Wednesday, July 24, 2024
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Kilmarnock

Excerpts by Henry Lane Hull

Each spring an abiding sight at the weekly Community Lenten Services was the presence of Tom and Florence Kellum. They rarely, if ever, missed one of the gatherings. In retirement, they enjoyed getting the spring off to a good start by sharing in the fellowship of the services and ensuing luncheons. 

Florence spent her career in banking where she came to be known for great diligence and competence in helping folks finance their homes and businesses. I have mentioned previously in this space that when my Good Wife and I committed matrimony, Florence gave me the most memorable marital advice when she said that she considered a good marriage to be one in which each party gives 100%. She was not a proponent of any sort of 50-50 scheme.

Florence and Tom were two sides of the same coin. Whereas Florence was concerned with financial numbers, Tom spent most of his career at Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury retiring as the maintenance supervisor.

The beautiful grounds of RWC were his bailiwick. He knew the trees and plantings well, and he was gifted in putting together visual landscapes that were attractive to both the residents and their avian visitors. Under his guidance, the grounds became a virtual bird sanctuary, attesting to the need for us not to forget our feathered friends. 

Tom was a perfectionist, one who wanted to know all that he could on any topic, and he was a perceptive commentator on the passing scene, be it local, national, or international. He enjoyed detailed discussions, and his comments always were reasoned and thoughtful. When he died last month, I thought of Florence’s comments over three decades earlier. As a devoted husband, indeed Tom did give his 100% during the nearly 62 years of their marriage.

John Thomas Kellum, November 22, 1939 – September 21, 2023. R.I.P.

*****

Maurice Piller was a French-speaking native of Lausanne, Switzerland, on the shores of Lake Geneva. He spoke perfect English with a delightful French accent. He served for many years as a lector at Saint Francis de Sales Church in Kilmarnock. His dulcet tones were soothing to hear, and all the more memorable because he had uttered them. He was proud that the church’s patron, Saint Francis, had been a 16th-century Bishop of Geneva.

He delighted in having someone speak to him in French, and he was very encouraging in helping the person with grammar and pronunciation, especially in explaining the language’s archaic nuances. He appreciated having the opportunity to use his native tongue and was flattered for having been recognized as a native French-speaker. As soon as one said “bonjour” to him, his eyes sparkled and a broad smile came across his face.

As a young man, Maurice left his homeland to serve in the Swiss Army as part of the United Nations observer corps following the Korean War. After his military service, he set out on his lifetime career in the food industry. For Maurice, his profession was food, in all of its ramifications, from concocting recipes to offering his productions in a number of venues.

He was a graduate of the École hôtelière de Lausanne, which is recognized as one of the premiere hotel and hospitality schools in the world. After beginning his career in Bermuda, he came to America and assumed a position at The Tides Inn, which became the cause of his meeting his future wife, Eleanor Christopher, a native of Lancaster County. Later he founded his own restaurant in Vienna, The Cedar Inn, which became a popular spot for diners in Northern Virginia.

During his many years among us, Maurice was a bond to the Old World, charming, sophisticated, perceptive and a delight to know. “Adieu, mon ami!”

Maurice Ferrand Piller, April 5, 1931 – September 21, 2023. R.I.P.

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