Charlotte W. Richardson

June 8, 1938September 20, 2011

Rudy (Charlotte Phene) Richardson, 73, a devoted mother, civic activist and poet died September 20, 2011 at her home in Arlington.

She died of cardiac arrest and suffered from the effects of two strokes.

Rudy worked for 13 years at the Laborers Health and Safety Fund in the District until 2008.

She graduated from St. Margaret’s School of Nursing in Boston in 1958.

She was active in the Arlington County Republican Party and later in life became a staunch Democrat. Rudy was the first Chairman of the Arlington Women’s Commission and was the Director of Arlington’s Bicentennial Committee in 1976. She supported a variety of progressive issues including pro choice, AIDS research, homelessness support and breast cancer awareness and research.

In 1992, Rudy’s poem "Reminiscing" was published by Quill Books and she continued to write poems exploring her thoughts on emotion, love and separation.

She is survived by her two sons; Neil Richardson of the District and Drew Richardson and his wife, Sonya Richardson, who resides in Fairfax County as well as her former husband Dave Richardson of Arlington.

Rudy did not wish to have a memorial service but requests that in lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in her name to the Arlington Animal Rescue League.

Mom was the first Board chair of the Arlington County, Committee on the Status of Women in 1982/3. It appears that it was revamped into a permanent committee the year prior to Mom being elected Chair. I have found some of her notes and minutes of meetings etc, many of the board members ended up serving on the Arlington County board and Mary Marshall went on to serve in the Va. House of Delegates for I think about 20 years. Mom was an odd choice for this position as she was at that time a Republican in a county that has been consistently controlled by Democrats since the Civil War. Here is a link to what they do now and a little history of the commission.

She worked for Independent (but very Republican) Dorothy Grotos as field coordinator and precinct captain organizer who served several terms on the county board. Mom was also a central figure in the Frank Wolf's first campaign (He's still the US Congressman in, I think, the 10th District of Va in Fairfax or Alexandria area) and more notably Senator John Warner who was the US Senator for Va for more than 25 years and married to Elizabeth Taylor who I spoke with at least twice when she called the home. Mom was also a delegate to two or three state Republican conventions during the early 70s and the second Richard Nixon campaign all the way until the first term of Ronald Reagan in 1980. She was a national delegate representing Va for Reagan and went to the convention that successfully launched his presidency in Detroit.

Here is a youtube video of the convention that Mom attended in Detroit when President Reagan accepted the nomination.

Mom renounced her Republican party affiliation in the early 80s when the GOP began to actively work against abortion rights and President Reagan refused to provide dollars for AIDS research. Mom could never bring herself to join the Arlington Democratic Party after campaigning against them for so long but she involved herself in progressive causes like homeless issues, breast cancer research and gay rights.

Drew and I remember growing up in campaign headquarters licking stamps, dropping literature at doors across the county and working the polls. All of these activities kept her busy in the evenings and on the weekends. Even so, she still managed to make it to some of our soccer games (especially Drew's).

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