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Goodbye to a Friend 

An Appreciation

Richmond lost a real lady Feb.12 when Charlotte Taylor Massie died — a role model the likes of which are few. Her obituary in the Times-Dispatch conveyed the facts of her accomplishments and the respect those who knew her had for them and for her. But no obituary can, really, convey the warmth that her friendship brought to those who were lucky enough to have it.

There was not a time when I didn't feel that, should I need it, I could have her help. This, although she had been left a widow with two young daughters whose development into accomplished young women she guided and watched with pride.

Her drive for perfection in everything she did led to hours of research and arduous proofreading as she edited the Garden Club of Virginia's various publications. She could and did agonize over the proper phrasing of a sentence and spelling of the name of an exotic plant.

She had a high standard for social manners which could keep her friends — and her family — on their toes. It was, I believe, her bedrock belief that good manners made for friendship and easy relationships.

The last time I saw her at Sheltering Arms Physical Rehabilitation Hospital where she was trying to recover from brain surgery for two aneurysms, one of the nurses was telling a newer employee how many nice things "Mrs. Massie" had done for the people who worked at the "old" Sheltering Arms — how many parties she and her committees had planned for them. She was, the nurse said, an important person.

She was indeed.

We will all — even those who did not know her — miss her. And every Christmas Eve I will remember her standing on our doorstep with her wonderful rum cake. What will Christmas be without her and
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