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My Farewell Letter To Rafael Tal : Longtime Co-Owner Of The Mark Addy Inn

[ 0 ] March 12, 2021 |
Rafael Tal (left) and his wife Leslie on the steps of The Mark Addy Inn back in April of 2006 shortly after they purchased the B & B from then owner John Stork Maddox. Rafi passed away a few days ago after a lengthy battle with cancer.

Nelson County, Virginia

By Tommy Stafford 

Dear Rafi, 

You would absolutely hate me writing this and making a fuss over your passing. Chill. And hear me out. You mattered, and here’s why. 

When we first met way back in 2006 shortly after you and your wife Leslie bought the Mark Addy from John Stork Maddox, I thought you were often just a grumpy man. How wrong I was. I laughingly remember what I said in that first meet up, “Are you always this grumpy or do you work at it?” You laughed and said, “I like you. You get to the point.” 

From that day forward we were friends. Not real close friends. But the kind of friend you could drop on in most anytime and have a good chat. We had many. I remember countless days sitting on your porch. That cigarette in hand, a wine glass in mine, discussing world politics and more.

When I found out you were fighter pilot long ago in Israel we never stopped talking about flying. Pilots tend to do that when they get together!

Photo By Paul Purpura : Rafi preparing one of the countless meals he served during his time at The Mark Addy. June 30, 2013

Then I learned you were a major rockstar in the kitchen. Some of the meals you cranked out were simply amazing! Many misunderstood you. Thankfully, I didn’t make that mistake. You were such a generous man in your own way. So generous. We all started our businesses around the same time. We all learned lots along the way. 

Your oldest daughter, Jennie, became one of our most loved writers for over a decade. The connections back to you and your family are endless. 

While I wasn’t caught completely off guard that you passed, I was very saddened. You see, few people will sit on the front porch and tell you what they really think. They are a rare breed. You always spoke your mind and I always wanted to hear it. We need more porch conversations like that, now more than anytime in history. I miss them already, just as the days are getting warmer. 

Photo By Paul Purpura : Rafi was most at home in the kitchen serving up some the most delicious meals around. June 30, 2013

Route 151 is a quieter this week and a little more sad. You’re gone and you will never be replaced. 

Fly high and rest, my friend Rafi. 

Your friend, 


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