Sunday, September 16, 2007

Remembering Lora

Let me tell you about my friend Lora.
She was one of the nicest people you could have ever met.
Born and bred in Stafford, Virginia, she loved her Marines, and in turn they loved her. After she graduated from high school she tried to get a job on Quantico because she just loved Marines so much. A few months went by and she was still unemployed so when the phone call came from the Fort Belvoir Civilian Personnel Office her mother told her she had to take the job. Essentially, Quantico Civilian Personnel never called her. But Lora would always joke and say that God knew what he was doing because if she had started work at Quantico back when she was 18, well they would have erected a statue to her because she just loved her Marines so much.
I think you get the idea.
Finally after 20+ years at Fort Belvoir she got a job on Quantico. A little older, a bit "fluffier", and truly happily married to a wonderful man (a former soldier, but that's okay) Lora still loved her Marines although this time there was no fear that they would be erecting a statue in her honor.
She still wanted to take care of them though.
Her office was always filled with Marine Corps memorabilia and she kept her candy dish full, stopping at Giant every morning to make sure that her Marines always had something. If there was a birthday celebration, she was always the first there to make food, because she just loved her Marines and would do anything for them.
And she never asked for anything in return.
As a secretary she wasn't making a ton of money, but she would spend every penny she had on her Marines (well, whatever she could without making her husband fuss at her).
She would always say, "You know, people try to give me money for this candy, but I don't want it. I just want to be remembered, and if there's a war someday and some Marines are in their fighting hole and they can think back on the lady who gave them candy and loved them so much, then I'm happy. That's all I want."
Oddly enough one of "her Marines" was attached to Lima 3/25 which took so many casualties a few years ago in Iraq and I would often wonder if the young major took time out from the horror and chaos of war to remember Lora. I'm sure he did because if you knew Lora, you loved her.
There was an occasion when our Branch went up to Gadsby's Tavern in Alexandria to have our own separate Marine Corps ball. If you have ever been stationed with or around Marines, you will know that the Marine Corps ball is THE social event of the year. Even children who are educated on Marine Corps bases come home with Marine Corps artwork on or around 10 November (mine did).
It's that big of a deal.
It is also a big deal when you choose the person to cut the Marine Corps birthday cake.
I'm sure you can already guess who was awarded the honor of cutting the birthday cake at our celebration.
She was tickled, but none of us would have it any other way because as much as she loved her Marines, we all loved her right back.
I worked with Lora for four years and I can't ever recall being upset with her - she was a sweet Southern lady who was just happy to be working around her Marines, and we were happy to be working with her.
The main comfort I can draw from her premature passing is knowing that when they bury her at Quantico National Cemetery on Thursday she will still be surrounded by "her Marines."
I can't think of anything more fitting.
I will miss her very much.

The Free Lance-Star - Date published: 9/16/2007

Lora S. Robertson

Lora Snellings Robertson, 54, of Dumfries died Friday, Sept. 14, 2007, at Potomac Hospital.

Lora was a 35-year government employee serving her last 12 years at Quantico. She was an avid reader and loved her pets and gardening.

Survivors include her husband, Russell J. Robertson; her mother, Ann Snellings of Stafford County; her brother, Gary F. Snellings and his wife, Sharon, of Stafford; father-in-law Ivan Robertson and his wife, Glenda, sister-in-law Michelle Helmka and her husband, Chuck, all of Cadillac, Mich.; a nephew, Ernie Snellings and his wife, Deanna, of Stafford; a niece, Stephanie Snellings of Fredericksburg; two great-nephews, Carey W. Snellings and Kyle White; and several aunts, uncles, and cousins.

A funeral will be held at noon Thursday, Sept. 20 at Covenant Funeral Service, Fredericksburg, with the Rev. Beverly Beach officiating. Interment will follow at 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20 in Quantico National Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19, at the funeral home.

Memorials may be made to the American Diabetes Association, Box 1131, Fairfax, Va. 22038-1131.

Online guest book at


Jennifer said...

I'm in tears. Darn it. 54 years young. I hate it when the good go young. She'll be in my thoughts and prayers. God bless her. Thanks for sharing her story.

Kat said...

What a wonderful tribute. She sounds like a wonderful woman.

Purl said...

What a beautiful tribute! I am so sorry for your loss.