What the heck is a Willkie-ite?

As I was doing some research for the Santee Historical Society, I came across this 1940 newspaper article about CM Walz of Santee becoming a co-chairman of the Willkie-ites along with Rex Hall and Al Jones.

What the heck is a Willkie-ite?  Is it a fraternal organization?  A service club?  A neighborhood organization?  A school group?

After a bit of research I found the answer.  It was a group of patriotic US citizens that thought that Wendell Willkie, a former Democrat, should be the Republican candidate to run against FDR.

Willkie campaigned against the New Deal and the government’s lack of military preparedness. During the election, Roosevelt preempted the military issue by expanding military contracts. Willkie then reversed his approach and accused FDR of warmongering. On Election Day, FDR received 27 million votes to Willkie’s 22 million, and in the Electoral College, Roosevelt buried Willkie 449 to 82.

After failing to unseat Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1940 presidential election, Willkie became one of FDR’s most unlikely allies.

After the Pearl Harbor attack of December 1941 Roosevelt appointed Willkie to be a special representative for the United States. He made around-the-world visits to soldiers on the fronts and also played an active role in the American committee for Russian War Relief.

In 1944, Willkie once again sought the Republican presidential nomination, but gained little support.   Willkie did not back the eventual 1944 Republican nominee, Thomas Dewey.

After surviving several heart attacks, Willkie died on October 8, 1944 at age fifty-two. Eleanor Roosevelt, in her October 12, 1944 “My Day” column, eulogized Willkie as a “man of courage [whose] outspoken opinions on race relations were among his great contributions to the thinking of the world.” She concluded, “Americans tend to forget the names of the men who lost their bid for the presidency. Willkie proved the exception to this rule.”

So now we know what a Willkie-ite is!

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Find Happiness in Retirement

When researching the effects of giving in retirement, Merrill Lynch found that women find great happiness from helping others and giving back to their community and are more likely to define success in retirement by generosity than their financial situation.
Approximately 68% of women also feel that retirement is the ideal time to give back. When your working years suddenly end, and you are left wondering what your purpose is, committing yourself to volunteer work gives your days meaning.
Any kind of volunteering is beneficial to your psychological wellness, whether it’s shelving books at the library, walking dogs for the local animal shelter, or even giving your time to a cause related to your career.
Why not look at the Santee Historical Society for your place to volunteer!  Call us at (619)449-2024 or email us at Info@SanteeHistoricalSociety.org
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Become a member!

Become a member of the Santee Historical Society

It’s so easy.

You can now pay your membership by check or credit card.

Click here to pay by Credit Card

To pay by Check,

print the membership form – click here,

fill it out,

and mail the completed form with your check to:

Santee Historical Society – Attn: Membership –

P.O. Box 710636 – Santee, CA 92072

The Santee Historical Society is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit.


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