Bad News Comes in Threes

It’s been a bad last few days here in Charlottesville.

Mother, North Garden farmer, raw milk advocate and local food activist Kathryn Russell died in a car accident on 29S on Thursday night. The owner of Majesty Farm and VICFA board member was crossing 29 on Plank Road when her truck was hit by a van. She wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, and died at the scene. To learn more about Kathryn, see Meg McEvoy’s 2007 C-Ville Weekly article about local food.

Local musician and regional drumming legend Johnny Gilmore died in a house fire, also on Thursday night. He performed with just about every musician in town at one time or another—his eponymous trio, Cory Harris, Soko, Tim Reynolds, Jamal Milner, the C’ville All-Stars, and untold dozens more. It’s not yet known how the fire started, but it appears to have started at the foot of the bed in which he was sleeping, perhaps by an unattended cigarette. His 73-year-old father escaped, but is now left homeless, without the money to pay for his son’s burial. a fundraising/memorial concert is being held Sunday night at Fry’s Spring Beach Club.

Farmer and farmers market founder Jack Cason is hospitalized after a car accident a week ago, and he’s in bad shape. He drove to town while feeling dizzy, crashed, and the truck caught on fire. The eighty-year-old is at the UVA Medical Center in a medically-induced coma with severe burns, awaiting skin grafts. Many vendors at the market are donating 25% of their sales over the next month to a fund to help with his considerable medical expenses.

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