The life of Emma Carmichael was celebrated at the East Chop Tennis Club on Sunday, July 26. The Reverend Cathlin Baker presided over the service. The clubhouse was packed.

Rev. Baker set the tone for the service in her opening remarks by praising Emma for working to make East Chop an inclusive community and for her caring heart. Danny Whiting and David Stephens led those present with guitars in Morning Has Broken, but the key to the service was the touching remembrances.

I learned from daughter Lee Hunsaker that Emma was a great sports fan. The high school girls field hockey team will play a game in Emma’s honor this fall.

Grandson Peter Hunsaker named his grandmother Gigi as a toddler. It was one of the first words he spoke. Peter told stories of how his kids both loved and appreciated their great-grandmother.

Grandson Philip Hunsaker was always in trouble as a little boy. The question for Philip was whether he was in the will or not. Philip thanked his grandmother for forgiving him. “She was so easy. I would cut her grass, and I was back in the will,” Philip said with a smile. “She was always there for me.”

“Emma Crowell Carmichael: the initials ECC stand for East Chop Caretaker,” said daughter Anne Lemenager. Anne then told a touching parable about a woman, like Emma, who was a compassionate caretaker for her family.

“There were four chairs in my mother’s house,” Kate Hancock said. “One for Ellie Kranz, one for Nora Muller, one for Emma Carmichael, and one for Sally Appenzellar, my mother. Emma was the last of these four great friends to die, and she was the best.”

Joan Potter said there were no past tense verbs with Emma. “She is everywhere, a living presence, a splendid lady.” David Stephens echoed that theme. “With Emma,” he said, “there are no goodbyes. She will always be with us in our hearts.” She certainly was on Saturday July 26 at the tennis club. East Chop will long remember her.

Six weeks ago, a long way from here, another memorial service was held. Remember the Marlboro Man? Darrell Winfield was the cowboy featured in Marlboro cigarette ads for 40 years. He died of a heart attack at his ranch in Riverton, Wyo. last January. A memorial service honoring his life was held on the ranch on June 13.

A Wyoming congressman spoke at the event. An Arapahoe Indian from the reservation read a Native American prayer. His grandson led Winfield’s horse into the large barn where the ceremony was held, allowing Winfield’s son to remove the saddle and retire the horse to pasture. Frank Bergon delivered the main eulogy.

Frank first came to East Chop 40 years ago with his new wife Holly Neil Bergon, the daughter of Toni and Frank Neil. Frank recently retired as a professor of English and creative writing at Vassar College. He has written and edited 12 books, including four novels, the latest of which is entitled Jesse’s Ghost. He is currently working on a nonfiction book which profiles private and public figures from the San Joaquin Valley in rural California, where he was originally from.

Holly also taught creative writing at Dutchess Community College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. until her recent retirement. She has published poems in several literary journals which include the Sewanee Review and Ploughshares. Holly and Frank became residents of East Chop in December 2012. As I left their home and looked across the street at courts five, six, and seven, Holly reminded me that her father had been part of a crew that built fences for those courts in the 1970s. “Yes, Rick, he spent a lot of time singing on those ladders,” Holly said, responding to my natural question about her father. East Chop is blessed to have two accomplished writers taking up full-time residence in Holly’s family home.

Finally, I have an important correction to make. A friend called me last Friday and said: “Rick, you have finally become a journalist. You made a big mistake.” That mistake was in reporting a rumor that we had sadly lost Janet Jeffers. When I called the Jeffers to apologize, both Janet and Henry laughed at the news. I hung up the phone thinking how lucky I was to be dealing with two people who are such class acts.

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