Connie Stuntz was born in Falls Church in 1923 and moved to Vienna after she and Mayo Stuntz were married in 1947. Mayo, born in 1915 in a house where Jiffy Lube Vienna now stands, devoted years researching the history of Vienna and the surrounding area. Connie and Mayo raised a family in Vienna and, together, documented the stories and histories of the families that laid the foundation for the Vienna of today. Their labor of love, “This Was Vienna, Virginia” was published in 1987. Connie and Mayo collected histories from deeds, from public records, while Connie wrote the opus. On Aug. 7, Connie Stuntz – a vibrant and enthusiastic almost-93-year-old, sat behind a desk at the Freeman Store and signed copies of “This Was Vienna, Virginia.” Hickory Grove, a Vienna bluegrass band, played outdoors in the heat throughout the afternoon.
“I suppose the most gratifying part was doing the research at Fairfax County courthouse,” said Stuntz. “Not just gratifying but eye-opening.
“We used the big, old deed books. It was wonderful and exciting to see the old-time handwriting and the names … the Hunters, Broadwaters …It was fun and new to me, just to tie in all the families, seven or eight big names.”
Mayo Stuntz died on May 9, 2013, leaving behind a colorful and patriotic past. Connie Stuntz has continued to hold the mantle of the Stuntz family, researching history for the book she is working on herself on her own, “This Was Falls Church.”
“Those years [growing up in Falls Church] I loved,” said Stuntz. “It was a pretty little town, very friendly.”
Connie Stuntz watched Vienna grow up from a little country-ish town to a busier D.C. suburb. She volunteered at the Vienna library when it was the small wood structure at the corner of Center and Maple, where the modern, brick Patrick Henry Library stands today.
Connie and Mayo Stuntz’s daughter, Anne Stuntz, is president of Historic Vienna, Inc. and is one of Vienna’s prominent citizens.
Connie Stuntz was hard-pressed to think of things that make Vienna better today than it was decades ago. Maybe, the big library, hospitals closer by, but no specific stand-outs in Vienna itself.
“The old times seem pretty-good to me,” said Stuntz. “It was calmer, a small-town atmosphere where everyone knew everyone.”
“This Was Vienna, Virginia” is sold at Freeman Store on Church Street. The softcover edition sells for $45 and the hardcover edition sells for $65. Photographs are abundant throughout the book.