Excerpts by Henry Lane Hull

For over a half-century George Snead was a daily traveler to the Northern Neck from his home across the Rappahannock River at Locust Hill. George is a pharmacist, a veritable walking encyclopedia on all subjects relating to medicine. He operated the Kilmarnock Pharmacy for many years before leaving the business world to be the hospital pharmacist at Rappahannock General Hospital.

George’s pharmacy was fun to visit, even if one was going there for medicine to relieve an illness. From behind the counter George kept abreast of everything happening on the other side. He would always call out to his customers with comments on the passing scene. He was never too busy to greet them and pass along tidbits of helpful information. He wanted to make certain that everyone understood the nature of the prescribed medicine, how to use it, and when to take it.

In his view, any question asked of him would merit the most detailed response he could give. He genuinely cared about his patients and sought to serve their needs to the best of his ability. I once heard a patient remark that having George as her pharmacist was the same as having a second doctor. 

George produced an aura in the drug store that was an authentic part of the local scene. Walice Smith was behind the counter, greeting all the patrons in her usual convivial manner as she reached for their prescriptions. Norma Vanlandingham was handling much of the pharmaceutical paperwork and promoting whatever current fundraiser was being sponsored by the Lancaster High School Band. No one was a greater cheerleader for the band than Norma.

The late Vivian Abbott also worked behind the counter, with her most memorable contribution to the aura coming each Halloween when she came to work dressed in full regalia as a witch. The patrons came to realize that they were part of the happy scene as well, knowing that their medicine was coming from the caring hands of people who truly saw themselves as doing their best to help them to be well.

Throughout his years in Kilmarnock, George continued to live across the Rappahannock. During the Norris Bridge crisis of 1993, he was a wise commentator on how a good solution could be achieved and one of the strongest proponents of not shutting down the bridge every night for the repairs to proceed. At the time I was serving on the bridge committee, and I appreciated his suggestions throughout the tedious three-year process.

George is an enthusiastic automobile buff. He is virtually as knowledgeable about cars as he is about medicine. A few years ago, he built a garage on the hill behind his house, which I have tried to encourage him to replicate on the hill behind our house, but he seems to be less interested. As a pharmacist, George is, as one would expect, a perfectionist, and that attribute carries over into every aspect of his life. His house and his lawn always are kept in pristine condition. 

His outreach to others is extraordinary as he finds meaning to life in showing his concerns, be they medicinal or otherwise. In short, he likes keeping up with his friends and former patrons as much now in retirement as he did while at the pharmacy or the hospital.

Last Thursday George became an octogenarian. He still traipses across the Norris Bridge to shop and perhaps as much to see his friends as to get his groceries. In that regard, he continues to remain one of the Northern Neck’s greatest imports.

Happy Belated Birthday, George! You are at the Peak of Youth!