August 23: Dorothy Josephine Eunice Wimbush (1992)

The following tribute to longtime parish secretary Dorothy J. Wimbush, written by parishioner Elizabeth Shinkman, appeared in the Parish Guide newsletter shortly after Miss Jo’s passing in 1992. “Dorothy Wimbush (known to her friends as ‘Jo’ or ‘Miss Jo’) was born in England, and came to this country as a child before World War I. She lived virtually all of her life in Washington, D.C. She attended Western High School which, in her day, was the most outstanding high school in the District, and one of the highest ranking in the country. Presidents and cabinet members sent their children there, and Jo made friends there that had an important bearing on her career. The most important without doubt was Sallie Hews Phillips, daughter of the Rev. ZeBarney Thorne Phillips, rector of the Church of the Epiphany on G Street. It was Sallie who suggested to her father, when he was looking for a secretary, that her Western classmate, Dorothy Wimbush, would be perfect for the job. Another classmate, whose friendship was of considerable help in later years was one of the Gawler sons, whose father owned the leading funeral parlor in the District. In her capacity as the Parish Secretary, Jo rapidly became the backbone of the Epiphany operation, the person to whom everyone turned for information, who had her finger on the pulse of every activity.”

Miss Jo’s service at Epiphany spanned five rectors. In celebrating her 25th anniversary, Bishop Angus Dun commented, “Rectors may come and rectors may go, but parish secretaries go on forever.” Following her retirement, Miss Jo was named Parish Secretary Emeritus. After her death, funeral arrangements were handled by Joseph Gawler’s Sons and a Service of Thanksgiving (see photo) was held at Epiphany before her interment at Rock Creek Cemetery.

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