In 1970, Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade (1917-2008,) a Fayette County, West Virginia housewife came up with the idea for an annual Grandparent’s Day. Her passion and dedication got her the support of local businesses, civic groups, churches, and even politicians, especially West Virginia Senator Jennings Randolph (D-WVA,) and the idea and crusade to establish it, spread quickly until it became a statewide campaign.
In 1973, West Virginia Governor Arch Moore issued a proclamation announcing the first observance of Grandparent’s Day. That same year, Senator Randolph introduced a resolution in the U.S. Senate that would establish Grandparent’s Day as an official national observance. When nothing happened to the resolution and it languished in the Senate, Mrs. McQuade and her team took their cause to the media.
Her hard work and perseverance paid off because in 1978, five years after West Virginia established an official observance in the state, the bill that Senator Randolph had introduced after West Virginia’s decision, finally passed in the United States Congress.
That bill established a National Grandparent’s Day that would be observed on the Sunday after Labor Day. The reason that September was chosen as the month to observe Grandparent’s Day is because fall begins in September and having the observance during that season would coincide with what many seniors think of as the “Autumn Years of Life.” This year, National Grandparent’s Day is observed on Sunday, September 13.
A Few Facts about Marian McQuade, Founder of National Grandparent’s Day
Mrs. McQuade was a native of Fayette County West Virginia. She and her husband had a long marriage that produced 15 children, 40 or 43 grandchildren (depending on the source you believe,) and 8 or 10 grandchildren. Her husband died in 2001 and she died in 2008 at the age of 91.
Three Purposes of Grandparent’s Day
Mrs. McQuade felt that there were three important purposes in establishing a National Grandparent’s Day.
- An official Grandparent’s Day would allow grandparents to spend time with their grandkids and show them how much they love them.
- As the mother of 15 children and the grandmother of 40 or 43, Mrs. McQuade clearly understood the importance of teaching children to become more aware of the guidance, knowledge, and strength they could draw on from older people like grandparents.
- She wanted to establish a day on which to honor grandparents because she understood that elderly people who were confined to nursing homes were often very isolated.
Send or deliver “Grandmother’s Garden” to your grandmother in person. This garden consists of green and flowering plants that are artfully arranged in a lined wicker basket. Grandmother can enjoy the green plants indoors as she thinks about you, and she can transplant the flowering plants outside if she feels like doing so.
Let Gordon Boswell help you pick the perfect flowers for your grandmother or grandfather this Grandparent’s Day.