By Joselyn Watkins

They called her the Crazy Cat Lady, but her name is really Lil Rossow. This was because she scoured the bushes of the Lake Lure area looking for lost or feral cats. The felines, according to Carolyn Hotaling knew Lil’s voice. Therein lies a tale.

Photos by Shirley Landever

Carolyn said that Lil would monitor the cats behavior and find where they were. Lil did this many times keeping track of up to fifteen cats on her runs. Lil, named two of said cats Laura and George since they lived in the ‘bush’. A testament to Lil’s quirky sense of humor.

Lil made sure that the animals were fed and watered thus they became responsive to Lil’s voice as well as to the sound of her car. Lil then worked on finding homes for these furry ones. Also, with the help of Helen Jones she worked tirelessly to have the cats neutered and given appropriate shots. The Rutherford County Humane Society helped Lil and Helen in this endeavor.

Helen Jones was also very instumental in opening the Rutherford County Humane Society Thrift shop along with many other volunteers.

Interestingly enough, Lil had a co-conspirator with the “eyes on the prize” as she called her project. It seems that she had developed a friendship with a fellow animal lover Keith Ullrich. But as time went by the Ullrich’s were moving to Florida and had to empty their house of it’s contents in Lake Lure. This started the soon to come avalanche of goods coming in Lil’s direction and the decision of where to store, display and sell the items to benefit the R.C.H. S.

Keith then approached Tommy Hartzog who has a building on Buffalo Creek Road to see if the thrift shop could be housed there and Tommy and Julie were amenable to this situation. What started with the Ullrich’s household goods being sold increased to the point that Lil had to use her garage as an annex for the goods. She would even take people to view the contents at her house in order for them to purchase them if they so desired. At this point the second building on Buffalo Creek Road began to be used for the selling of used furniture. Needless to say, Lil Rossow became the life blood of the thrift shop.

The volunteers for the R. C. H. S. under the direction of Jean Hoffman and Linda Turner increased tremendously in number becoming a popular thing to do in the Lake Lure community. This group collectively soon acknowledged that the building housing the venture was badly in need of enlarging to house all the many donations. Thus the RCHS and owner Tommy Hartzog reached an agreement to share the cost of the renovation. It took about two weeks for this to take place. This included plumbing and lighting repairs and updating of paint with floor’s being epocsied and everything painted and cleaned. The new shop re-opened on September twenty seventh to 100 % positive customer reviews!

Then the group of R. C. H. S. volunteers decided that a celebration-dedication should be held on December 15, 2017. Also, they decided that the name of the thrift shop should officially be called “Lil’s Place” after the hard and tireless work of Lillian G. Rossow who got it all started and has since moved to Ohio.

The gala fund raiser and opening of “Lil’s Place “was even attended by Lil herself via telephone during the event with attendees shouting “Hello Lil”. Lil appeared to be thrilled by the whole affair.

Notably, “Lil’s Place” has become the primary source of funding for the Rutherford County Humane Society which helped 320 cats and 230 dogs in 2017. Also, over the past five years over 2900 cats and dogs have been placed in safe and loving homes.

“Lil’s Place” is located at 305 Buffalo Creek Rd. in Lake Lure, North Carolina and is open Wednesday through Saturday each week from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. It is one of the treasures of Lake Lure and you don’t know what you will find there that you just have to have. Besides, you will be helping the wonderful animals who give us so much comfort. We salute you Lil Rossow for your vision, dedication and hard work! Meow and arf, arf too!