Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

In Memoriam: Valentine Richmond Vester, Age 96

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

In Memoriam: Valentine Richmond Vester, Age 96

Article excerpt

JERUSALEM is regarded as the center of the world by many people and the storied American Colony Hotel is a distinguished part of that center, so the death on June 15 of the proprietor of the American Colony, the witty and highly intelligent Valentine Vester, is a notable event. People all over the world who, going back many decades, have stayed at the American Colony or met the proprietor will feel a sadly nostalgic sense of loss.

It all began with an epiphany of Anna Spafford after the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. Possessed of a powerful personality, this wife of a prominent Chicago lawyer "saw" a vision of Jesus Christ returning to Jerusalem in 1900. So in 1881 the Spaffords and members of the Larsen family from Chicago and from Sweden made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem to stay.

Mrs. Vester was born Valentine Richmond in England, the daughter of a wealthy Royal Navy officer. She married Horatio Vester, a grandson of Anna Spafford, who had wed Frederic Vester in Jerusalem. When Horatio Vester's mother, the redoubtable Bertha Spafford Vester, died in the early 1960s, he had to terminate his law practice in London and get to Jerusalem to keep the American Colony Hotel going. …

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