Board of Directors
Patte Wood (Executive Director)
Janet Lemmer (President)
Janet and her family first came to Lexington while her husband served on the NROTC staff at VMI. After 3 years, the family moved to 29 Palms, California, but they continued to keep track of Lexington events through friends. When Greg retired from the Marine Corps, they returned to the area. Though considered newcomers to some, they’ve been Rockbridge County residents a total of 26 years. Janet has been involved in nonprofits and school settings for 30 years, either as staff or a volunteer. She looks forward to helping many community organizations in the area as a member of the UWR board.
Paul Robblee (Vice President)
Following graduating from VMI in 1966, Paul entered the Army as an Infantry second lieutenant in the 101st Airborne Division. He was deployed to Vietnam and served as Aide de Camp to the Ass’t. Div. Commander for Operations, platoon leader, battalion logistics officer, and company commander. On returning to the US, Paul entered law school at W&L. After graduation and passing the Virginia bar exam, Paul transferred to the Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps. He also taught law at West Point, served as an appellate judge on the US Army Court of Military Review, and as Staff Judge Advocate of the US Army Japan/IX Corps, and Third US Army. After retiring from military service, Paul worked as the Chief Deputy Clerk, US District Court, Northern District of Georgia and later as a Staff Attorney on the Court of Appeals of Georgia retiring in May 2014. Paul and his wife Joanne returned to Lexington in 2016; they are members of Grace (Episcopal) Church currently enrolled in the four-year Education for Ministry Program.
Lynwood M. Dent, Jr. (Secretary)
A native of Roanoke, Lynn graduated from The College of William and Mary. He married his college sweetheart, Carol, and they moved to Baton Rouge, LA where he received his Ph.D. in American History at Louisiana State University. They then moved to Lexington, KY, where he completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Kentucky. Lynn joined the U.S. Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer, serving both domestically and at overseas postings. He retired as a Senior Officer in 2006, when he and Carol moved to Lexington. For the next eleven years he continued to work part-time for the State Department as the logistics management officer for major international meetings hosted by the President or the Secretary in the U.S. He is a member of Grace Episcopal Church, serving on the Vestry and as Chair of the Mission and Outreach Committee of the Gadsden Trust. He also volunteers at the RARA food pantry, and is a member of the English-Speaking Union in Lexington.
Dale Raymond (Treasurer)
Dale moved to Rockbridge from Richmond in 2003 with his wife, Alysan, joining him in 2005. He earned a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Maine and attended the Executive Program at the Darden School at the University of Virginia. Since moving to Rockbridge, Dale worked as a consultant with Bontex, founded his own home construction business his son, and joined VMI as an adjunct professor in Chemistry starting in 2005, where he currently continues teaching. In 2010, Alysan became the Executive Director and CEO of the Rockbridge Area YMCA with Dale becoming an active volunteer. Alysan has retired from the Y and they are both active at Manley Baptist Church where he currently serves as a Deacon.
Holt Merchant (Past President)
Malcolm grew up in Rockbridge Baths and moved back there in 2007 after 49 years away, most of them as a Presbyterian minister in Kentucky, Indonesia, Georgia, North Carolina, and West Virginia. In retirement, he is a gardener, a consultant in church revitalization and planning, and a volunteer in several community organizations including Rockbridge Area Master Gardeners, Rockbridge Area Community Services Board, Lexington Presbyterian Church, Brownsburg Ruritan Club and Stonewall Jackson House.
A Lexington native, Debbie returned to the area, having spent 36 years working and raising a family in the DC area. Employment during that time involved organizational management in the commercial real estate brokerage industry and 15 years at the U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Interior Business Center (IBC). In the past she was a lead for the Combined Federal Campaign at the IBC; she also regularly volunteers as an election official. She was active with Girl Scouts and a variety of volunteer school and community activities. Debbie is impressed with the number of organizations that support the Lexington, Buena Vista, and Rockbridge County community and hopes to help United Way of Rockbridge have a greater impact locally.
George Pryde (Deceased August 8, 2020)
George Pryde studied mechanical engineering at the University of Wyoming (his native state) and spent his working career in an entirely different field — advertising. He worked for ad agencies in New York City, Tokyo, and Stamford, Connecticut. Since retiring to the Rockbridge area in 1997, he has served as board member, trustee, or president of a number of local nonprofit organizations including Stonewall Jackson Foundation, Lexington Sunrise Rotary, Rockbridge Historical Society, English Speaking Union, and Rockbridge Area Health Center. From 2011 to 2015, George was a member of Lexington City Council and Vice-Mayor of Lexington.
Frank Settle came to Lexington in 1964 as an assistant professor of chemistry at VMI. He has been active in many community organizations including Boy Scouts, Rockbridge Christmas Baskets program, Trinity and Grace Episcopal churches, American Cancer Society, and Meals for Shut Ins. Upon retiring from VMI in 1992, Frank went on to hold positions with the U.S. Air Force Academy, the Department of Energy, and the National Science Foundation. He subsequently returned to Lexington to teach at W&L from 1998 to 2012. This is Frank’s second commitment as a Board member at the United Way of Rockbridge.
Christian came to Lexington in 1987 as a freshman at W&L from her hometown of Louisville, KY. Upon graduation, she and her husband Ben Worth moved to back to Kentucky where she studied law and established her law career. She served as a civil legal services attorney, public defender, and was on the local Pro Bono board for many years while in private practice. In her law practices, she worked often with agencies similar to those that UWR supports in cases, in particular, those involving families in what is called "dependency, neglect, and abuse" cases. She returned to Lexington in 2016 when her husband took a position at DSLCC. She is a member of the Virginia Bar.
Though born in Minnesota, Carole grew up in North Carolina. She obtained a degree in Psychology from St. Andrews Presbyterian College, then went back to school in her forties, obtaining a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science. Carole’s husband Al, was a career Air Force pilot. His duty assignments took them from Washington to New Hampshire to Georgia. During that time, Carole worked in both academic and public libraries. She arrived in Lexington in 2005 as a new widow, knowing no one, but quickly became involved in her church, the public library and the local Duplicate Bridge Club. Carole’s only regret is that her husband is not here to enjoy with her this welcoming, wonderful part of the country.
Michael Smitka has been in the community for almost 30 years and served on the UWR Board for 6 years including 2 years as president. In the past he has been active with Scouting and with several local churches; his wife Gloria has been active with healthcare issues. They are both teachers, Mike at Washington and Lee and Gloria at Dabney S Lancaster Community College. In addition, both their children went through Rockbridge County schools so they are deeply involved in education in our community.