William C. "Bill" Miller, Past District 3 Director.
Kathleen "DeeDee" Sass Miller
Art Noble conducts business meeting at Washington DC gathering.
1981 Ron Roskamp and Joy Campbell were voted in as the King and Queen. Teen Queen Ginny Brown and Teen King Charlie Elder.
The History of District 3 of LPA
Little People of America, LPA, was founded in Reno, Nevada, in 1957, where 20 individuals responded to Billy Barty’s invitation to gather and discuss the formation of an organization to address issues facing people with short stature. Among that group were Dan Turner, who lived in North Carolina and Robert Hinkson who lived in Washington D.C. Dan was elected Vice President of the new organization and Robert Hinkson was the Treasurer. Launa Shelton, who married Dan Turner in 1966, and then moved to North Carolina, was a charter member and the first Secretary of LPA
Dan Turner was elected the second President of LPA in 1960. That year a plan for organizing LPA into fourteen districts was presented by the Founder, Billy Barty.. The states of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Washington, D.C were included in District Three.
In 1961 Robert Hinkson was the host of an Eastern Regional Meeting which was held in Washington D.C. July 21 -23. There was some initial confusion as this meeting was described as an Eastern Convention, but later Robert Hinkson described it as a meeting. Later in 1961 Dan Turner, Robert Hinkson and the Vice President of LPA, Art Noble, incorporated LPA in the State of Indiana.
In 1962 District Three hosted the LPA National Conference in Asheville, North Carolina, November 26 – 30. President Dan Turner was conference Chairman and 80 individuals were in attendance
In the early days of District Three most meetings were held in member’s homes or in local restaurants or parks. The first District Three Regional Meeting was held in Gastonia, N.C. in 1963. Margaret Orr, nee Ollis, a librarian, was appointed the first District Director in 1962 and she served until 1966. In 1963, James Lisles, of District Three was elected Treasurer of LPA.
The first meeting of what became the Tarheel Chapter took place in February of 1966 and the first meeting in the Baltimore-Washington area, later the DelMarVA Chapter, took place in June 1966.
Bob Spector, was elected District Director in 1966 and held a Spring Regional Meeting in Atlantic City Bob Spector, Dee Dee Sass and Charles Eyler were co-Chairs for the 1968 LPA National Conference in Baltimore at the Lord Baltimore Hotel. 252 individuals enjoyed the convention which ran from July 21 –July 26. A tour of the White House and a garden party at the John Hopkins Evergreen House were two of the events planned for attendees. One week prior to the convention Johns Hopkins invited 20 little people with various types of dwarfism to spend a week and go through numerous tests.
Kathleen Dee Dee Sass was elected Secretary of LPA in 1968. Bob Hinkson was elected District Director and served until 1969 when Bill Miller was elected to complete Bob Hinkson’s term of office. Louise Gedde was elected Secretary-Treasurer. John Hopkins Hospital initiated a “Parents Counseling and Training Program”, in 1969, with the participation of families from District 2 and District 3. 1969 also marked the first meeting of what became the Parent’s Auxillary.
The LPA convention returned to Ashville, North Carolina in 1974. Growth in the membership of LPA was reflected in the convention attendance which grew to 389 individuals. Launa Turner, then Vice President of LPA, was Convention Chairperson.
Del Marva Chapter began formal meetings in 1975 and received its charter in July 1976, at the LPA Conference in Miami Beach Florida. Launa Turner was elected Vice Present of LPA in 1976.
During the period from 1966 to the late 1970’s Dr. McKusick and staff from Johns Hopkins attended chapter and Regional meetings to provide medical consultation and pass on information about the many new types of dwarfism that were being identified. The first Short Stature Symposium was held at Johns Hopkins in 1972 and then were held annually through 1979.
Bill and Jerry DiPietro designed and sold the LPA Pennant with the motto “Think Big”. District 3 members were official representatives of LPA at the Annual President”s Committee for Employment of the Handicapped meeting in Washington D.C.
1982 marked the 25th Anniversary of LPA. Early that year, April 25 -30, Joy McKenzie, nee Campbell, coordinated the First International Conference of Little People in Washington DC. 26 International delegates representing Great Britain, Australia, West Germany, El Salvador, Sweden, New Zealand and South Africa met with 154 American delegates. The program included workshops, a tour of the White House, a greeting by President Ronal Reagan, a reception at the State Department and every evening was devoted to dancing.
After the International Conference Ernie Ott, District 3 member, wrote: “Beneath the veneer of relative calm, there rippled a current of subdued excitement; an electricity sparked the air which told the story - we were all a part of something special. The site for the conference, our nation's capitol, played an important role, both in creating an atmosphere of importance and in broadening the impact we had on improving the quality of life for Little People, not only in the U.S., but world-wide.”
In 1983 Robin Zeltner and Daria DePietro of District 3 and Carol McDonald of District 2 spearheaded an effort to include a dwarf puppet as a character in the “Kids on the Block” program. The program, presented at schools nationwide, was focused on raising awareness about disability by featuring puppets who were blind, deaf, mobility limited, and developmentally disabled.
The Carolinian Chapter began organizing in 1987 and received its charter in July 1988 at the LPA Conference in Des Moines, Iowa.
The LPA National Convention in 1989 was hosted by District 3 in Baltimore, Maryland at the Hyatt Regency. Dee Miller and Betty Elder were co-chairs and attendance reached an all-time high of 799.
Colonial Chapter began formal meetings in 1991 and was chartered in July 1992 at the LPA Conference in San Francisco, California.
Tim and Joyce Best proposed the publication of a new Idea Machine booklet. The proposal was endorsed and supported by the Board of Directors and a revised and expanded Idea Machine was published in 1993.
On the national scene District 3 members were elected to the following officies:
James Davis was elected Vice President of Finance and served from 1992 – 1994: and
Joyce Best was elected Sr. Vice President and served from 1994 – 1998: and
Bill McNew, was elected Vice President – Finance and served from 1995 – 1988 and
Jeff Simms was elected Sr. Vice President of LPA and served from 2004 - 2008
In November, 2002 the Ches-Del-Bays Chapter began formal meetings and was chartered in July 2003 at the LPA Conference in Danvers, Massachusetts. The Ches-Del-Bays chapter includes Delaware which had been a part of the Del-Mar-Va Chapter. Subsequently the Del-Mar-Va Chapter was renamed Marvalous and its boundaries now include Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia.
In 2003 the District 3 website was designed by Robyn Watson.
The Blue Ridge Chapter began formal meetings in 2006 and was chartered in July, 2007 at the LPA Conference in Seattle, Washington.
In 2013 the District moved to sending an electronic Newlsetter to members rather than a printed newsletter. This change helped decrease the cost of mailing newsletters and increase awareness on the electronic newlsetter by generate activity reports for the officers to review. Also, 2013 marked the fifth time an LPA National Conference has been held in District 3. The members of District 3 provided volunteer support to the National Planning Committee.
In 2014 a new District 3 website was launched with an updated look and the chapter pages were integrated into the site. 2014 also was marked as the first time online registration was used for a regional event at the Charlottesville, VA regional. Members found this way of submitting their information and the ability to pay for their registration paying by credit card thru PayPal, a great step into the 21st century.
Also, in 2015 the District was approached by Camp Victory Junction to be a part of their camp schedule with a Skeletal Dysplasia family weekend in October. The group that attended had a great time and in 2016 the camp expanded to included Skeletal Dysplasia during their week long camps in the summer, as well as the weekend camp in October.