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Fork Union Honors its Retirees for the 2021-22 School Year

Friday, May 7, 2021


This past Thursday, Fork Union Military Academy honored its four faculty and staff members who announced their retirement after this school year. Among those retiring are: Director of Dining Services Larry McIlnay will retire at the end of this month after 23 years at the Academy, Dining Hall Supervisor Gertrude (Lorraine) James after 39 years at the Academy, LTC Pat Campbell - a teacher - after two years at the Academy and teacher Sylvia Johnson after 41 years at the Academy.

Larry A. McIlnay (Director of Dining Services) | 2/16/98 – 5/31/21

Larry McIlnay came to the Academy in February of 1998 after serving in the United States Air Force from 1969 to 1973. After retiring from the Air Force, McIlnay worked in the hospitality management service for several years and stumbled upon Fork Union Military Academy after his wife, Cindi, drove past the Academy and noticed the Point of Fork Restaurant.

McIlnay jokes that he "was driving his wife crazy and she thought he needed more to do." McIlnay interviewed with then President General Jackson who quickly gave him a part-time position to train the staff to operate the new Estes Dining Hall, which turned into his current title soon after in 1998.

Throughout his time here, McIlnay enjoyed the cadets and became an advisor, golf coach, and was involved in FUMA life to the fullest. He brought Santa to FUMA for the faculty children and cadets during the holidays and watched the faculty kids grow and some became cadets and now have children of their own. To McIlnay, Alumni Weekend is like family coming home for a visit and he and the entire dining staff looks forward to it every year.

McIlnay says he was blessed to work with the best staff of people he has ever known and friendships were made and still grow to this day because of FUMA.

Gertrude (Lorraine) James (Dining Hall Supervisor) | 9/12/82 – 5/31/21

Lorraine has given 39 years of faithful service to Fork Union Military Academy's Dining Services. James started serving in the Old Dining Hall under Hatcher Hall in 1982 as lead supervisor and has progressed to Head Supervisor over the years due to her dedication to dining service.

When the dining hall moved to its present location, James was instrumental in helping everyone adjust to their new surroundings, as she learned to use new equipment and taught others was a strong part of her repertoire.

James has been responsible for many successful Trustee Dinners and special occasion meals including the 100 year anniversary celebration in 1998. She runs a tight ship, making sure the cadets, faculty and staff are well cared for.

Gertrude (Lorraine) James will be sorely missed by all. Best of luck and wishes in your new adventure!

Lt. Col. Pat Campbell (USMC Retired) | 10/10/19 – 5/31/21

Pat Campbell spent the last two years at Fork Union Military Academy teaching AP US Government and AP Comparative Government. Prior to his time at FUMA, Campbell taught AP US Government and US History at the Miller School, where he also served as the head varsity boys soccer coach. He also served at the Covenant School where he served a stint as the Dean of Students.

Prior to his career in education, Campbell served in the United States Marine Corps as a senior counsel in various capacities — this included a brief stint as a Chief Prosecutor in Okinawa, Japan from 2000-2001.

Campbell retired from the US Marine Corps at the rank of Lt. Colonel in 2006. He holds various degrees, including a BA in Government and International Studies from the University of Notre Dame, a JD from the University of Virginia’s Law School, an LLM from the Judge Advocate General’s School of the Army and a Masters in Education from the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education.

Ms. Sylvia Johnson | 9/1/80 – 5/31/21

Ms. Sylvia Johnson was hired to work at Fork Union Military Academy nearly 40 years ago by COL James Pendergrass. Over the last 40-plus years, she has been a familiar face for cadets and colleagues in the Science and Math Departments, teaching mostly Biology and Honors Geometry.

Johnson holds a BA in Biology from Carson Newman College and earned her teaching certification at Longwood University. In her free time, she enjoys working on her family farm where she will likely spend much of her time in retirement.


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