife of almost fourty seven years whom he met in New York City NOW and later joined him as an activist in NOW in both New York City and Washington, DC. John is survived by four children: John III, Stella, Adrienne (Dever) and Joanna (Smith). Seven grandchildren also survive him as does his brother, Don of Little Rock, Arkansas.

An avid animal lover all his life, John will be missed by five sphynx cats, especially his favorite, Baroness Bleu, and three Pomeranians, all of whom were honored to share his life and his bed. John always sought to live in the moment and to the fullest.

Besides his family, John had two major passions in his life. One was his love of foreign travel. In the early 1960's, he drove through Europe to Moscow in a VW beetle with a Soviet minder whom he had to pick up at the Soviet border. In his halcyon years, he also enjoyed doing home exchanges with people around the world, particularly the U.K., Austria, and Mexico, many of whom have become friends. In his final years, he accompanied his wife, Carol, on her assignments for the State Department in the Balkans and the Middle East.

And how can one not mention his other passion: cars and all things automotive! During his lifetime, John owned and tinkered with several cars of all types and loved to talk about cars with anyone who was interested in them. He especially loved his Mom's yellow 1977 Mercury Grand Marquis which lovingly became known as "The Banana Boat".

His wife, Carol, appreciates and thanks the staffs of Cherrydale Rehab and Nursing Home in Arlington, Va., and Capital Caring hospice for their care, comfort, and kindness extended to John and his family during his final illness.

Arrangements, including a veteran's service, made by Everly-Wheatley, Alexandria, VA. On-line condolences and fond memories may be offered at: http://www.everlywheatley.com/tributes/John-Bennett. Services will be held at Everly Wheatley Funeral Home followed by an interment at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alexandria Welfare League of Alexandria or Capital Caring of Falls Church, VA.