Excerpts by Henry Lane Hull

During her childhood, Kay Inskeep underwent a serious illness that required her receiving a transfusion. The hospital gave her the wrong blood type, and she nearly died. Many relatives and friends responded with acts of charity that made a lasting impression on her.

For almost a century thereafter she was grateful for having survived, and she expressed that gratitude by constantly giving of her time, talent and treasure to help other people. After their retirement from careers with IBM in Wilmington and Richmond, Kay and her late husband, Les, retired to the Northern Neck, where they began serving in numerous volunteer activities. She was a regular sight behind the counter at the Lancaster Community Library, the Northern Neck-Middlesex Free Health Clinic and Historic Christ Church.

Kay really enjoyed life. She played golf regularly, and she kept herself physically fit. Several years ago, I enrolled in a Rappahannock Community College course entitled, “Brains and Balance,” only to find that Kay was a fellow enrollee. At the time, she was 98, and she could equal or outperform many other members of the class. At the time, I noted that she could lift her legs higher than I could. She found that comment to be amusing.

On her 99th birthday, I called in the event to WKWI, and she won the gift certificate. When she went to the radio station to collect it, she engaged in a conversation with the station manager, Dennis Burchill, after which both she and Dennis told me how much each of them enjoyed meeting the other. At the time Dennis was 62. Ironically, last month, Dennis predeceased Kay by 18 days.

Kay was a giving person throughout the century that she spent on this earth. She was also a very happy person. She found her niche early on, and she radiated from it from that time forward.

Kathryn Hadley “Kay” Inskeep, February 17, 1921 – November 25, 2022. R.I.P.

                      *****

We normally define the word, “hostess” as being a lady who welcomes folks to her home or another venue for purposes of entertainment. Carla Mahan gave new meaning to the word in a unique manner. 

For the past 11 years, Carla worked as an attendant at the trash collection sites at Ditchley and Horsehead. In that capacity, she saw her responsibility to be not only in maintaining the order and cleanliness of the sites, but also in greeting and welcoming the patrons. To deposit one’s refuse without at least a brief hello from Carla meant that the depositor was in too big a rush to share a word or two with her.

Carla was a slight person, but impressively strong. She would volunteer to help unload heavy items and, good “hostess” that she was, she continually worked to keep her venue neat and properly arranged. Despite working at “the dump,” Carla could not abide a disorderly mess. For her, everything had its place, and she made sure it was where it was supposed to be.

She drove a van with the whimsical license plate, “TAZD,” which stood for Tasmanian Devil. The plate reflected her keen sense of humor. She was alone in life, without family, making her all the more receptive to getting to know her patrons at the two centers. She was not a loner and found pleasure in knowing other people. Before Thanksgiving last year, she said she would be spending the day with other single individuals to whom she was very grateful for having invited her. 

This past summer Carla was diagnosed with cancer, and on November 7th she died at the age of 61. At Horsehead a handmade wreath hangs from the fence in her memory, a gentle tribute to the site’s late “hostess.”

Carla Mahan, February 16, 1961 – November 7, 2022. R.I.P.