Grandparents Day, observed on the first Sunday after Labor Day, was founded as a result of the efforts of a West Virginian, Marian Herndon McQuade. The first nationwide observance occurred in 1979.
McQuade, of Oak Hill, the mother of 15, began to advocate for the elderly in the 1950s. She met with President Dwight Eisenhower, and later with Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, in her quest for a day set aside for grandparents. Governor Arch Moore proclaimed West Virginia’s first observance of Grandparents Day in 1973, the same year that Sen. Jennings Randolph introduced the U.S. Senate resolution for a national observance. In September 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed Public Law 96-62 designating the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day.
A Republican activist, McQuade served as sergeant-at-arms for the National Federation of Republican Women and ran for both the legislature and Congress. In 1971, she was elected vice-chairman of the West Virginia Committee on Aging and was appointed as a delegate to the White House Conference on Aging by Governor Moore. McQuade died on September 26, 2008.
This Article was written by Peggy Ross
Last Revised on December 30, 2010