Irene L. Pritchett

Irene L. Pritchett

A tobacco factory worker at P. Lorillard for decades, Irene L. Pritchett had a dream. She believed in a better tomorrow for black children through higher education. This visually handicapped woman worked hard, invested her money wisely, and, through her will, established a scholarship fund which, over the past 25 years, has given $32,850 to 52 local students to help pay for their college education.

Mrs. Pritchett died on Christmas Day, 1981, at the age of 77, but her legacy will live for good, for ever.

The Irene L. Pritchett Scholarship Fund, initially established at First State Bank, was transferred by the bank to The Community Foundation in 2001. The endowment fund provides scholarships for black graduates of Danville and Pittsylvania County high schools and the Children’s Home of Virginia Baptist, Inc.

Mrs. Pritchett and her husband, Eugene, were active in their churches and the community. She taught Sunday School and was a member of the Missionary Circle at Camp Grove Baptist Church. A life member of the NAACP and an active organizer for the Voters League, Mrs. Pritchett marched in civil rights demonstrations and helped many people in the Camp Grove community register to vote. She was arrested in 1963 for her participation in a civil rights march in Danville.

The rock house where she and her husband lived at 337 Bradley Road was built by Eugene Pritchett and brick mason Leander Waddell in the 1940s. Today the house is owned by Camp Grove Baptist Church and, through a partnership with Danville Community College, serves as the Camp Grove Neighborhood Opportunity Center, which offers GED classes, afternoon tutoring for students, and a computer lab.

Mrs. Pritchett invested regularly in Standard Oil, AT&T, Boeing and many other stocks. With no children of her own, she left much of her estate to establish the scholarship fund which bears her name.