A Blast from the Past

IF you have a picture from our HCDP past to share, please send as jpg or png attachment to:  pxwd.david@gmail.com

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HCDP Chairs.  1928-2021:

  • W. “Wit” Ewbank 1928-29
  • Monroe M. Redden, Sr. 1930-45
  • Benjamin “Ben” Prince 1946-49
  • Monroe M. Redden, Jr. 1950-51
  • Robert “Bob” L. Whitmire, Jr. 1952-1955
  • Arthur Redden 1956-63
  • Judge O. B. Crowell 1964-67
  • Robert “Bob” Livingston 1968-71
  • Harley Stepp 1972-75
  • Edwin “Ed” Groce 1976-77
  • Samuel “Sam” Neill 1978-81
  • Boyd “Buddy” Massagee, Jr. 1982-83
  • Mae Alexander 1984-87
  • Wick Haynes 1988
  • James “Jim” Toms 1989-93
  • Kathleen Carland 1994-95
  • Jonathan “Jon” Parce 1996-97
  • Bill Stepp 1998-2000
  • Paul Donahue 2001-04
  • Eva Ritchie 2005-06
  • Doug Freeman 2007-10
  • Rich Brinegar 2011
  • Shelly Kingsley 2011-12
  • Donald Reid 2013
  • Blair Jenkins 2013
  • Clay Eddleman 2013-15
  • Mark Case 2015-19
  • Kathleen Gould 2019-21
  • Cindy Ellis 2021 –

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    Paul M. Donahue, a 21-year resident of Henderson County passed away August 21, 2020.  Paul Donahue was born in Detroit, Michigan and even at a young age was interested in politics. As a teenager, he was already working for the local Democratic Party; mostly running errands but learning a craft that would become a life-long passion. By his early 20s, Paul had become a leader in the Democratic Party, raising money, organizing, running campaigns, and generally running Democratic operations in a good portion of Detroit.

    By 1968, Paul was not only well known in Michigan but in Washington circles, as well. Vice-President Hubert Humphrey tapped Paul to work on his Presidential campaign. Paul was recognized by the Governor of Michigan for his work and was also elected as an Elector from the State of Michigan. Humphrey tapped Paul to be his Michigan Campaign Manager in 1972 in Humphrey’s unsuccessful try for the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee. Paul was also a delegate to the DNC national conventions in both ’68 and ’72.

    During the ’68 Humphrey campaign, Paul also worked to get a Democrat from Detroit re-elected to the U.S. House and was willingly dragged off to Washington to be the congressman’s administrative assistant. Paul split his time working in D.C. and Detroit for well over a decade. When he “retired” from politics in the mid 90’s, Paul moved permanently back to Michigan.

    In 1999, Paul, and his wife Sylvia, decided it was time to move south to enjoy the warmer climate of western North Carolina. At the time, the Henderson County Democratic Party was in disarray with some gaps in leadership and depleted finances.  Paul, the consummate and experienced former political professional felt obligated to step in and to help. Paul worked vigorously to reenergize, modernize, and reestablish the Henderson County Democratic Party.

    Paul was elected Chairman of the Party in 2001 and was able to organize every precinct in the county and instituted party dues to raise significant funds. Paul reintroduced a periodic newsletter, the Teen Democrats and Young Democrats clubs, and started the Dem Men’s club. Paul, with the help of the Democratic Women’s organization, opened a full time Headquarters in Hendersonville in 2002.  Democratic political activity rebounded dramatically. Paul’s tenure as Chair ended in early 2005 with the Party organized and debt free. Later that year, Paul received the well-deserved “Mountain Democrat of the Year” award from the 11th Congressional District of Western North Carolina.

    For many years, Paul remained active in the Henderson County Democratic Party and was frequently sought out for his opinion, wisdom, and wit. He would even headline Democratic fundraising functions and regale the crowds with humorous stories.

    Paul had a political story for any and all occasions; all you had to do was ask and, in some cases, you need not ask at all. Over the past few years, even as he backed out of the political spotlight, his smile and laugh remained infectious. The Henderson County Democratic Party will all greatly miss him.
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