Memorial Address for Elaine Walker
Delivered by Michael Zapf on behalf of the Lovettsville Historical Society,
October 10th, 2020 at the Walker Pavilion, Lovettsville
Elaine Walker’s career in the administration of Lovettsville’s town government is a testimony of the love and devotion that she held for this place and the people who live here. She was proud of the unique place that Lovettsville, the German Settlement, played in the history of the Commonwealth.
Lovettsville is close to the center of events of this great nation and yet in many respects it is far enough and small enough so that most everybody knows your name. In organizing the Oktoberfest, Mayor Walker was mindful that the community was a little bit of German and a lot of Virginia. Fate settled us in this valley of the Old Dominion on grants owned by Fairfax, Tankerville, and Awbry. Kinship and culture connected our Lovettsville forebears North to German families in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Elaine enthusiastically promoted German Settlement heritage to the end of her life.
She was a charter member of the Lovettsville Historical Society and Museum, which came into being on the occasion of the national bicentennial in 1976. She, her husband Clifton and other citizens restored and converted the derelict, old Potterfield Meat Store on Pennsylvania Avenue in Lovettsville. Until the county built the current library, the building served both as a library and museum. Period clothing, antique furniture, tools, journals, books, photographs and artifacts were pulled out of attics, barns and trunks where they had waited for generations, and were assembled and curated to tell the story of the who, how, when and where of this community. Each new generation has contributed to the stories of our community since 1976.
Elaine always insisted that this story was a living story, not nostalgia but a story of how far we have come and how we have changed. Most importantly, our mission as an historical society and a museum is to include your story in the whole. Elaine felt very strongly that the Historical Society nurture a sense of place, a sense of belonging and community for the people who live here, not just the old-time families but the the new families as well.
Generations have passed through this gentle landscape: Tuscarora, English, German, Scot-Irish, Black, slave and free. They cleared the forest, tilled the land, built homes, raised families, loved, fought, moved on, or were laid to rest here. Mighty armies camped on the land where children play. Your feet now tread the earth they turned and some of you may live within the walls that they raised. Now your story and their story are part of this heritage. That is what Elaine Walker, that good and gracious lady wanted for this community.
On behalf of the Lovettsville Historical Society and Museum I would like to thank the organizations and individuals who have generously contributed to the historical society in memory of Elaine Walker and to Linda, Debbie, and Carol for the honor of being part of this celebration of her life.
Please be part of the legacy. We welcome your interest, contributions and talents in preserving and enhancing the fabric of our history.