Richmond pop culture icon Donnie Corker, better known to most at Dirt Woman, passed away this morning at 65 of heart failure, multiple sources are reporting.
A former prostitute who grew up in the Oregon Hill neighborhood, Dirt Woman had a long and tumultuous history in Central Virginia. Throughout his life, Corker was known for helping organize Hamaganza, an annual holiday variety show that sought hams and other donations to FeedMore; a one-time run for mayor; and various run-ins with the law.
Corker was as colorful as he was outspoken, known for showing up frequently at Richmond City Council meetings, gate-crashing the inauguration of former Richmond mayor Doug Wilder, and once relieving himself in the back of a Richmond Police car–earning his now-infamous name.
Friends and supporters say he had been battling heart failure as of late. He died peacefully in his sleep this morning.
GayRVA has an in-depth look back on Corker’s life, legacy, and his strange and quirky contributions to the Richmond lexicon over the past decades, which can be found in full here.
There is also a documentary film, produced several years ago, which sheds more light on his life.