by Henry Lane Hull
Many years ago, indeed now many decades ago, when I first met Sue Pointer, she mentioned that she was from Eastern Tennessee and had begun her career working for Congressman B. Carroll Reece. She was surprised that I was familiar with his name and that after his death, in 1961, his wife briefly had succeeded him in Congress.
I never met the honorable gentleman, but often have thought that he had the most distinctive first name of any Representative in history, Brazilla. I find no difficulty in understanding why he preferred his middle name.
That conversation began a friendship that lasted until Sue’s death last month at the age of 97. She and her husband, Harwood, moved to the Northern Neck from Maryland when they bought Cape Ann, the projection into Chesapeake Bay at the end of Harvey’s Neck Road, where they established the Ingram Bay Marina. They had spent their careers in the grocery business in the Washington suburbs and wanted to try a new venture in retirement. Harwood was originally from Gloucester County and returning to the Western Shore of the Bay was a natural move for him.
Sue had come to Washington during World War II to work for Congressman Reece, then the lone Republican in the Tennessee House delegation. His district, Tennessee’s First, is in the eastern part of the state, rising into the Appalachian Mountains. The area is known for its political conservatism, of which Sue was an exemplary product.
Not long into any conversation with her, one learned that politics and patriotism were extremely important to Sue. She kept abreast of political developments both at home and abroad, and spoke knowledgeably and articulately on what was happening, whether in her county magisterial district or across the nation at large.
When not working with Harwood on the affairs of the marina, Sue made a personal effort to be solicitous to the elderly in the community. She did her good deeds on an individual basis, enjoying giving treats to those who were shut in, or did not drive, or lived alone. Her small station wagon was a frequent sight on local roads, with Sue behind the wheel doing her part in carrying out biblically mandated prescriptions as she understood them to be.
She especially looked forward to taking her senior friends out for meals, the highlight to her being not the meal as much as the conviviality that accompanied it. She appeared young for the company she kept on those occasions, but that was where she found her abiding charitable niche in the local scene. In a more structured form she served as a faithful volunteer in several charities as well, but she particularly thrived on the one-on-one aspect.
In 1985, the Pointers sold the marina and adjacent property and moved to White Stone. Once there, Sue became as much a part of that scene as she had been in the one at Wicomico Church. She spent a part of her new free time as a devotee of the antiques market. She enjoyed shopping and collecting, with learning the history of the pieces she acquired being her real motivation. She liked to know things as well as people and looked to the past to give her inspiration for the present and hope for the future.
Sue was highly intelligent, but more importantly, she was extraordinarily wise. Harwood died 22 years ago, and Sue later suffered the loss of her son, Warren. In those events and throughout the almost century that she lived, she remained both serene and optimistic, cheerful and contented. She was a person of profound energy and equal capability and of even greater goodness. Speaking with her one truly experienced the wisdom of the ages.
Mary Sue Cox Pointer, September 11, 1919 – February 15, 2017. R.I.P.