INSITEVIEW- - tom shugart's weblog

Sunday, October 13, 2002

Thinking of Frank and Beth

Sincerest condolences to Frank and Beth Paynter on the recent loss of Beth’s mother, Helen Vincent. She sounds like a remarkable woman, and Frank writes movingly about her.

When Frank did his interview with me around three months ago, he observed that there are some coincidences and commonalities paralleling his life and mine. Well, here comes another one: our mothers-in-law.

Like Helen Vincent, my mother-in-law, Virginia Selin, was a tireless worker for social justice and a dynamic force in the Democratic Party of her state.

Like Beth’s mom, Ginny revitalized the Democratic Party organization in her county (Marquette, Michigan) after it had been slipping into disarray. It’s been safe Democratic territory ever since. She was a confidante and adviser to the late and great Senator from Michigan, Phil Hart, who was known as the “Conscience of the Senate,” and for whom the most recent Senate Office Building was named.

Fortunately, Ginny is still with us, but knowing what it’s like to have a family member with this magnitude of social impact in her life gives me a special feeling for what Frank and Beth must be missing. It’s not just the loss of a loved one, it’s the disappearance of a force of nature.

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