Better Days 2020 — Virginia Dickert

Virginia Dickert

Virginia Dee Rasmussen’s family were some of the earlier settlers of the Salina area. Her grandfather Neils C. Rasmussen was among a small group of scouts sent in October 1861 to find a desirable settlement for Mormon Pioneers. In February 1862 he helped lead the first pioneers to the settlement, which was later called Salina.

Virginia graduated from North Sevier High School in 1938, and married James Ray Dickert in 1939. He was stationed in Salina in the Civilian Conservation Corps when they met. He later became a pilot in World War II and the Korean War flying bomber missions. He retired as Major Dickert in 1960. While he served in World War II, Virginia was a volunteer Grey Lady at the hospital in Roswell, New Mexico.

After James’s retirement they returned to Salina and went into business opening and operating a coal mine and later the Midway Diesel Truck repair facility.

Unfortunately, they were never able to have children. Virginia continued to keep herself busy with volunteering and working through James career.

When her husband passed away in 1980, she put her intelligence, remarkable energy and experience into volunteering projects relative to the quality of life in her hometown. 

Interested in improving the environment and preserving the ecology, she spearheaded a drive to assure the preferable sitting of the road to the relocated town refuse-collection point. She oversaw and was deeply involved in collecting monies and placing of modern street signs.

Virginia worked hard on numerous projects. She was instrumental in having the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) Sign placed at the original CCC site in Salina, the CCC commemorative show case that is hanging in the Fishlake National Forest’s offices, the historical picture showcase at Salina City Hall, Zions Bank and the first doctors of Salina Showcase at the IHC Salina Medical Clinic. 

She had the entrance gates donated and painted at the Salina East Side Cemetery, the urns placed at the cemetery, the flags on Memorial Day at all service people’s graves both Eastside Cemetery and Pioneer Cemetery and initiated and carried out collection of donations for purchasing, planting and care of evergreen trees, then flowering pear trees, at the Eastside Cemetery. 

A bench and planters at the Eastside Cemetery, she purchased by herself and had placed a cement wall on the far east side of the cemetery. She spearheaded an improvement to the entrance of the Pioneer Cemetery and was involved in the early stages of preservation of the Presbyterian church. She donated pictures and Salina History which was gathered over the years and shared with numerous individuals. Her historical contributions of DVD’s were unbelievable, with “Salina on Parade” and her family history of the Louis and Olena Larsen family. 

She placed as title on her family DVD that stated, “Memories are your Roses in December.”

She was the driving force with a few others making the CCC oral presentation DVD and the Historical Salina DVD. Historical preservation was important to Virginia and she never gave up, and always completed every project that she started. Virginia was extremely generous with her historical pictures and donations to BYU.

Virginia was an avid amateur historian, through her, research becoming almost a walking encyclopedia of the “olden days” and the “not so olden days” in Salina. She believed in preserving and passing information to the younger generations who might otherwise be unaware of their past. 

She believed that we must know where we came from, in order to know who we are and where we are going.

Dickert passed away in 2019.

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