WEST VIRGINIA (WTRF) – West Virginia is all about family. Not only did Mother’s Day and Father’s Day originate in the Mountain State, the initiative to make a Grandparents Day was also led by a woman from West Virginia.
Observed on the first Sunday after Labor Day, Grandparents Day was founded by Marian McQuade, a West Virginia native who worked for the West Virginia Commission on Aging and the Nursing Home Licensing Board.
The first nationwide observance of Grandparents Day was in 1979.
McQuade, of Oak Hill, was the mother of 15 children. She began advocating for the elderly in the 1950s.
She met with three different presidents in order to set aside a day for grandparents, Eisenhower, Nixon, and Ford.
It was Governor Arch Moore who first proclaimed West Virginia’s first observance of Grandparents Day in 1973. That same year, Senator Jennings Randolph also introduced the U.S. Senate resolution for a national observance.
President Jimmy Carter signed the law in September 1978, designating the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day.
McQuade was a Republican activist who ran for both legislature and Congress. She was elected vice-chairman of the West Virginia Committee of Aging in 1971 and was appointed as a delegate to the White House Conference on Aging by Gov. Moore.