This past Saturday, we lost a true saint. Minnie Bassett Lane went to her heavenly reward, and the world is lesser for it. Her funeral was yesterday.
Minnie and her husband B. B. (who passed away in 2004) were people of abiding faith and active members of Lane Memorial United Methodist Church in Altavista, Virginia. Both were deeply caring people, and that caring and compassion was reflected throughout their lives.
Minnie was a small woman physically, but the quiet strength of her personality and her boundless energy were absolutely contagious. Her grace and charm were real, and her ability to bring people together was nothing less than astounding. Her life was a true demonstration of Christian faith in action.
In 1956 she and B. B. created the Minnie and Bernard Lane Foundation specifically to reduce hunger, help the needy and expand the Christian faith both internationally and throughout Central Virginia. Minnie also worked tirelessly to help break down the race barriers that existed in Altavista and Virginia. In 1974 Minnie was named “Altavista’s Outstanding Citizen.” Her efforts were recognized by the NAACP in 2003 with their Community Service Award. She was also honored with the Lynchburg Humanitarian Award in 2007.
I knew Minnie through the Society of St. Andrew, my first nonprofit. At the point where Ken Horne and I had exhausted our limited ability to raise the necessary financial resources to keep the Potato Project going and growing, Saint Minnie stepped in and took us under her wing.
She not only made sure Ken and I received excellent training in fundraising, she undergirded our fundraising efforts with timely and strategic financial injections from the foundation. But more than that she truly became our own patron saint.
She hosted introductory breakfasts and luncheons for us. She introduced us to friends and others she knew who could help us grow.She took Ken and I to New York to meet with possible donors. She worked tirelessly to expand our network. Her participation and help were directly responsible for the success of this ongoing ministry that continues to feed millions of hungry citizens throughout the United States.
Minnie cared. And everyone who was privileged to know her knew she cared. Her life was a constant reflection of God’s love. Minnie was a saint, and she will be missed.