Stetson-wearing James Benjamin Dick, longtime Charlottesville attorney and colorful president of the Foxfield Racing Association, died August 29 at age 67 in Winchester, the town where he was born.
Dick graduated from Virginia Military Institute and served in the Army during the Vietnam War. His penchant for Stetsons started at Fort Leavenworth, where he once told this reporter he hung out with colonels. “You had to drink their gin, smoke their Camels and wear their Stetsons,” he said. After the military, he got a law degree from the T.C. Williams School of Law in Richmond, and practiced in Charlottesville and Winchester for the next 40 years, according to his obituary.
In 1979, he became president of the newly formed Foxfield Racing Association, a position he held until his death. Dick fought epic battles with the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control. Dick blamed the end of Easters in 1982 for sending students to party at Foxfield instead. Although the ABC attempted to pull Foxfield’s license in 2002, ultimately more enforcement and education of UVA students tempered the event’s notoriety.
Dick was a regular at C&O, and was once presented with the bill for a $4,000 tab. A chair at the end of the bar has a brass plaque with his name engraved on it.
His funeral will be held at 2pm in Winchester, with, not surprisingly, a party to follow.