This year four special Charlottesville people have passed on. I salute them for their contributions and simply because I immensely enjoyed their company.
Kay Peaslee: Kay was the founder and editor of The Observer, a community newspaper devoted to issues of the day. She went at it with great relish and with a spunky, cheerful spirit that I found infectious. What a great laugh. She was formidable, but also cute. Besides the paper, she had many other community involvements. Her partner until his passing several years ago was Sandy Peaslee, a retiree from the diplomatic corps and a most genial and thoughtful gentleman.
Easter Martin: Another wife of a diplomat, Easter, in her late 80s, became very well- known and beloved at the Downtown library. An avid gardener, she turned a border of the building into a flower garden. She and husband Chris were often seen walking with equipment in hand to tend their plots. A wonderful example of making something out of almost nothing. The flowers were wondrous and enhanced one’s day. One day walking on the Mall, I saw Easter ahead and, sure enough, she was picking up litter, which she did with a fun spirit. That spirit! And often she would say that our library was "the best" she had used throughout a life of world travel. And the name? At Easter time, she would bring baskets of candy to the library staff.
Tom Joseph: I thought of Tom as our nonviolent John Brown. A man devoted to the causes of peace and justice. He participated in many nonviolent demonstrations and activities. After his death, I learned of his previous life as a standout athlete and civil engineer. At mid-life, he had a near fatal accident, and it took him on another course. He wore his passions well. With some, such convictions can dominate their personality and make everyday communication strained. Not Tom. He was so easy to talk to, and he always asked how I and others were doing. Not one to carry on. I always looked forward to talking with this friendly man. Tom had Parkinson’s disease and rather than be a burden to others, he took his life. This saddened many, but it was in keeping with this thoughtful man, still an engineer at heart.
Bart Bartholomew: A retired forester, Bart became one of the most valuable workers and spirits of the Ivy Creek Natural Area. A beloved man for his sincerity, good cheer, and modesty. He served on the ICNA Board, but he much preferred being on the trails clearing and building. He was a worker. He often gave a fall foliage walk, which I went on more than once. His presentation was for the layman and that suited me fine. He showed such an appreciation for all that was at work in nature’s cycle. For me, it also was just so affirming to be in the company of such a fine man (who sometimes would literaly say, "Aw shucks.") Through his church, Bart went to Haiti–to plant trees!
What a quartet. Hall of Famers. I miss them, but they all can bring a smile when recalled. Interesting to note that these people who lived so purposefully, all lived into their 80s and 90s.