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Parade grand marshals are ‘pride of Urbanna’

Kenneth and Jeannine Rowe
by Tom Chillemi
The Middlesex community is a better place because of people like Jeannine and Kenneth Rowe, who have been chosen as the grand marshals of the December 4 Urbanna Hometown Christmas Parade.

“To me, they are the pride Of Urbanna and good examples of what our community represents,” said parade chairman Lois Jean Brooks. “They are both hard-working volunteers and they care about the community in which they live.”

Urbanna Mayor Beatrice Taylor has worked many years with Jeannine in the Middlesex County Volunteer Fire Department Woman’s Auxiliary. “She’s always there if you need her,” said Taylor. Jeannine and Kenneth are good examples of what we all should be—kind, generous and caring.”

The Rowes are somewhat reluctant honorees, preferring to work behind the scenes. “I enjoy volunteer work and I love people. That’s why I do it,” said Jeannine. “My reward is helping other people.”

Jeannine shuns the spotlight and volunteers without any thought of recognition. “It’s a wonderful honor, but there are a lot more people who deserve to be grand marshal,” she said.

The Rowes have been active in the community for over 50 years. In 1958 Kenneth joined the Middlesex County Volunteer Fire Department (MCVFD), and Jeannine joined the MCVFD Woman’s Auxiliary.

Kenneth responded to fires and emergencies for more than 25 years, including the big fire at Rosegill’s main house in the late 1970s. He turns 80 on December 24 and is now an honorary fire department member.

Jeannine is still very active, helping with the many auxiliary activities and other groups. If you want to keep up with her, you’d better wear some walking shoes. She is very active in the Middlesex Woman’s Club, of which she has been a member for more than 50 years and has served five terms as president. She also was chosen to be on the Eastern President Council for two years.

Jeannine was the second woman elected to the Urbanna Town Council and served a two-year term in the early 1980s. She also served on the Middlesex County Litter Committee and Better Business Committee.

Jeannine loves to cook and arrange flowers. She is a longtime member of the John Mitchell Garden Club. She enjoys singing in the Chesapeake Chorale, and she still sings in the Urbanna Baptist Church Choir, just as she has since 1986. 

“I enjoy my church and try to serve the Lord every day,” said Jeannine. “He’s good to both of us.”

Kenneth is a retired machinist. He worked 43 years at the Newport News Shipyard. He worked his way up to the title of First Class Specialist and received the Master Ship Builder award. It was his job to dismantle broken parts or machines and evaluate the repairs needed. Among the ships Kenneth worked on are the USS Eisenhower and the USS Nimitz aircraft carriers.

Kenneth is a member of Remlik Wesleyan Church. He went there one Sunday and liked the preacher, so he just kept attending that church.

Twice a month, the Rowes serve Meals on Wheels and get a great amount of satisfaction from visiting with the recipients and helping them if they are in need. Some of the people remember Jeannine from when she was a medical assistant for 13 years with Dr. Joseph Edward Robins in Saluda.

Jeannine and Kenneth were both born at home in Middlesex. Both weighed less than 3 pounds at birth. Somehow they survived, and the community is a better place for that.

“They always have a smile and a wave for you,” said Brooks, “and they both are always glad to see you. It is a great pleasure to honor them as this year’s grand marshals.”
The Urbanna Christmas Parade begins at 7 p.m. on Friday, December 4.

Prior to the parade at 6 p.m., the Lights in

Honor or Memory Tree will be lit next to the Middlesex Woman’s Club building (see related article on Page A5 of this week’s Sentinel).

From 5:30 to 7 p.m. “Nate Sparks and the Pamunkey River Ramblers” band will present Christmas music at the Urbanna Firehouse.

The firehouse concession stand opens at 4:30 p.m. It will close for the parade, but will re-open after the parade. This is the first year food will be sold after the parade. The menu includes hamburgers, firehouse hot dogs, homemade barbecue with slaw, French fries and beverages.

There will be a free Santa party for all children after the parade inside the firehouse.

All people who are in the parade are asked to stop by the firehouse after the parade for the announcement of winners and presentation of awards.

Anyone still interested in being in the parade should call Brooks at 758-4717 by Friday, November 27.

posted 11.25.2009

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