Excerpts by Henry Lane Hull

In last week’s column I described Ellen Lee’s rules of grammar. As noted, I called her Auntie. She was a native of Mitchells Station near Culpeper, and came to the Northern Neck in 1942 as the bride of Robert M. Lee Jr. After Robert M.’s death in 1985, Auntie lived in Kilmarnock for 10 years until moving to a retirement home in Newport News.

During that period of her widowhood, she frequently commented that with her son Charlie and his family living away, she knew she always could count on Tim Giese whenever she needed help of any kind.

I have been thinking of those words quite often this least week after learning of Tim’s passing. Her words could have been spoken by innumerable people across the lower Northern Neck. Tim was one of the most obliging individuals I ever have known. He found great joy in life in helping others in any way that he could. The level of his “favors” to friends and strangers alike is legendary across the area. 

Beginning as a teenager, for over four decades Tim worked at Noblett’s Appliances in Kilmarnock where he met hundreds of new arrivals, making lasting friendships with them all. Once he sold a piece of equipment or a service to a customer, he was committed to see that the buyer received excellent attention thereafter. He never wavered in his loyalty to his employer and to his customers. When Tim spoke, one knew he meant what he said and that he stood by his “word” in all of his dealings.

He considered his relationship with a customer to be a lasting bond that would continue long after the appliance had “lived” out its normal life expectancy. In the meantime, if the appliance became “sick,” Tim would be sure it received the proper treatment. People knew of his dedication, and, as with Auntie, counted on him, frequently for far more than merely following up on their purchases. 

Tim always had to be engaged in one form of work or another. When he retired from Noblett’s, he set up a small business of his own, supervising the care of properties for folks who had second homes in the Northern Neck. Local attorneys settling estates that involved real estate and personal property as well as many of his former appliance customers came to him, knowing that they could rely on his judgment in the care of their possessions. 

He also provided a driving service, taking many elderly folks to doctors’ appointments, airports, and other travel destinations. He enjoyed travel himself and liked to speak of what he had learned from his trips both far and near.

Tim and his wife, Patsy, who is a retired banker, were regulars on weekend estate sale jaunts with Patsy reminding Tim of what they did not need, and Tim making an equally amusing retort. His special interests were American Brilliant Period cut glass and antique stoneware crocks and jugs. 

As the years passed and Tim began having health concerns of his own, he eschewed speaking of them, always preferring to focus on others and their needs, rather than his own.

Auntie was correct in saying that Tim was someone upon whom she could count in her senior years. He was also a person who never counted himself. The truly countless good deeds that he performed were motivated by the innate goodness of his heart, and he expected no recompense, return or reward. For Tim the pleasure of giving was the real reward that brought him happiness and directed him throughout his life.

Tim Arthur Giese, June 3, 1939–January 25, 2023. R.I.P.