Staunton leaders dedicate Rita Wilson Council Chambers

Staunton leaders dedicate Rita Wilson Council Chambers

STAUNTON, Va. (WVIR) - City leaders held a dedication ceremony Thursday night memorializing one of their own, Rita Wilson, with a special honor.

City Council unveiled a plaque that will hang next to the Rita S. Wilson Council Chambers in Staunton City Hall downtown.

In June, then-Vice Mayor Ophie Kier, in his last act on Staunton City Council, introduced a motion to name the chambers after Wilson.

Wilson was the first Black Staunton Councilwoman. She served from 1991-2008 including two years as Vice Mayor.

The late Rita Wilson, former Staunton Vice Mayor
The late Rita Wilson, former Staunton Vice Mayor (Source: WVIR)

Several former colleagues spoke during the dedication ceremony including Delegate John Avoli who was Staunton Mayor at the time Wilson joined Council.

“Rita came on and brought the motherly image of dealing with social issues that needed to be addressed and she did quite well,” said Avoli.

Other past mayors and council members spoke as well as family members.

“Her main focus was to be a voice and to help other individual’s lives be better,” said Wilson’s grandson Tony Davenport.

Wilson who passed away four years ago is recognized for the revival and historic designation of Booker T. Washington High School turned Community Center and her work tackling community problems.

“I think it would be an honor to her that her just doing what she thought was right that she’d be honored in this way,” said Davenport.

Wilson’s legacy also lives on through the Rita Wilson Memorial Scholarship supporting Staunton and Augusta County residents seeking to continue their education.

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