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Amine Cosby Kellam

1916 - 2014 | Obituary Condolences
Amine Cosby Kellam Obituary
Amine Cosby Kellam

Jamesville - Amine Cosby Kellam, 98, widow of the late Emerson Polk Kellam, and longtime resident of Jamesville, Virginia, passed away on June 14, 2014. Born April 8, 1916, she was the eldest of five children born to Dr. William Lee Cosby and Amine Cobb Cosby of Painter, Virginia.

After spending two years at Mary Baldwin College, Amine earned a BA from Wittenberg University. She earned an MA in English literature from Ohio State University the following year.

Amine's strong work ethic and numerous interests combined to produce a life marked by meaningful involvements and significant accomplishment.

One of her greatest passions was the environment. Known in her earlier married years in some circles as the "trash lady," she routinely donned gloves and rubber boots and picked through household trash left in roadside ditches in order that she might identify and attempt to reform the offender. In the early 1970s she chaired the Delmarva Advisory Council's Conservation Committee, and during her years on this committee Northampton County became the second county in Virginia to adopt the green dumpster-landfill system. She also worked for passage of a wetlands protection bill by the Virginia General Assembly and for many years served as the only Virginian on the Committee to Preserve Assateague Island, an initially Maryland volunteer group which was successful in saving the island from development. Most notably, she headed up the Shore's all-volunteer, multi-award-winning Clean-Up Northampton-Accomack Counties' Committee, the most significant accomplishment of which was to coordinate with the US Army at Fort Eustis the removal of 4,211 junk or abandoned cars from locations throughout the Shore in 1974-75.

Amine was devoted to music. She was a proficient pianist and violinist and played violin at Belle Haven Presbyterian Church for 55 years, at which she also served as a deacon, elder, and trustee. She also played violin in the ESO Ensemble into her nineties. Teaching music professionally for a few years after college, she formed and directed on a volunteer basis the musical group The Northampton Lads in the 1950s and gave violin lessons, pro bono, to children in the 1970s and 1980s. Musical composition was another one of Amine's interests, with The Golden W, written for Wittenberg University, and A Little Strip of Land, about the Eastern Shore, exemplifying both her talent and loyalties.

Amine's list of interests also included writing. In addition to various shorter articles, she published two books: Once A Shoreman, detailing life and culture on the Eastern Shore, and A Shoreman's Travel Tales, describing her various travels beyond the Chesapeake.

Amine spent many hours in The Garden Club of the Eastern Shore, serving as president, flower show judge, and chairman of the Garden Club of Virginia's Journal Committee. She opened her home on Nassawadox Creek for Historic Garden Week on numerous occasions, and many visitors enjoyed visiting Lochwood, where Amine was known not only as a gracious hostess but also, among close friends, as the person who, as part of her annual "hog killing" operation, personally cured one of the best hams in Virginia.

Amine also was passionate about preserving the Eastern Shore's rich history. She was a founding member of The Eastern Shore Historical Society in 1957 and was one of the early players involved in the purchase and structural rescue of the historic home Kerr Place (now known as Ker Place). She served on the board of the Historical Society for many years and devoted a chapter in her first book to the Historical Society's first three decades. Later in life she became interested in the project to create a museum to commemorate the history and culture of the Eastern Shore Barrier Islands. She became a founding board member of The Barrier Islands Center and served on its board for many years. There is a Cobb room in the Center for which she donated many artifacts, including a harp and a sofa from her family's Cobb's Island Hotel. She was also a member of the Mayflower Descendants, Daughters of the American Revolution, and the Colonial Dames.

Amine's diverse interests and work ethic earned her numerous awards, most notable of which were "Outstanding Citizen of the Year," awarded by the Eastern Shore of Virginia Chamber of Commerce in 1981 and the "Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson Award," from Keep America Beautiful in 1984. She was the first female to receive the Chamber award and one of only two Virginians at the time to have received Keep America Beautiful's highest honor. She also was recognized by Governor Mills E. Godwin, Jr., in 1976 "in grateful appreciation for distinguished public service rendered to enhancing the natural beauty of Virginia." Among others recognizing Amine for her service were Wittenberg University, Mary Baldwin College, Keep Virginia Beautiful, and the Garden Club of Virginia ("de Lacy Gray Medal for Conservation").

Her loving survivors include daughter, Caramine Kellam, and her husband, Fred Greenway; son, Emerson Polk Kellam, Jr., and his wife Roberta; five granddaughters: Kellam White, Caramine White, Somers Farkas, Mary Grayson Siver, and Rebecca Polk Kellam; and great-grandson, John R. Siver, III. Amine also leaves behind five nieces: Paige Bartholomew, Marsha Robins, Michele Hicklin, Martha Lee Rogers, and Barbara Anne Cosby; and eight nephews: John Robins, Stan Robins, Barton Robins, Mike Robins, Scott Webb, Sean Webb, Rust Foley, and Gary Gibb.

She was predeceased by a brother, Col. William Lee Cosby, Jr., and three sisters: Martha Matthews, June Williams, and Lucia Webb.

Following a private interment at Belle Haven cemetery, a Celebration of Life service will be held at the Hermitage on the Eastern Shore (23610 North Street, Onancock, Va.) on Tuesday, June 17, 2014, at 2:00 p.m., with Rev. Joe McKnight officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to The Barrier Islands Center, P. O. Box 206, Machipongo, Virginia 23405, or to The Eastern Shore of Virginia Historical Society, P. O. Box 179, Onancock, Virginia 23417.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at

Arrangements were made by the Doughty Funeral Home in Exmore, Virginia.
Published in The Virginian Pilot on June 17, 2014
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