Marion Gibbs Galland, 93, died at her home, The Goodwin House, Bailey's Crossroads, Aug. 5. A founder of Senior Services of Alexandria, Gallard was the first woman elected to the Virginia General Assembly from Alexandria in 1963. She served three consecutive terms.
"She was the first president of Senior Services in 1968-69 when it was formed. And, she continued to support the organization through very generous donations throughout her life. She was someone I could always count on," said Mary Ann Ormes, Senior Services' first executive director who served in that role from 1974 to 1997.
Formed originally to aid older citizens find employment, Senior Services has expanded over the years into a variety of senior endeavors. "Marion remained involved until just the last few years. She was always a major financial contributor," said the Rev. Dr. George Pera, pastor emeritus, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Alexandria, and former Senior Services Board of Directors member.
"She was the consummate lady in doing good deeds as a volunteer but also a very tough competitor in fighting for what she believed in. She was a four-foot, 11-inch dynamo who probably didn't weigh more than 95 pounds soaking wet," said state Sen. Patricia S. "Patsy" Ticer.
In addition to being a Senior Services founder, Galland also led the way in establishing the Alexandria YWCA as an independent unit, according to Ticer. It eventually became the Campagna Center.
Two of her other primary civic endeavors were the United Way and The League of Women Voters. She always fought for what she believed in, whether it was popular or not, Ticer said.
"When Virginia was debating the sale of liquor by the drink she was absolutely opposed. I was for it. When it passed the General Assembly she sent me a pot holder with the words "Temperance Now," Ticer recalled.
"She was a very good and close friend. My husband served as her treasurer when she ran for the General Assembly and she served as his when he ran for Alexandria City Council. She was also my treasurer when I ran for office," Ticer said.
A memorial service was held Tuesday, Aug. 7, at Goodwin House attended by many of her admirers and family members. Preceded in death by her husband George F. Galland, she is survived by her daughter, Anne Chacon; son, George F, Galland, Jr.; four grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
In lieu of flowers the family has requested that those who wish to honor her memory make a contribution to the Campagna Center in her name. Information regarding such donations is available at www.campagnacenter.org.