Even in death, Lela Alice Evans Marsh Probst remains close to her beloved farm where she lived for more than 65 years.
Mrs. Probst, who died in 2008 at age 83, is buried in the cemetery at Mt. Zion Methodist Church near the corner of Routes 22 and 543, just east of Bel Air. Her husband, Eugene "Whitey" Probst, who died in 2011, lies beside her.
As the crow flies, their Eva-Mar Farm, an apparent contraction of Mrs. Probst's parents' last names, Evans and Marsh, is less than a quarter mile from the couple's final resting place.
Should someone forget their connection to the farm, there's a poignant reminder etched across their shared headstone: a panorama of the farm's home, barn and pond, complete with peacocks, geese, ducks and a cat.
The 150-acre farm, which became surrounded by housing developments during the Probsts' lifetime, is expected to experience a similar fate now that they are gone.
Plans to build 144 single-family homes and a retirement community with 514 housing units are circulating in the community, and many people from among the thousands who live around Eva-Mar aren't happy about it.
Mindful of concerns about traffic, access and other issues raised at a community input meeting they held in early January, the would-be developers, Presbyterian Home of Maryland of Towson and Elm Street Development of McLean, Va., have since revised their plan for the farm.
They have scheduled a second community input meeting for Feb. 24 at Bel Air High School, beginning at 6 p.m. The snow date is Feb. 27.
A person who once worked with Mrs. Probst and then reconnected with her many years later says she would not be happy about the likely fate of her beloved farm.
"To have the picture of the property etched in your grave marker, who else would do that?" Breece Hall, 75, of Bel Air, remarked last week. "It's not a natural thing to do unless you were really attached to the property, which they were."
"I thought it was remarkable that the marker showed the etching of the property, and I didn't think much about it until was in The Aegis about this property being developed," Hall said.
Hall and Mrs. Probst worked at Baltimore Gas & Electric Company's former office on Courtland Street in Bel Air, where she was in customer service and he was a clerk in charge of organizing the books of meter readers and taking nightly deposits to various banks. He later became a meter reader.
The BGE office was once staffed by 60 people, but it closed a number of years ago. Hall said he worked there from 1957 until 1959, when he moved to New York City. The two former co-workers reconnected many years later, he said, when he was working in Pennsylvania and she ran into him on one of her frequent trips there.
"She impressed me, and I know she loved that farm," Hall recalled. "She used to talk about her farm back in those days."
Hall said he had visited Mr. and Mrs. Probst's farm, and noted Mrs. Probst kept "beautiful" rabbits.
"She loved animals," he said.
Hall said their last meeting was in the mid-1980s, about 30 years after he left BG&E. He was managing a wholesale store in Lancaster, Pa., and she came in to purchase a bathtub on a day he was not there.
Hall said Mrs. Probst asked about him, and a store employee reached him by phone. They spoke then, and he later called her at the farm about selling her the tub.
The sale did not come to fruition, though, and they did not talk again.