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From the Publisher's Desk – 'Hats off' to an amazing lady

As a member of the male population of Unicoi County, I am a little jealous of the offerings the local women have to partake of. It is quite impressive hat we have such a social elite status in Unicoi County, with a multitude of offerings. There are book clubs, the Women’s Club, Get Acquainted Club, dining out groups and more.
These women have themes to their gatherings, delicious, dainty foods, and highly decorated surroundings, while helping the community through various ways of fund raising and projects. With most of these clubs, the name of Daphne Linville was synonymous.
I learned early on that it’s pronounced “Daf-nuh” not “Daf-knee.” I also learned that the pronunciation difference was fitting, because “Daf-nuh” was unique and should stand out from the “Daf-knees.” And, she did stand out in a very positive way. She was a society icon – a dame of social times that seemed to only exist in the past.
I learned Sunday that this unique lady had passed away. She got up Sunday morning, prepared to go to Harvest Meal with friends at Erwin Presbyterian Church and, from what I understand, had heart complications. It was such a shock. She was one of a kind and someone that cannot be replaced in her many ranks of service to this community.
Those who knew Daphne probably associated her with hats. She had a collection of colorful, lavishly decorated hats. In fact, you rarely saw her without a hat on. It seemed to be her trademark. I think hats are beautiful and admire women who will add that finishing touch of style to their wardrobe.
Daphne had dressy hats and lavish hats with plumes. She could find one to go with any outfit, any color and suffice for any occasion.
Daphne contributed articles for the local Get Acquainted Club. We used a photo of her with those columns. They were written in a very personal, descriptive way by her. Of course, in the byline photo, she was wearing a hat. She would often come in and ask that we change the photo for the season. It would not be proper to be wearing a summer-style hat in the bleak months of winter.
In her articles, she would describe the meeting locations, the table centerpieces, decorations, food and special little details done by the hostess. It was like a flash from newspapers of the past, with the beautiful, flowery writings of that time. You could certainly picture yourself there by her descriptions.
Daphne was an excellent cook and I often would get to the Unicoi County Memorial Hospital Auxiliary Bake Sales early enough to get her delicious treats. She was always quick to point them out to me.
The Auxiliary also does a wonderful meal each year where they present checks to the hospital departments to help with the purchase of items needed. The checks would come from multiple fund raising events and bake sales the club organized throughout the year.
Daphne would call me to be at the check presentations and join them for the meal. I would often sit at her table and she would make sure to let me know which items she made so I could be sure and try them. They were always special, like she was.
Daphne was not camera shy, but then, she was always dressed in her best. I can’t say that I ever saw her in anything casual. Everything was always stylish and flattered her petite size and large personality.
I first got to know Daphne through her years as manager at Sunnycrest Apartments. She was over them for the early years of operation and was due to much of the initial success. As long as I have known her, she continued to work closely with the newspaper. She realized the importance of the printed word and the importance of getting things to us.
Later, with many of the clubs, she would start calling a week or more before the event to let me know so I could have someone there. I would expect another call or two as the date approached, just to make sure I hadn’t forgotten.
If it was an article she turned in for print, she would usually ask to see me personally, so I would be aware of its importance to her. Heaven help me if I didn’t get it in the next issue due to space. I would hear from Daphne the moment she got her copy of The Erwin Record to see if I had overlooked it.
She kept clippings and scrapbooks of the club events for each particular group. For many, it helped them to achieve acclaim on a higher level with state and national status. She had all aspects covered and she kept her contacts updated on all levels as well.
At Christmas, I could always expect Daphne to come by the office with a box of Russell Stover chocolates. She would tell me to share it with the staff in appreciation for all we had done to work with her throughout the year.
She was sincere and polished from start to end with every project she was involved with. I noticed in Daphne’s obituary that she was 90 years old. She didn’t look it and certainly didn’t act it. She had aged gracefully and looked much younger than she was. Daphne will certainly be missed in our community, local clubs, church congregation and our individual lives, but her legacy of style and beautiful hats will live on in our minds for years to come.