Obituary for Virginia H. Smith “Jenny”

Virginia Anne Harris Smith, 77, of Clearbrook, VA, died Friday, August 31, 2012 at her home surrounded by family.

Jenny was the fourth of five children (George, Virgil Jr., Nancy, Jenny and John) born to Virgil B. Harris Sr. and Macel Keener Harris.  Virgil and Macel were educators and all their children followed suit.

The family moved from Gassaway WV to Green Bank WV in 1945 where Virgil Sr. was a high school principal and Macel the principal and teacher of a two-room schoolhouse.  During the summer the family ran a ‘camp’ for city kids.  Jenny and Nancy would help their mom with baking, cleaning and entertaining the kids.  Jenny loved children.

After high school she attended Glenville State College in WV where she studied elementary education.  She roomed with her sister Nancy and loved to tell many stories of her shenanigans with her best friend Charlotte Feltner Hyer.  Jenny loved to laugh.

She met her husband of 57 years, Harry M. Smith, at Glenville and they married in 1955.  Jenny was still in college and after graduation she joined Harry and brother, Virgil B. in Fairfax Co. VA where she taught elementary school for her entire career.  Second grade was her favorite and she worked alongside Charlotte (kindergarten) at Cardinal Forest and Cherry Run for over two decades.  Jenny loved to teach.

Jenny and Harry raised three daughters, Nancy, Jane and Anne.  The family traveled during the summer, touring the east coast in the station wagon and later the ‘camper’.  Usually heading north, they often rendezvoused with Virgil and Macel, sister, Nancy and brother, John and their families.  Camping, picnicking and visiting points of interest made for great adventure.  Later in life, car travel included brother, George and Martha where they explored the west.  More food, laughter and fun were enjoyed every summer in Green Bank where two weekends of Harris and Keener reunions brought extended family from near and far.  Jenny loved Harry and her family.

After retiring to Winchester, Jenny busied herself with her many interests.  A true renaissance woman, she was inquisitive and compassionate.  She volunteered lots of her time, saying she was busier in retirement than when working.  The church was a big part of her life and she made many friends with whom she shared her joy of the lord.  Jenny was very spiritual.

Jenny’s grandchildren were a big part of her life; Hannah and Jette Wade and Alex Rodriguez.  She loved to play games with them, acting silly, laughing and storytelling.  She was very proud of them and all are in college now.  Jenny loved her grandchildren.

Flying was not her favorite activity but she overcame to visit her daughters Anne, then in Puerto Rico and Jane, still in Alaska.  She traveled to Canada, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Italy.  The Mayan ruins of Tikal, the Vatican and Pompeii were some of her favorite sites.  Did I mention the PASTA?  Jenny loved to travel and experience different cultures.

An avid reader, she also loved to garden, play games do crossword, fish in Alaska (she bragged about this as you are probably aware), explore historical sites, visit museums and in general live life to the fullest.  Quite time with Harry should not be underrated; a couple years ago Dad stood up and kinda stumped across the room.  He looked at mom and said “Jenny, we just gotta slow down”.  Mom laughed and laughed at that.

We will all miss Jenny; Wife, Mother, Daughter, Sister, Friend.  An inspiring life she led – a flame extinguished here but lights the way in another house.  We love you Jenny.

Surviving with her husband are three daughters, Nancy Jo Smith-Wade (Randy) of Dublin, VA, Jane L. Smith (Scott Roberge) of Petersburg, AK, and Anne M. Smith (Jose Rodriguez) of Green Bank, WV; a sister, Nancy Jean Palmer (Joe); two brothers, George Harris (Martha) and John Harris (Karen); a sister-in-law, Diane Harris; three grandchildren, Hannah Wade, Jette Wade, and Alex Rodriguez; and numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews.

A brother, Virgil B. Harris, Jr, preceded her in death.

A memorial service will be held 3:00 P. M. Sunday, September 9, 2012 at the Enders & Shirley Funeral Home Chapel, Berryville with The Rev. Terrie Sternberg officiating with a celebration of life gathering following.  A private burial will be held in Green Bank, WV at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial contribution may be made in her honor to Free Medical Clinic of the Northern Shenandoah Valley, P O Box 44, Winchester, VA  22604 or to Handley Regional Library, P O Box 58, Winchester, VA  22604.

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