by Henry Lane Hull
For over a half-century, Chandler Luckham operated a combination barbershop and clock repair business in Irvington. On the wall facing the barber chair was a sign that read, “God made only so many perfect heads. The rest he covered with hair.” The quip was Chandler’s way of telling a self-deprecating joke, being bald himself. That genetic strain he did not pass on to his son, Garry, who had a full head of brilliant white hair. Garry died this past weekend at the age of 66, in his own right as much of an institution as his late father.
Chandler served as mayor of Irvington for six years, and from his public service, his two-fold business and his prodigious work for the Lions Club, he was known widely across the Northern Neck. Garry and his sister, Connie, and brother, Maurice, grew up under the tutelage of Irvington’s man-about-town. As with his father, Garry liked getting to know people and engaging in conversation about the local comings and goings. He always seemed to have time for a good chat, or if he did not have time, he made it.
Most of my conversations with Garry took place in the aisles of Tri-Star Supermarket. I do not think Garry ever went to the store, bought his groceries and left without having met someone he knew, which afforded him the opportunity for a new exchange. He inherited his father’s insatiable curiosity for life and his enthusiasm for getting things done. He said he did not have the patience to be either a barber or a clock maker, instead he sought to make his own mark by the objects he could produce. He was both talented and creative.
Garry genuinely was interested in others, and enjoyed their company. Following in his father’s example, he was a good citizen and a good friend to many.
Garry John Luckham, December 24, 1952 – June 8, 2019. R.I.P.
As a follow-up to an item I wrote last year concerning the move of Dawson Hall to its new location, this past week Bobby Covey and his crew from Washington, North Carolina, returned to set the house on its new foundation, about 100 yards from the site where Jeremiah Dawson had built it in 1904. Despite the rain, the work progressed expeditiously and the structure now rests on the new brick foundation that Bob Ramsey had prepared for it. The setting is actually more picturesque than the original location, and the house seems much larger on the new foundation.
Jeremiah built the house for his family in 1904, and the following year crossed the road and built our house, after which he went home and built an addition to his own home. When I told his grandson, Curtis Sampson, who lives in Irvington, what we were doing, he remarked that his grandfather had built only one house, but that he had built it 30 times.
Curtis was correct in that driving along the roads of the lower Northern Neck Jeremiah’s work is readily recognizable. He clearly had a good system, and he did not deviate from it. He named the recently relocated house “Dawson Hall” in his honor.
The final stage of the move went flawlessly, undertaken by Bobby and his crew of six. To set the house squarely, they soaped the plates and adjusted the two-story structure with precision, but unlike Jeremiah’s setting, now his house rests on a foundation over three feet high, thereby allowing ample room in the crawl space for heating, cooling, plumbing and electrical conduits.
We like to think that Jeremiah would be proud. Another part of his legacy to the Northern Neck continues in its new setting.