Virginia Pattison

    The following is the talk which her brother, William, gave at her memorial service:

Remembering Virginia

    "Virginia was born June 24, 1928 - the 4th of 4 children in the family of a prosperous small-town pharmacist and his wife, a woman of unusual talent as both a writer and musician. Her mother would be setting forth, before many years had passed, on an independent life-course, and to it Virginia's fate was going to be attached.

    The autumn of 1935 found mother and daughter in Chicago, Illinois; by the autumn of 1940, they had re-located to mid-town Manhattan. They continued in the New York City life until the summer of 1947, when they took up residence here on the Eastern Shore, on the northern outskirts of Salisbury. The time had come for Virginia to complete her schooling, and this she did, graduating with the Wicomico High School class of 1948.

    Almost immediately, Virginia assumed the role she loved--a position in the community that permitted her to maintain her natural modesty while pleasantly and helpfully relating herself to her fellow human beings. She became a salesperson, presenting herself at a retail counter day after day with the cheerfulness that would come to be her "trademark". And she began to achieve that sense of herself as a contributor to the sum-total of goodness on this earth for which we all remember her.

    After only a few years of try-out at other workplaces, Virginia arrived at Kuhn's Jewelers, in downtown Salisbury, the firm to which she dedicated her efforts--and from which she drew strength and direction--for the following 41 years.

    Surveying Virginia's life over those years, one discovers a person of whom all of us might not be fully aware. To take up three aspects of the discovery--
    First, though exceptionally "private" by common standards, Virginia was astonishingly active in corresponding with, and otherwise keeping in contact with, other people. By conservative count, she maintained an exchange relationship with at least 100 far-flung relatives and friends, sharing with them information, attention, and, yes, love.
    Second, though a person of limited means, Virginia was nothing short of outstanding as a benefactor. On the one hand, she shared her income with numerous Christian charities. She tithed without default, supporting an orphan in the Middle East and fostering the good works of many American churches and other institutions. On the other hand, as a Salisbury resident, she was the generous helper of a circle of individuals, entertaining them at dinner, aiding them in getting about, and assisting them in their purchases.
    Third, though always extremely unassuming, Virginia was a person of unswerving convictins--convictions rooted in a thorough and repeated reading of the Bible. She was, in fact, a close student of the Bible--and, as well, a restless searcher for the church which would, in both pulpit and pew, satisfy her demands for an interpretation of the Scripture that was right for all occasions and all time.

    To introduce what remains to be said, in this briefest of reminiscences of our Virginia, let it be known that she said of herself, "I am a recorder". And so she was.
    As a recorder she advanced at Kuhn's to the position of Secretary (a title she greatly treasured).
    As a recorder, she documented, in photographs, much of her life, and all of her travels.
    As a recorder, she kept a running account of personal purchases and other financial transactions that few of us could rival.
    As a recorder, she kept a birthday book which was her guide to well-wishing throughout the year.
    And, as a recorder, she kept a daybook.
    To learn from Virginia's daybook is to confirm all that has been reported or implied so far, and to be assured of this as well: for Virginia there was no such thing as being alone, from the evening in 1966 of her first "going out" with Merrill Burhans. Life for Virginia from then to the end was life with Merrill. He brought her happiness.
    Even when a malignancy began to bring her down, Virginia was her continuing smiling self. Her faith and her frined--and her own marvelous determination--prevailed.
    When the end came, early in the afternoon of Friday, October 16, (1992) we may be confident that, with Virginia's failing breath, there was intense inward prayer, and there was loving awareness of Merrill at her side."