Two of Purcellville’s longest serving volunteers received a huge round of applause last week when Mayor Kwasi Fraser and the Purcellville Town Council handed them a key to the town and publicly thanked them for their decades of service.
Betty Wiley is an accomplished artist and a major force behind the Western Loudoun Studio Arts Tour. Her husband, James O. “Doc” Wiley, is a retired dentist who served two terms on the council before stepping down in 2014.
But their contributions to the town and the county go far beyond those accomplishments, as they were associated with projects and endeavors that are now household words.
Betty Wiley, in her mid-80s, revels in her painting, and her painting4joy.com email address sums up her attitude perfectly.
A native of York, PA, she is most proud of one her earliest projects: she was the founder and first director of Loudoun Valley Community Center.
She initiated a series of programs for senior citizens, including day trips, speakers and parties. She also renovated the kitchen to serve lunches and to create an after-school snack bar and fun spot for teens. Wiley is responsible for initiating the first fully socially integrated programming in Loudoun—which would serve as a model for many community centers that would follow. She was a member of the inaugural Loudoun Chorale group.
She was also a member of the Loudoun Hospital Board’s Candy Stripers program and the children’s choir director at Leesburg Presbyterian Church, as well as a volunteer for the Red Cross, American Cancer Society and the Arthritis Foundation. She served in several leadership positions for the Loudoun Junior Woman’s Club, and was named the outstanding Junior Woman in Northern Virginia.
As one who suffered from hearing problems, she worked with the Washington, DC, American Hearing Society to help found the Blue Ridge Speech and Hearing Center in Leesburg and served on the board and as president over the years. She also served on the state committee for the American Disabilities Act and on the first Purcellville Urban Growth Area Management Plan.
The Wileys are one of six families that founded St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, and Jim Wiley became a ruling elder. The couple has three children, all of whom graduated from Loudoun Valley High School.
Jim Wiley born in Covington, TN, in 1932, and went on to become a dentist. He began his dental practice in 1958 in Purcellville—for 15 years at the current post office location, then at the drug store, and finally above the Purcellville Restaurant. He and Dr. James Towe built the Loudoun Valley Professional Building in 1974. He served on the Loudoun Memorial Hospital staff for 20 years and was a volunteer at the Loudoun Free Dental Clinic for 15 years. He retired in 2003.
In 1965, Wiley chaired the Purcellville Area Commission and helped establish the County Parks and Recreation Department. He was a member of the Loudoun County Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee, serving as its chairman from 1969 to 1972. He also served on the Purcellville Town Council for eight years, and was a founding member and first chairman of the Purcellville Arts Council in 2014.
It is his work on parks that gives him the most satisfaction. In 1972, he was the first appointee from Loudoun to the board of directors for the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, where he served for three decades, helping oversee 23 regional parks, seven of them in Loudoun.
He helped found the Purcellville Business Association. He also was a member of the Lions Club for 20 years.
An avid golfer, Wiley served on the Loudoun Golf and Country Club board of directors from 1985 for a decade, and as president from 1986 to 1992. Known for his golfing expertise, Wiley has made five holes-in-one—winning a Cadillac for his efforts on one occasion.