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Remembering Virginia Forwood Pate Wetter [Editorial]

The Aegis

The following editorial about Virginia Forwood Pate Wetter was originally published in The Record, Friday, Dec. 8, 2000. It is being reprinted again after her death Sept. 25 at age 99:

Virginia Forwood Pate Wetter should be a hero and role model to girls everywhere, especially in her beloved hometown of Haver de Grass (correctly spelled Havre de Grace).

At a time when the woman's place was still in the home, she was thrust into the male-dominated world of radio station management. In a recent edition of The Record, Executive Editor Ted Hendricks, another lifelong Havre de Grace resident, chronicled her 81 years from the modest beginnings of her birth in Burns Apartments to her financially secure life as a world traveler.

She has seen much of Havre de Grace's history and been responsible for reporting much of it as the leader of our city's radio station.

Fourth of July celebrations are still a big deal in Havre de Grace, but not quite the big deal they once were as one of the highlights of WASA-AM's summer broadcast schedule.

"Can you imagine a radio station trying to do the parade today?" she asked rhetorically during a recent interview. "I don't think anyone would listen. We were strictly local and we relied on the local community."

Supporting the local community was a successful approach when she was thrust into radio station management in 1960 and remains so today. Local radio stations and newspapers, increasingly owned by out of town corporations (The Record is owned by The Chicago Tribune) still thrive because of their commitment to all things local.

We at The Record follow her philosophy of sticking to the local stuff. It's helped this newspaper succeed since 1868.

Her resume reads like a Who's Who? of People Who Do Everything Always, if there was such a thing. Other than radio, education is one of her big interests and she's held many leadership roles, including president of the Harford County Board of Education and many, many at the College of William Mary, from whence she graduated.

The girls and women of Havre de Grace take note: she succeeded far beyond the male-imposed limits of her generation and was one of the many who cleared the path for all the girls and women who came after. It's quite a wide path she cleared.

James "Capt." Jim McMahan of WAMD-AM in Aberdeen, one of her local radio counterparts/competitors, wrote in a letter to the editor of The Record last week that "it truly makes me proud to share the profession with her." We, too, are truly proud of her, what she has accomplished and that she still calls our beloved “Haver de Grass” home.

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