By David Rogers. January 4, 2018. BLOWING ROCK, NC — As sendoffs go, Thursday’s memorial reception for the late Ginny Stevens at the American Legion Building was probably more than the woman would have liked. She worked tirelessly for the Blowing Rock she loved and wanted to preserve, without seeking any kind of attention for herself.
COVER IMAGE: J.B. Lawrence recalls the many interactions he had with Ginny Stevens and how important she was to Blowing Rock. Photographic images by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News
Then again, Wednesday’s little event was perfect. Nearly 100 residents, town staff, and business folks turned out to pay their respects to Ginny and her family. They were treated to a multitude of stories about the lady some have advanced as one of Blowing Rock’s true matriarchs for her often behind-the-scenes activities in interactions with town government as well as in promoting the preservation of historic buildings and landmarks.
There were too many stories to recount them all, but longtime resident Oval Jaynes recalled the time when he and his wife had decided on remodeling their house. “Because of Ginny’s stopping by and showing us pictures of how the house was, even when the well was across the street at the Green Park Inn, we restored our house. Instead of six months it took two and half years because of all the things that needed to be replaced in the restoration. With Ginny, it was almost like we had a second construction foreman, but we never received an invoice!”
Architect David Harwood recounted his many interactions with Mrs. Stevens and her friendship. Especially poignant was when he turned to David Stevens and acknowledged, “At one point when I was having a tough time with my business, my daughter Haley received one of the Stevens scholarships. It was truly a godsend…”
Marcia Quinn worked with Ginny for several years on Blowing Rock Historical Society projects. “Ginny was a co-founder of the Historical Society,” Quinn said. “She wasn’t about titles and such and she would never really want to be recognized as a founder, but she was the driving force behind so many things, from the Edgewood Cottage restoration where she was knee deep in the trash there, right alongside us as we worked to restore this historical treasure…If you have never heard of her involvement in the books about Blowing Rock or the many things she did for this town, I encourage you to read her (obituary)…She knew every Town official and every Police Chief, and they knew her…”
Former Mayor J.B. Lawrence was, fittingly, one of the last to address the crowd. As Quinn pointed to him and said, “You got to know Ginny pretty well,” Lawrence smiled and people chuckled. As he stepped out front of the gathered throng, Lawrence acknowledged that he had many meetings with Ginny Stevens “…and I loved every one of them…Every town should have a Ginny Stevens. Here in Blowing Rock, we are lucky to have had the original.”
Friends and neighbors of Ginny Stevens organized Thursday’s reception at the American Legion Building, which in and of itself was the perfect venue. From the time the issue first came up about potentially demolishing and replacing the Legion Building, Stevens campaigned for restoration and her leadership of the Blowing Rock Historical Society, including raising funds and a significant donation toward the restoration project, helped pave the way for the transformation of the building from aging relic to the showpiece venue it is today.
Good-bye, Ginny Stevens. We know you are watching.