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.

9 thoughts on “Bad News Comes in Threes”

  1. Add one more to the list. Alan Bruns, a well-respected 20-year journalist with Charlottesville’s Daily Progress, died at 82 of heart failure Tuesday in Fredricksburg. Alan went from reporter to city editor to state editor. Then in 1970 the Worrell family over-paid for the Prog so they could escape from Appalachia. They slashed the Prog’s newsroom budget and fired the higher salaried editors like Alan who were the backbone of the news staff, leaving it up to underpaid newcomers like Dobbsy to carry on until we quit. The obit is in Friday’s Fredericksburg’s Free Lance-Star and the Prog.

  2. A minor quibble: George Cason, Jack’s amiable brother, was the driving force behind founding the Farmers Market. Jack and George were two of the original vendors, and George was back his stand at the market this (Saturday) morning with a donation jar for his brother. Also, rather than serious condition, the conventional usage in this situation is “grave condition.” According to Mann & Heimbach, Prognosis and Treatment of Burns (available on the Internet)”[i]n 1955 it was noted that there were no reports of patients older than 60 years surviving with greater than 10% burns.” While treatment has improved, “survival rates have not improved substantially in the past 20 years in elderly patients with large burns.” George says his brother Jack has 20% burns, and an infection has set in. He is 80.

  3. I wish I had something poetic and uplifting to say, but I’m not good at that. It’s just all so sad.

  4. It comes in more than threes here lately. We also have to remember this past week has brought us yet another missing young lady. I sure hope this doesn’t turn into yet another unsolved crime for this community.

  5. George Cason comes with interesting, controversial baggage. I hope the Hook decides to profile him and he has a chance to tell his story.

  6. When it’s my time there’ll just be three people graveside. The old gravedigger, the drunken preacher, and the spinster church lady with some dried up flowers leftover from a previous funeral. And you know…I think I’m OK with that.

  7. I stopped by the market today and heard from George Cason’s grandson that Jack’s infection has cleared and his vitals have improved. They expect he’ll be at the burn unit for several more weeks. Please go by the market and make a donation. And if you know of any online fundraising arrangements for Jack, please share the details.

  8. Seat belts save lives. How could someone who cares so much about eating healthy, a mother, not take a simple step to protect herself? I feel for her family but the bitter truth is her death (like the other 29-S deaths that week) was avoidable.
    Please buckle up! And make sure your kids’ car seats are properly installed and used1

  9. Mark, you are incorrect. Sometimes seat belts do save lives; however, in this instance wearing a seat belt would merely have prolonged the suffering and eventual death of Kathryn. If you bothered to read the reports of how the accident occurred, and took a second to apply your grey matter to the reports, you would see that this accident would have been fatal, period. NOT wearing a seatbelt here gave Kathryn an almost instantaneous death, and her family the (tiny) comfort of knowing that fact.

    If you want to argue that everyone should wear seat belts, please pick an example that actually provides supporting evidence for your claim.

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