In Remembrance: Gerri L. Hollins

Vice President CFMNP and Founder Contraband Historical Society

            With a Song in Her Heart

With a song in her heart she was destined to sing,
After years far away back to Hampton did bring,
For the story to tell and to bring it to light,
What her people had done, to make history right.

She had sung in New York. She had sung overseas;
But the call that she heard was much greater than these.
Freedom’s Fortress the place where the movement began,
And soon they did come from all over this land.

In this city she said a museum we must see,
So all people will know just how it’s come to be;
And the youth we must teach so they’ll stand tall and proud,
Honor those from the past; speak their words now out loud.

And when Fort Monroe closed she’d done more than her part
To preserve what we love, and to make it a park.
On a cold day in fall the fireworks we did see.
Monumental the task, but it has come to be.

Still the work is not done. There is much we can do.
That’s what she would have said now to me and to you.
Don’t build over this place where our freedom began.
Let’s unite in our hearts, every woman and man.

With a song in her heart she was destined to sing,
After years far away back to Hampton did bring,
For the story to tell and to bring it to light,
What her people had done, to make history right.

Adrian H. Whitcomb Jr.
Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park

© 2012 Adrian H. Whitcomb Jr.


History advocate Gerri Hollins dies

Hollins founded Contraband Historical Society

By Robert Brauchle,| 757-247-2827

6:23 p.m. EDT, July 20, 2012
HAMPTON — Gerri Hollins, a lifelong singer and educator of Hampton Roads‘ contraband slave history died Thursday evening, according to friends and city officials.
In recent years, Ms. Hollins has been ubiquitous with the Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park, which received the Daily Press Editorial Board’s 2011 Citizen of the Year award this past February.
The group was successful in its efforts to have a national monument designation granted for portions of Fort Monroe.
Slowed physically by a stroke, Ms. Hollins remained active with the Contraband Historical Society, an organization she founded in 1997 aimed at locating descendants of contraband slaves and to spread the message about those slaves’ stories.
“Some people don’t realize the history that’s here,” Ms. Hollins told the Daily Press in February 2004. “Descendants of these contraband slaves created a moral, spiritual and economically viable community for blacks, and the houses that many people live in once belonged to the contraband.”
The contraband story began on May 24, 1861, when three runaway slaves showed up at Fort Monroe seeking sanctuary from their owner, a major with the Confederate Army. They were granted entrance to the fort and held as contraband of war.
Ms. Hollins’ own ancestors were among the thousands of slaves who later sought refuge at the Union fort at Point Comfort.
“Gerri was an amazing person,” Mayor Molly Joseph Ward said. “She was a gifted singer, writer and teacher and our community will always remember her for her steadfast devotion to the history of the contraband slaves. She was the keeper of the flame and the genesis of why we have a national monument at Fort Monroe today.”
Hampton spokeswoman Robin McCormick said the city is drafting a proclamation in Ms. Hollins’ honor.
Hampton History Museum Curator J. Michael Cobb said Ms. Hollins “celebrated the legacy of the contrabands and revered that legacy.”
“She was inclusive, compassionate, forgiving and what she did more than anything else is she opened up the discussion and memory of that time and place without hatred,” Cobb said.
Glenn Oder, Fort Monroe Authority director, said Ms. Hollins was a “vigilant leader in the grass roots efforts to declare Fort Monroe a national monument.”
“We will be forever grateful for her dedication and commitment to preserving the history of the contrabands at Fort Monroe and making certain that their contributions will always be known,” Oder said.
“Her legacy will live on through the Contraband Historical Society and the relationship she helped to establish with Fort Monroe. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family.”
Ms. Hollins was also an accomplished singer and performed in February 2000 with the Virginia Symphony during the group’s “Of Heroes and Human Rights” concert.
She also served as the executive director of the Hampton Apple Tree Club House Inc., an arts program for children.
Arrangements and service information for Ms. Hollins’ had not been received as of late Friday.


HAMPTON – Louise Geraldine “Gerri” Hollins, known professionally as “Gerri L. Hollins” passed on Thursday July 19, 2012.
She was born in Newport News, Va., on May 15, 1947, to Everett L. Hollins Sr., and Essie Lena Hollins, but was raised by her stepfather, Aubrey Perry. She was educated in the Hampton City Schools and was a graduate of the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). Gerri sang professionally and taught for several years at Harlem School of the Arts. She later launched the Hampton Apple Tree Club House (HATCH), a 501 © (3) non-profit and was employed as an adjunct faculty member at Hampton Univeristy. In 1997, she founded the Contraband Historical Society, and most recently served as vice president of Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park.
Her memory will be forever cherished by her brothers, Everett L. Hollins (Doris), of Hampton, Ralph Roberson (Clydene), of Witchita, Kan.,, and Edward “Chip” Hollins (Lisa), of Flushing, N.Y.; sister, (and caregiver) Brenda M. Stokes (Bishop Lewis) also of Hampton; a niece whom she cherished Renee Gregg (Scott); four nephews she adored , Phillip Hollins (Manuela), of Phenix, Ariz., Rahim S. Hollins, of Maple Shades, N.J., Aubrey Shackleford (Pamela), of Fayetteville, N.C., and Fred Shackleford Jr., of Hampton; and a host of family members, students, colleagues and friends.
A celebration of life will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, July 27, at First Baptist Church of Hampton, 229 N. King Street, Hampton. Family and friends will assemble by 9 a.m. at the funeral home for procession to the church.
A viewing will take place on Thursday, July 26, from 3 to 6 p.m. followed by a visitation from 6 to 7 p.m. at the funeral home.
Arrangements by Smith Brothers Funeral Home, 545 E. Mercury Blvd, Hampton, 757-723-4117. View and post condolences on our online guestbook at
Published in Daily Press from July 25 to July 26, 2012


Oh, freedom !
Gerri Hollins used her voice to preserve history
By Denise Watson Batts
The Virginian-Pilot
HAMPTON It was fitting that the funeral for Gerri Hollins would begin with an old Negro spiritual:
“Oh, freedom, Oh, freedom, Oh freedom over me.” Hollins, who died July 19, was known as much for her melodic voice as her dedication to preserving history. In 1997, Hollins founded the Contraband Historical Society in Hampton, which promotes the contributions of the slaves who fled to Union forces at Fort Monroe during the Civil War. She was proud to be a descendant of some of the refugees. Hollins, 65, also worked with the grassroots group Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park, which was instrumental in helping the site receive its designation as a national monument. “Gerri has probably already summoned all the saints together to give them their first lesson on the contrabands,” said friend Mary Christian during Friday’s service.
The funeral, at First Baptist Church of Hampton, was infused with all that Hollins loved – family, God and music, which spanned from jazzy, brass-layered gospel to angelic hymns.
Hollins was born May 15, 1947, in Newport News and earned several music scholarships, including ones from the University of Michigan and the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore.
She taught at The Harlem School of the Arts and returned home in the 1990s, launching the Hampton Apple Tree Club House, a nonprofit designed to teach academics through the arts.
Friends described Hollins as a bridge builder, actor , teacher and activist.
Bill Wiggins, historian of the contraband group, said he often would get a call from Hollins, saying, “ ‘You’re speaking today at … .’ And I’d say, ‘I am?’
“Then she’d tell me the where and what,” he continued as the audience laughed. “And then she’d often do just as much speaking as I did.”
Friends shared clips of Hollins singing and the plays she created, and then, of course, her talking about the slaves who were determined to free themselves.
The minister ended the service by saying that Hollins would want them to celebrate; she’s resting in a well-earned spot, he said.
Then the band began to play; the choir stood and began to sing:
“Oh, when the saints, go marching in, oh, when the saints go marching in …”
Denise Watson Batts,


Everett Hollins, left, brother of Gerri Hollins, and Patricia Travis embrace after performing “I Want Jesus to Walk With Me” during the funeral in Hampton.


Local History Presented In Show

February 25, 2005|By DAVID NICHOLSON, | 247-4794

HAMPTON — The history of Hampton’s contraband slaves is told in “Prelude to Freedom,” onstage this weekend at Thomas Nelson Community College.
Singer Gerri Hollins didn’t know at first what caused her to leave New York in 1991 and return to her native Hampton. But as she surveyed the downtown Hampton neighborhood where she grew up, she felt that an important part of her city’s history was being overlooked.
FOR THE RECORD – Published correction ran Saturday, February 26, 2005.
A story in Friday’s Ticket section incorrectly referred to the York River Symphony Orchestra as the York County Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra will perform in the “Prelude to Freedom” folk opera, which has performances at 8 tonight and 2 p.m. Sunday in the Dr. Mary T. Christian Auditorium, Thomas Nelson Community College, Hampton. Call 727-9708 for tickets. (Text corrected.)
“Prelude to Freedom,” a folk opera about the contraband slave movement in Hampton, is a partial answer to her search. Hollins wrote the music and lyrics, and she’ll direct a workshop production onstage this weekend at Thomas Nelson Community College.
The musical covers the dramatic events that began the Civil War in 1861, from the firing on Fort Sumter in April of that year in Charleston, S.C., to the fire set by Confederate sympathizers that destroyed Hampton in August. It also covers the establishment of the Grand Contraband Camp, a section of downtown Hampton inhabited by runaway slaves who eventually were set free.
When Virginia and other Confederate states seceded from the Union, says Hollins, the Union North declared that runaway slaves would be considered “contraband of war” and could be freed. Major General Benjamin Butler, who commanded Fort Monroe, used this strategy on slaves who fled to his fort for protection. So many slaves sought protection at Fort Monroe that the post was known as Freedom Fort, she says.
Hollins grew up in her grandparents’ house on Grant Street, located in the same area as the original slave camp that eventually became a thriving retail area for blacks in Hampton.
She listened to her grandfather tell stories of their family’s history while sitting with him in the front porch slider. She later researched the period at the fort’s Casemate Museum and other places. Part of the cost of the project came from a $30,000 grant she obtained from the city.
Over the years she wrote 23 songs for the opera, not all of which have been included in this workshop production. One of the songs, “What Will Be Virginia’s Choice?” contains these lyrics:
“What will be Virginia’s choice? If we fight, we will be her voice.
All we need is a few brave men. Sign up now, let the war begin.”
The cast of characters includes famous figures such as Robert E. Lee, William Armistead and Harriet Tubman. In addition to directing the production, Hollins appears in the role of Emma Lee Brooks, her great-great-grandmother.
Former Metropolitan Opera star George Shirley will narrate the production on Saturday and Sunday. Shirley now directs the vocal arts program at the University of Michigan, where Hollins studied. Virginia Delegate Mary T. Christian will narrate tonight’s performance. Bruce Malone Jr., a conductor and arranger stationed at the Armed Forces School of Music in Norfolk, will conduct the orchestra, made up of musicians from the York River Symphony Orchestra.
Hollins hopes her folk opera will educate young people about the city’s history.
“There are not enough people who are educated to this history,” she says. “It’s about saving a portion of this community to remember the slaves who built this place.” *
Performances of the folk opera, “Prelude to Freedom: The Contraband Slaves Story,” will take place at 8 tonight and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in the Dr. Mary T. Christian Auditorium, Thomas Nelson Community College, Hampton. Tickets — priced at $25 adults, $15 seniors, $10 students — are available at the door or by calling 727-9708. *


Our dear friend and CFMNP board member Dorothy Rouse-Bottom









                          To Dorothy 

With the heart of a poet and a journalist’s mind,

You did search for the meaning in so much you did find.

There was no hesitation when the truth was involved.

We must tell how we got here, just how all things evolved.



There were stories quite common. There were stories quite rare.

It was your mission in life that these stories we’d share.

Of those who came from afar and those already there.

Pass them on to the future with the words that we care.


For the Kecoughtan natives, whose demise we must face,

And the Bay’s lasting beauty we must never erase,

We must keep Old Point Comfort a reminder to be

Of so many old stories and that all should be free.


But for us much too early we expressed our goodbyes,

And we heard at your parting of a sign in the skies.

We must live out your purpose, more than just memory.

We must all tell those stories just like our Dorothy.


                          – Adrian H. Whitcomb Jr.

Fellow Board Member, Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park


                          © 2012 Adrian H. Whitcomb Jr.



Daily Press Editorial

Those who knew her – loved her. Those who knew of her – revered her.

Dorothy Rouse-Bottom, a former editor and owner of The Daily Press Inc., and a longtime resident of Hampton, died at home on Wednesday, Oct. 12. She was 83.

Ms. Rouse-Bottom was a passionate woman. A staunch defender of the First Amendment and an unyielding defender of the positive role that newspapers play in shaping the social and political fabric of the communities they serve, she displayed a grace and charm that reached the souls of those she touched.

Born into privilege, Ms. Rouse-Bottom was as unassuming as she was driven to make the world, and her beloved home of Hampton, a better place.

Her first job out of college, in 1949, defined her lifelong quest: rather than go right into the family business, she took a position as a social worker in East Harlem, New York.

As joint owners, with the Van Buren family, of the Daily Press, Ms. Rouse-Bottom’s family asked her to join the company as assistant editor, and she obliged in 1977. The rest is history. In 1983 Ms. Rouse-Bottom took over the reins as editor of the editorial page of this newspaper, a position she held until the two families sold the business to Tribune Company in 1986.

When the company changed hands, Ms. Rouse-Bottom wrote, “For no privilege is greater than that of giving voice to one’s community. Of the many functions a newspaper fills, its most enduring is [serving] as the communities’ voice and memory … The newspaper is the forum where citizens speak out for social changes that can create a more just society.”

Scholarly and cultured yet disarmingly charismatic, Ms. Rouse-Bottom had a knack for leveling the playing field . Many remember her policy for interviewing political candidates seeking the newspaper’s endorsement. She would ask each participant, regardless of office held or power wielded, to chat with her on her office balcony during the heat of summer — while donning a straw hat — to offer protection from the sun’s rays reflecting off the James River.

“It was, in her mind the great equalizer, and a humbling reminder to each candidate, regardless of their status, that fairness was first and foremost on her agenda,” remembers long-time Daily Press Community Relations Director Melissa Trevallion Hespenhide. “She was a very rare and unique individual with an abiding passion and respect for local history.”

True to herself, one of her last writings in the Daily Press focused on Hampton’s historical origins. She authored a column commemorating the city’s 400th anniversary. Her piece described the horrible massacre of the Indians at Kikotan, a fact of history that is often ignored. But Ms. Rouse-Bottom believed history often foretold the future. She believed the pathway to redemption was first paved by embracing the truth.

Here is one excerpt from that column: “Since July 9, 1610, the full moon has risen over Hampton Roads thousands of times, offering its watchers glimpses of transformative radiance … In so privileged a setting, Hampton has a better-than-fighting chance to become a redemptive society. Quite possibly this place has already begun to do so.”

Ernie Gates, former Daily Press vice president and editor, quite eloquently captured the remembrance of Ms. Rouse-Bottom when delivering her eulogy.

“That word ‘radiance’ stops me. It so well describes Dorothy’s own energy and enthusiasm and generosity of spirit. Her exuberance just radiated — filled the room.

The Daily Press was much more than the family business to her; it was a community institution, a responsibility. It was a sad day for Dorothy when she and her family and the Van Buren family sold the paper 25 years ago. She was wistful that day, and a little lost. She said to me, ‘A newspaper is something real — it’s durable. Money is like ice cream — it just melts away.’ ”

The spirit and soul of Dorothy Rouse-Bottom will never melt away. It lingers in the hearts and minds of the many that knew her.

Obituary: Rouse-Bottom, 83, former owner, editor of Daily Press

Dorothy Rouse-Bottom, a former editor and owner of the Daily Press Inc. who was passionate about the newspaper’s role in the community and the history of the city of Hampton where she lived, died at home Wednesday, Oct. 12, at age 83.

Her parents, Dorothy Rouse Bottom and Maj. Raymond B. Bottom, were owners and officers in the Daily Press Inc. In 1977, she was asked to become assistant editor for the Daily Press. In 1983, two years after her mother retired from the company, Mrs. Rouse-Bottom was elected editor of the editorial page. She served in that capacity and on the board of directors until the company was sold to the Tribune Corp. in 1986.

Mrs. Rouse-Bottom was keenly interested in the editorial page and the Sunday commentary section. When the company was sold, she wrote, “For no privilege is greater than that of giving voice to one’s community. Of the many functions a newspaper fills, its most enduring is as the community’s voice and memory…The newspaper is the forum where citizens speak out for social changes that can create a more just society.”

She also promoted the region’s history, especially Hampton, and worked on many fronts to preserve its heritage.

“She was one of the citizen visionaries that saw the place for the Hampton History Museum,” said museum curator Mike Cobb. “She had an unsurpassed knowledge and love of Hampton history, and she wanted Hampton to have a first-class facility to tell that story.”

Before the museum opened in 2003, Mrs. Rouse-Bottom funded a lecture series to get people interested in the facility. When it opened, she provided money to acquire numerous artifacts and to present conferences for the city’s 400th anniversary, said Cobb. The museum’s Great Hall where lectures are presented is named for her.

“She did everything with a style and a grace that I’ll never forget,” said Cobb.

Hampton Mayor Molly Ward remembers Mrs. Rouse-Bottom as both a family friend and an advocate of the community.

“Dorothy was a gracious, brilliant, funny and warm human being,” said Ward. “She was that rare scholar who lit up every room she ever walked into. We are grateful for her ardent advocacy for our community and Fort Monroe. We will miss her deeply.”

Mrs, Bottom’s interest in history also extended to The Mariners’ Museum.

“She was a real book enthusiast and was very engaged in the library there,” said John Hightower, the museum’s former director. “She was one of those magical beings who was so enthusiastic about whomever she was working with.”

Will Molineux, a former Daily Press editor, worked with her on other projects, including the Port Hampton History Foundation and its publishing arm, Port Hampton Press.

“Dorothy Rouse-Bottom made sure that Hampton’s prominent place in Virginia’s colonial maritime history was unearthed, researched and recorded so that it can be treasured always as a public inheritance,” said Molineux.

Apart from history, Mrs. Rouse-Bottom had far-ranging interests that included gardening, sailing, raising championship dogs, working to preserve the Chesapeake Bay, and attending arts events. She served on numerous boards including Christopher Newport University, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, Virginia Opera and Virginia Symphony, and she was a strong advocate of Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park.

Mary Sherwood Holt and Mrs. Rouse-Bottom were classmates through the fourth grade at the Indian River Park Elementary School in Hampton. Later, the two worked together on the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

“She was so full of life and gave so much of herself,” said Holt. “It was her energy and her determination that things were going to be right in this world.”

Mrs. Rouse-Bottom attended high school at St. Anne’s School in Charlottesville and graduated from Sweet Briar College in 1949. Later she earned a master’s degree in 16th century English history fromColumbia University.

While working in New York City, she met her first husband, Langdon Gilkey, a religion professor, and they had one son, Mark Whitney Gilkey. Later she married John Duffy, an Emmy-winning composer and founder of Meet the Composer. Mrs. Rouse-Bottom wrote the lyrics for “Fanfare for Shipbuilders” and “Pride of Virginia,” two works composed by Duffy for the centennial celebration of then-Newport News Shipbuilding. The pair divorced but remained close friends.

During her years in New York, she worked as a book editor at different publishing houses. Eventually, she returned to Hampton to live and work at the Daily Press.

“When she came back here to live, I still felt like we were best friends,” said Holt. “I’m going to miss her.”

A memorial service will take place at 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 17, at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Hampton. R. Hayden Smith Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.,0,538247.story

HAMPTON – On Oct. 12, 2011, longtime Hampton native and resident, Dorothy Rouse-Bottom passed away peacefully at her home.
Born to the late Dorothy Rouse Bottom and Major Raymond B. Bottom, she was the second of three children. Dorothy attended primary school at the Indian River Park Elementary School and junior high at George Wythe. She attended high school at St. Anne’s School in Charlottesville, Va., and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree from Sweet Briar College in 1949. That summer while serving the children of East Harlem, N.Y., as a social worker, she met her husband to be, Langdon B. Gilkey, who served as a teaching assistant at Union Theological Seminary, where Dorothy was taking classes. They were married shortly thereafter in Newport News, Va., and moved to Poughkeepsie, N.Y., where Dr. Gilkey was a professor at Vassar. The couple then moved to Nashville, Tenn., where their only son, Mark Whitney was born. The family temporarily relocated to MUnich Germany in 1961 when Dr. Gilkey received a Guggenheim to study at TUbingen University. After that Dorothy and her son moved to New York City, to be with her sister, Barbara, and her children. As a free lance book editor for Charles Scribner and Sons, and then later as staff editor at Harcourt, Brace and Jovanovich, where Dorothy edited dozens of books, primarily focused on religion. In 1977 she was asked to become Assistant Editor for the Daily Press, Inc., commuting between New York and Hampton while earning a Master’s Degree from Columbia University in 16th-century English history. She became Editor of the Editorial Page in 1983, and served on the Daily Press, Inc. Board of Directors, until the paper, and cable companies were sold to the Tribune in 1986. During that time Dorothy and her husband, John Duffy, a noted musician and composer, purchased and restored two turn of the century homes in Hampton. After the sale of the family business, Dorothy put her energies into her love of community and history. She served on the Boards of many organizations devoted to preserving the unique history, culture, and environment of Hampton Roads, some of which include the Mariners’ Museum, Christopher Newport University, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Hampton History Museum, the Rouse Bottom Foundation, the Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, the Virginia Opera and the Virginia Symphony. Dorothy was a tireless advocate of Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park. To commemorate Hampton’s origins, Dorothy organized two conferences to mark the 400th anniversaries of the construction of Fort Algernoune at Old Point Comfort and the sacking of the Kecoughtan village. Forever a lover of books, Dorothy was an avid collector of early Virginiana, most of which has been donated to CNU. As founder of Port Hampton Press, Dorothy published several noted local histories. At home, among her many passions were showing Portuguese Water Dogs of which she had 3 national champions, sailing small sloops, gardening in her rose garden, and sharing the natural beauty of Tidewater Virginia.
In addition to her first husband, Dr. Langdon Gilkey, Dorothy was preceded in death by her parents, Major Raymond B. Bottom, former President and Publisher of the Daily Press newspapers, (1931-1953) and Dorothy E. Bottom, former Editor and Vice President of the Daily Press, (1954-1977); a sister, Barbara A. Forst, former Assistant Business Manager of the Daily Press, (1979-1986).
She is survived by her cherished son, Mark Whitney Gilkey of San Francisco, Calif., his wife, Laura, and their daughter, Sofia; her former husband, John Duffy; her stepdaughter, Maura Duffy of Taranta, Italy, and her son, Antonio Bergamini of Miami; her brother, Col. Raymond B. Bottom Jr., of Hampton; nephew, Matthew Forst of Brooklyn, N.Y.; niece, Fernande Sommers of Clyde, N.C., and her son, Shanti Sommers of Seattle; nephew, Jesse Forst of Manhattan, his wife, Claudia, and their sons, Vincent and Nicholas; cousins, Davis and Earl Bottom, Virginia Hazel Beninghove all of Richmond, Va.; Marge Raney and Pat Delany of Charlottesville; other cousins include Martha Bradshaw of Williamsburg; Billy Rouse of Northern Neck; Randy Rouse of Fairfax, Va.
A memorial service is scheduled on Oct. 17, at 11 a.m. at St. John’s Church, Hampton.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the Daily Press Holiday Fund 2011. Contact the Daily Press at 757-247-4600 or visit,0,1757740.htmlstory.
Arrangements are under the care of R. Hayden Smith Funeral Home at 245 South Armistead, Hampton, Va. View and post condolences on our online guestbook at


When H. O. Malone, the first president of CFMNP, died in 2008, some remarks about his crucial role in our organization were read at his funeral, but we never created an official resolution honoring his achievements–mostly because his death put us in such a tailspin. When we learned that his wife Monika, who has been serving on the Board of CFMNP, was moving, we decided to create a belated resolution as a parting gesture of appreciation to both of the Malones, and as a way of remembering H. O. Malone for ourselves. Our current president, Mark Perreault, read the resolution below to the guests at a recent going-away party for Monika that was given by one of her neighbors.


Resolution of




WHEREAS, Dr. H. O. Malone was one of the founders of Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park, a nonprofit organization formed in 2006 dedicated to the preservation of the historical and natural resources of Fort Monroe following its closure as an active U.S. Army installation; and 

WHEREAS, his fellow board members unanimously elected him CFMNP’s first president; and 

WHEREAS, in the role of president he set CFMNP’s course toward the goal of a Fort Monroe National Park and maintained this course despite formidable obstacles; and 

WHEREAS, he used his professional expertise and extensive knowledge as a former Chief Historian for the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Monroe to promote this goal; and 

WHEREAS, he inspired his fellow board members with his unwavering determination and unfailing courtesy; and 

WHEREAS, he tirelessly lobbied the National Park Service, the Virginia General Assembly, Governor Timothy Kaine, Senators George Allen and Mark Warner and the rest of the Virginia Congressional delegation, as well as local governmental officials; and 

WHEREAS, by his passionate and unceasing advocacy, he persuaded the Kaine administration to include a mandate for a National Park Service reconnaissance study in the Fort Monroe Federal Area Development Authority bill and wrote the language for the mandate himself; and 

WHEREAS, this mandate was the first crucial step in the creation of Fort Monroe National Monument, which is his monument; and 

WHEREAS, he literally passed away in the service of the cause to which he gave his final years; now, therefore, be it 

RESOLVED, that the Board of Directors of Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park expresses its profound respect and eternal gratitude to Dr. Malone for his leadership, dedication, tenacity, enormous effort, and personal sacrifice, without which there would be no Fort Monroe National Monument; and, be it further 

RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be presented to Mrs. Monika Malone, his loving and devoted wife, who was a strong and essential partner in Dr. Malone’s success. 

August 18, 2012

Dr. H. O. Malone 





In early 2006, H. O. Malone convened a gathering that led to the formation of Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park. He served as CFMNP’s first president until he died suddenly on Monday, October 27, 2008 — yet another of countless days marked by the calmly passionate resolve of his work for the future of post-Army Fort Monroe.The circumstances of our loss — and Fort Monroe’s loss, and the loss of all who treasure Fort Monroe — are reported in the brief Virginian-Pilot article that appears below. Fort Monroe advocate dies while waiting to cast ballot
by Kate Wiltrout, Virginian-Pilot

The leader of a citizens group seeking to turn Fort Monroe into a national park died Monday of an apparent heart attack.

Henry O. Malone, 74, helped found Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park in 2006, and was its president.

Known to many as “H.O.,” Malone was a dogged, deep-voiced advocate for the historic post. He spent 14 years there as chief historian of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command.

In 2005, the government said it would close the base. Concerned about development on the 570-acre waterfront property, Malone buttonholed politicians. He wrote letters, organized meetings and united a diverse group of people.

“H.O. was the spark plug that brought us together, and he had total dedication to the best interests of the future of Fort Monroe,” said Louis Guy, president of the Norfolk Historical Society and secretary of the citizens group.

Mark Perreault, a board member, said Malone was undeterred by setbacks: “He just dusted himself off, got up and kept going straight ahead. He was an inspiration to us all.”

A longtime Hampton resident, Malone was an Air Force pilot before earning a doctorate in history.

Friends said Malone collapsed while in line to cast an absentee ballot at the Hampton registrar’s office. They said he had  planned to spend Election Day outside polling places, getting signatures on a Fort Monroe petition.

” He died, in a way, working to preserve Fort Monroe,” said Charles H. Cureton, who worked for Malone at Training and Doctrine Command.

To H. O. Malone –
A Man with Vision and PassionYes, there are those with vision
And a passion then to build
A bridge from proud tradition
To a dream to be fulfilled.
They give all they’ve been blessed with
For a cause that must be won.
Generations know the gift
Of the many things they’ve done.
We may not recognize them
Until they have left the scene,
The good they leave behind them
Overlooked in life’s routine.
A man’s not fully measured
‘Til the counting of his days.
We know now that we treasured
Your soft-spoken, humble ways.
The causes that you lived for
Will live on in each of us.
Soldiers and the governor
Know of your assertiveness.
We friends are now much sadder
As we say goodbye today.
The world will be much better
Because you have come this way.


Adrian H. Whitcomb Jr.
Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park
© 2008 Adrian H. Whitcomb Jr.