Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Kilmarnock

Excerpts by Henry Lane Hull

Some homes are houses, and some are homesteads. Walice and Carroll Smith’s residence qualifies as the latter. The century-old farmhouse is a traditional family residence, set on a small rise of land, which Walice named “Pebble Hill,” in Harvey’s Neck.

The lane up to the house curves between old trees, past the woodland where Carroll raised pigs, who served as wonderful landscapers, keeping the underbrush under control. Their woods has the appearance more of a park, thanks to all of the oinks’ prodigious work over the years.

Old barn structures line the upper drive, and flowering plants abound. The setting is idyllic, the lawns being mowed and trimmed, telling the visitors that indeed the owners have a deep appreciation for nature. Inside, the spirit of homey tradition continues, as it did for the 64 years that Walice and Carroll were married.

Last Friday evening, on his 85th birthday, Carroll died there in his beloved home. He had suffered patiently for almost a decade with various health problems, but he gave up on nothing, always looking forward to better times. Several years ago, he stepped back from raising his pigs, which had brought him much happiness watching them grow, and he slowly retreated from his more domestic landscaping duties.

Carroll had been a born farmer, a man acutely attuned to the soil, and how to use it productively for everyone’s benefit. He could fix anything, and he was a mechanical encyclopedia. He was enthralled with growing things, be they flora or fauna, and even after he had stopped actively tending to the land, he found pleasure in talking about what was happening “outside.” 

Carroll was a deep-believing Christian, a man who trusted that The Lord knew best, and saw his own role as that of one following His teachings. In that respect his life, particularly in recent years, as his robust health began to wane, was truly exemplary. He never learned how to complain, despite the discomfort he felt. Recognizing his special character in the community, four years ago on his birthday, Mount Olive Church hosted a large celebration in his honor during and following the Sunday morning service.

For decades, Walice worked at the Kilmarnock Drug Company. In that capacity she came to know and be known by nearly everyone in the lower Northern Neck. She always is organized and knows what to do in any situation. Her dynamic wit and ability to turn a phrase is legendary. No conversation with Walice goes without an interjection of some point of humor. 

At the pharmacy, she especially enjoyed the give-and-take with the late Henry Pittman and Ellen Lee, each of whom could equal her in the ability to give a quick response. Carroll often served as Walice’s proverbial “straight man,” commenting in a wry manner, and chuckling mildly at what she said. I liked to tell her in his presence that she had spent 60-odd years training Carroll to be the perfect husband, and that she had succeeded brilliantly. To that remark, he would laugh heartily.

Walice and Carroll lived a model married life. They sustained each other in the loss of their daughter and son-in-law, and they found hope and pleasure in watching their granddaughter and her two children assume the family reigns on their visits from Richmond. The children brought them great happiness. They enjoyed telling them about the old days.

Carroll has left this world a better place than he found it, and now we trust he is in a still better place.

Carroll Smith, June 16, 1938 – June 16, 2023. R.I.P.

Rappahannock Record Staff
Rappahannock Record Staffhttp://www.rrecord.com
From the Rappahannock Record news team

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