EXCERPTS by Henry Lane Hull
In the Northern Neck world of finance one of the most recognizable names is that of Myrna Foster, who for many years was a banker in Kilmarnock, until her retirement several years ago. Myrna is gifted with an extraordinary capacity for handling figures, retaining details in her mind, and being able to spell out the nuts and bolts of a monetary arrangement with remarkable clarity.
A whole generation of young people in Lancaster County has learned the basics of saving, borrowing and managing money at her hands. When the first school bank was set up at Lancaster Middle School, Myrna was assigned to work with the students in teaching them the value of money. The task was a perfect fit, given her engaging personality and infinite patience coupled with the students needing to learn the value of money.
The Younger B. E. worked with Myrna in eighth grade as one of the student bank managers, coming home each week on bank day describing what she had learned and how she had taken care of situations that had arisen. Myrna is truly unflappable, always ready and willing to share her knowledge with anyone needing financial guidance, and she delighted in working with the pupils. Indeed, although not a faculty member, she taught them as if she were, and under her tutelage they absorbed the fundamentals of how money is the foundation of the economy.
Her time with the children was perhaps the highlight of her banking career, for she is an extremely giving and caring person, who draws on a depth of understanding of the human psyche. The students whom she mentored now have moved on in their academic and professional careers better equipped than many of their peers because of their exposure to Myrna’s teaching. Equally important, she was a model for kindness and goodness that will carry her tutees far beyond the world of financial matters.
Monday is Myrna’s birthday. Knowing her has made many Lancaster County youth rich in more ways than financial. As the parents of one pupil thus blessed my Good Wife and I remain most grateful, as do numerous others.
Happy Birthday, Myrna! You have been of inestimable benefit to our community, and genuinely deserving of the esteem in which we all hold you.
Last week’s “Excerpts” was in tribute to Betty and Larry Taylor, Betty having died the previous week. Early in the morning of the day of publication Larry died, nine days after Betty, and 63 years after their marriage.
In the column I mentioned their mutual interest in marksmanship, and fondness for target shooting. Larry’s parents had told him as a youth that he never would meet a wife spending all his free time on the range. When he brought Betty home to meet them, he regaled them by describing how indeed he had met her on the shooting range.
Larry and Betty made a great couple, with shared interests and hobbies. Each had a level of intellectual curiosity that matched that of the other. They both were constant learners, who read, traveled, and experienced life at all levels to the fullest. Larry liked to say that when they died they finally would be going to college, adding that they had donated their remains to science.
Few couples spend as much time together as did Betty and Larry. Particularly in retirement they were inseparable, whether gardening, shooting on the range, traveling or sitting entertaining each other with their wonderful conversations. For the past four decades they contributed handsomely to the quality of life we often take for granted here in the Northern Neck. For all who knew them, they were American Originals.
This column, or “item” as the late Gilliam Lewis, a 60-year employee of the Rappahannock Record, would have called it, begins the 35th year of “Excerpts.”
The local column commenced in 1959 being written by General Rothwell Brown until his death in 1974, his last column being written from his hospital bed. His successor was Captain Eugene Rook, who penned it for 10 years, and now I have completed 34 years.
Many thanks to the publishers, editors, proofers and readers for your support, encouragement and comments, and now on to next week.