Virginia Rishel, Salt Lake City native, who lived in Washing, D.C. for five decades, and worked for a Congressional staff professional and political writer, died there of a heart attack February 10, 1991. She was 84.
Virginia was the only child of W.D. "Bill" and Mildred Shelmerdine Rishel. She studied journalism at the University of Utah and Columbia University.In 1936, she went to Washington as an assistant to Mrs. James H. Wolfe, who was then head of the Women's Division of the Democratic National Committee. During her years as the committee, Virginia filled executive positions, edited the Democratic Digest, and served on Eleanor Roosevelt's journalism staff. She also wrote for the United Nations.
She became administrative assistant to Congresswoman Reva Beck "Judge" Bosone, who represented the second congressional district of Utah from 1949 through 1952. Virginia then filled a similar position with U.S. Representative Gracie Pfost of Idaho. During the 18 years, 1959-1976, that Frank E. Moss served as U.S. Senator from Utah, Virginia was his principal legislative assistant. An experienced professional, she was an expert at "tracking" legislation, preparing speeches and statements, and researching developing information papers. She was instrumental in assisting him with bills of special importance to Utah, such as those on national parks and water projects, as well as those concerning national issues such as consumer protection; one of these eliminated tobacco advertising from radio and television
For many years she lived in an apartment on Q Street on the edge of Georgetown just off Massachusetts Avenue. She held membership in the Woman's National Democratic Club and the National Press Club. After retirement, Virginia authored a book on her beloved father, who was "sporting editor" of the Salt Lake Herald, and later automobile editor of the Salt Lake Tribune, titled "Wheels to Adventure." The book tells the story of his promotion of bicycle racing and his pioneering efforts to develop an automobile highway system.
In 1982, she received the Emeritus Merit of Honor Award, presented by the University of Utah Alumni Association.
A graveside service will be held at 12 noon on Thursday, February 21st at Mount Olivet Cemetery, 1342 East 500 South.
It was her request that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the W. D. Rishel Memorial Loan Fund, Robert H. Hinckley Institute of Politics, 304 Park Building, University of Utah, SLC Ut. 84112.
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