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W. Raymond "Buddy" Showalter Jr. ('50) (1928-2007)

Team player and lead donor

Photo: W. Raymond

Buddy entered JMU in 1946, the year the school began to enroll men. During their Madison years, Buddy and his teammates made history as part of the first men's basketball team at the school. He remained a loyal Duke and good friend to JMU athletics throughout his life. Buddy and his wife, Dolly Rutherford Showalter ('54), raised the level of play for generations of JMU athletes through personal relationships with JMU coaches and student-athletes. In 2003, Showalter told Madison magazine, "Our family has always backed JMU athletics. We've supported the Duke Club, purchased championship team rings and endowed two athletic scholarships in the names of six alumni in our family." In 2003, Buddy and Dolly gave a lead gift of $250,000 for the Robert and Frances Plecker Athletic Performance Center. The couple knew that throwing support behind this facility was the best way to "build a lineup of successful student-athletes and academic stars." Buddy always backed up his patronage with personal service. He was a member of the JMU President's Cabinet, the Athletic Advisory Committee and the Duke Club. He also shared his "Be the Change" spirit with the local community in service to the Harrisonburg Elks Lodge, the Harrisonburg Parking Authority and as a pioneer member of the Lions Club. He dedicated nearly 50 years to the Spotswood Country Club, generously supporting new construction and serving as president from 1979 to 1984. Known for his quick smile and friendly handshake, Buddy left a legacy of generosity and kindness to others.

The former business major, who also studied at the Juilliard School of Music, lived his motto: "It takes a team effort to build something strong -- a marriage, a family, a team."