by Henry Lane Hull
For the past two decades Mike Broderick was one of the most distinctive voices in the lower Northern Neck. I do not know that he gave any speeches or read stories publicly, but I do know that he sang very publicly.
He moved to Weems with his wife Kathy over 20 years ago and became a founding member of the Northern Neck Bay Tones and active participant in the Chesapeake Chorale. He was ubiquitous in lifting his voice to add a broader dimension to any performance.
He also sang at Saint Francis de Sales Church, contributing the same thrusts to all the vocal efforts. Those who sat near Mike profited from the enthusiasm he exhibited, thereby leading them to open up their own timid larynxes to join in contributing to the overall vocal output.
Mike was born and grew up in Buffalo, N.Y. While still in high school Mike thought he might have had a vocation to pursue a religious life, leading him to enter the Franciscan Order, where he remained through his college years. Ultimately, he decided his calling was to the secular world and he left the monastery. After marrying Kathy and raising their three daughters, they decided the Northern Neck was to be their home.
Several years ago, Mike suffered a debilitating stroke, but he optimistically forged forward, still trying to sing at church, where he moved to the front pew, contributing what he could to the choral efforts and greeting everyone in his usual engaging demeanor.
Earlier this month Mike died at the age of 8l at his home in Weems. His was an uplifting presence in the Northern Neck, giving to others of his time and talents and lifting his voice for the common good.
Charles Michael “Mike” Broderick, September 7, 1936 – April 8, 1918. R.I.P.
Frank Smith I met with his wife, Carol Dawson, at a charity dinner at the Embassy of Mauritania in Washington in 1991. They told me that they had moved to a remote place in Virginia and when I pressed them for its name, I learned that they were new to the village of Morattico, having purchased a wonderful old Victorian home overlooking the Rappahannock River. Frank added that the fun of their venture had been in furnishing it.
That evening was the onset of a friendship that lasted until Frank’s death in that Victorian home after a lengthy illness earlier this month. Frank was a native of Iowa, who left his life in the Midwest to accept an appointment to the United States Naval Academy in 1952. After graduating in 1956, for a quarter of a century he illustratively served our country at naval posts in this country and abroad, followed by a second career in the defense industry.
After moving to Morattico, Frank enjoyed venturing into the political realm, as a volunteer working on many campaigns and serving on the Lancaster County Republican Committee. He found a new calling in the give-and-take of politics and in contributing the fruits of his extraordinary experience to causes in which he had faith.
In recent years as his health declined, Frank joined Mike in the front pew at Saint Francis Church. They were kindred spirits, who ironically died three days apart, each having made a lasting mark on the community.
Captain Franklin Dean “Frank” Smith, U.S.N., Ret., November 8, 1932 – April 11, 2018. R.I.P.
The culture and quality of life that we experience in the Northern Neck has drawn many individuals to settle here, Mike and Frank among them. We take many of our blessings for granted, but people we cannot take for granted. They are special gifts that enrich our community and enhance our standard of living. May such ever be the case.