Honoring Nelle Ratrie Chilton
The KISRA family is saddened to hear of the death of Nelle Ratrie Chilton. We extend our condolences to the family as they journey through this difficult time. Nelle was admired by many in the community but none compares to her adoration like that of her family. Words are inadequate at a time like this; however, please know that the Chilton and Ratrie family are in our thoughts.
A “Servant of Servants” by Robert Frost is a poem which tells the tale of a woman who monologues her daily ordeals to a visitor who is camping out near her house. She grouses of her unheralded strenuous provision to laborers. The woman is delighted at the opportunity to meet another individual, especially a person who can drop everything and come live in the lap of nature. She gleams about her evanescent desire to do the same.
She was a shrewd businesswoman and shared her wealth of knowledge with many in the corporate and not for profit sectors, including KISRA’s previous CEO’s. She maintained an enduring friendship with several members of KISRA’s Board of Directors and was a close friend, advisor and confidante of the Chairman of the Board, the Rt. Rev. Dr. E. A. Heyliger.
Finally, the call of her work overwhelms her caprices and she ends the conversation with telling the visitor that she wished that he would not leave unless he had to. Nelle was passionate about helping others. She valued education and lifelong learning. She was instrumental in guiding the vision and long-term planning for several organizations including the Kanawha Institute for Social Research and Action Inc. (KISRA). In our infancy, KISRA benefitted greatly because of Nelle’s commitment to serving her community. Nelle was a faithful pecuniary supporter of KISRA’s lofty ambitions and used her influence to assist in transforming our dreams into reality.
Nelle was a fearless trailblazer in so many ways and demonstrated this by not allowing any aspiration to become impossible. Nelle showed us what happens when you set your mind to achieve anything. It seems like nothing was outside of her reach. With all of her accomplishment, her enthusiasm for social activism, advocacy and advancement always prevailed.
Nelle was a stellar example of what it means to be a “Servant to Servants.” She was a great example to us all and we honor the life that she lived. On behalf of KISRA’s Board of Directors and personnel, we extend our deepest sympathy. We are eternally grateful for her contributions to KISRA. Sincerely, Michael E. Jones Interim CEO KISRA, Inc.