Nelson County, Virginia
Yvette and I first met Kate McGinnis within a few months of permanently moving to Nelson County from Tennessee. That was back in the summer of 2004. It didn’t take long before we became friends. If you wanted to know anything about the history of Nelson County, she and her husband Bernie were the people to ask. I constantly ran into Kate at events surrounding the opening Oakland Museum in Arrington.
Kate was the epitome of southern grace and charm. But with a very aggressive side when it came to causes near and dear to her heart. We’d often spar politically, then almost belly laugh over a glass of wine when we realized how ridiculous we all sounded.
As we started having children and then eventually moved from Greenfield in Northern Nelson to Roseland in Southern Nelson, we drifted apart. We’d still see Kate occasionally at events, but not nearly as often as I would have liked. The last time I remember seeing Kate was at the funeral for a close friend of ours dad, Rob Brent of Roseland. After the funeral we all gathered at Dick & Peggy Whitehead’s home. I got to catchup with Kate and tell her all about how much our kids were growing up. She always asked about Adam & Peyton, without fail, every time we’d see each other.
Ironically our friend and neighbor mentioned above, Rob Brent, was at our home just this past Thursday night. We were sitting on the porch having a drink and talking about life. Rob told us about Kate’s passing. I was so saddened to hear this. I knew it was eventually coming. All of these older Nelsonians that I’d come to love wouldn’t be around forever. But I always pretended they would.
I guess one of the reasons Kate’s passing hit us so hard is because she’s literally part of a dying generation. She was an anchor back into a time that Nelson was still very rural and simple. Less hustle and bustle. I loved talking to her about those days.
Way too often I’ve sat at this very keyboard over the last 10 years and written tributes to many of the friends I’ve made that eventually left us. Bob Ward, Frank Ott, Brian O’Rourke, Richard Thomas, Barbara Powell, Sherri Brooks. Just five that come to mind quickly. They were here one day and gone the next.
I had someone stop me last week in Basic Necessities and say, “I love how you remember the older people here and honor and remember them as they pass.” Sometimes, I honestly miss when someone we know passes. But it is important to remember. Remember people like Kate that made an impression on you.
Kate, you made and impression on us. And we are going to miss you dearly. Nelson and Shipman won’t be quite the same with your passing. But, I am certainly glad I go to know you before you had to go.
RIP Kate. You wonderfully sweet, gentle and laughing soul.