Washington column for Nov. 5

Friends for life

Lisa Welsted, with Rusty, Sam and husband Vernon.
Lisa Welsted, with Rusty, Sam and husband Vernon. Jeanne Taylor

In my column I usually have events or what’s happening in Washington, but this week I am writing about two good friends, both of whom will leave a legacy behind in the town of Washington in their own ways.

I must say that when I heard the news that my friend Lisa Welsted was retiring, it kinda broke my heart a little. Over the years as she worked as the deputy circuit court clerk in Washington, we became very good friends. We shared memories, made new ones, has some sad times and good times, and told each other secrets we would not tell anyone else. She has been truly helpful to me with anything that I have needed. When you walk through the door she made you feel like you knew her your whole life. She always had a smile on her face, and made you feel like family. She also wanted to say a little something about her retirement:

“I started working at the clerk’s office in March 2002 as a deputy clerk and I am officially retiring as of Nov. 6. I feel honored to have been able to work with and meet so many wonderful people over the past 13½ years and will surely miss them, but Vernon and I are looking forward to traveling, spending much more time with our dogs and volunteering. Anyone who has ever met me has probably heard me say that I love dogs more than people, so it is to no surprise that we plan to volunteer at RAWL. We also plan on volunteering with the Rappahannock Rapidan Community Services Board.”

Here is a quote from wishesmessages.com that I thought would suit Lisa well on this occasion: “You are about to board a really long flight, so put your seatbelt on, clutch the armrest tight, my friend. The flight will take you to a beautiful destination. It’s called retirement. Life’s longest vacation.”

When a special friend or co-worker retires, a part of the community leaves with them. You miss the camaraderie and laughter enjoyed by all. But it also means no more meetings, waking up to a screaming alarm clock, and watching the clock till quitting time.

Congratulations on retiring, Lisa. I’m sorry I can’t come with you, but you have my fullest support on all of your future endeavors and whatever life decides to throw your way. I will miss your warmth, your way of making everybody feel like family, and seeing your smiling face. Enjoy it to the fullest, my friend.

Goodbye to Eve Willis

My condolences go out to the family of Evelyn Tyler Miller Willis, known to many as Eve.

Eve passed away at her home in Sperryville last Wednesday, Oct. 26. She is survived by her husband, James Stewart Willis; her daughter, Evelyn Michelle Tyle Willis Adams; her son, James Stewart Willis III; and three grandchildren.

Eve was the daughter of the late William Arthur Miller and Emily Brent Miller of Mount Prospect in Washington, and the granddaughter of State Senator John James Miller of Mountain Green in Washington. Upon her husband’s retirement from the army, Eve returned to her childhood home, Mount Prospect in Washington, so that she and her husband could be close to Eve’s mother and their two children.

Eve had her own interior design business. She worked in many of the homes in Rappahannock County and doing some commercial work, such as the interior of the Theatre at Washington.

She was an active member of the town government, serving both on the ARB and on the town council in the 1980s and ’90s.

In 1992, she opened a store called Rare Finds in the central part of town, selling gifts and antiques (and of course the famous Beanie Babies). I used to take my daughter and son there on weekends to purchase the newest Beanie Babies. I got to know Eve, who was so very friendly and helpful. During the next few years, she opened two more stores, including Washington Antiques and Gay Street Mercantile. All the stores were closed in 2003 when she and Stew moved out of town to build a home facing Old Rag Mountain in the southern part of the county.

Recently, Eve opened a new Rare Finds at in Washington, in what had been Douglas Baumgardner’s offices, with her partner, Susan McCarthy.

Both Eve, who has left us, and Lisa, who begins a new phase of life, have been strong influences in Rappahannock County.

As Maya Angelou said: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”