Vincent was "the brawn" of the children Harry and Rosina Pipetone Kohlerman produced, Pugh said. "His brother, Nicholas, was 'the brain' and my mother, Virginia, was 'the girl.' Her father's little girl."

Pugh's mother told her she had chosen her brother to be her godfather because he was so personable. He was just "outgoing, fun and very loving," she said.

After Vincent died, their mother, who used to sing at weddings and in choirs, never sang again, Pugh said. She kept Vincent's bedroom exactly as it was for eight years, and when she and her grandfather built a new house they included a bedroom for Vincent.

Her mother, who was 25 when the telegram came declaring her brother was dead, had a nervous breakdown. "It devastated them," Pugh said.


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As the years passed, five members of the family were named after her uncle. They were given Vincent as their first or middle name.

At the 60th anniversary of his death, in 2005, Pugh was retired and a widow and had time on her hands.

She had developed an affection for Vincent and, with it, a sense of obligation.

True, his name was included in World War II memorials at Calvert Hall College High School and McDonough School, where he was a track and lacrosse star, and inscribed in stone at Dulaney Valley Gardens, where his medals are buried with his parents.

But there would be nobody to remember who Uncle Vincent was.

"He had made this huge sacrifice and given his life for his country," Pugh said, "and one day he would be just a name. I didn't want him to be forgotten."

Pugh was familiar with Hewlett-Packard's Snapfish website — she stored photos on it and created calendars. So she used it to create a photo book about Vincent.

"The printed page is everlasting, "she said.

For six months she researched his service records, talked to people and traveled to relevant locations and took photographs.

When she received the finished product and leafed through the 20-page book, she was ecstatic.

"It turned out exactly as I had hoped it would turn out. "

She presented a copy to each of the five boys in the family who have Vincent's name.

"It felt good," she said. "I had done my part in making sure his life was not lost."

'This goes on forever'

So when it came to honoring Peg McAllen, Pugh, who had known her as a child in Wiltondale, decided to take the writings, short poems and memoirs and made them into another 20-page memorial book.

It took her days of researching, gathering photographs, re-typing and layout with help from Linda Neiderman, an artist in the group.

The book that she created — this time via Shutterbug — "was a lot of work, but it was a work of love."

The group presented it to one of Peg McAllen's three children, Towson resident Bill McAllen.

The Wednesday Writers was "a second family" for his mother, he said.

"She would be as overwhelmed, and I am and flattered they went to this effort. This book will be passed on to different generations.

"It's big step beyond sending flowers. It's interesting when someone writes about someone you love; each person sees that person differently. It's a very sweet and thoughtful gift they have given us."

Walter said the memorial book was a wonderful idea — and now she encourages others to consider such tributes to their loved ones.

"Every person is more than an obituary, good, bad or indifferent. A memorial book is a portrait. Each essay or little story, whether it's funny or sad, adds a different color to it.

"It doesn't have to be compiled by group of writers. It could be a group of friends or witches or Methodist ladies.

"It's the ultimate tribute."