Virginia Elizabeth McCormick | Passages
December 16, 2009 · Updated 4:58 PM
Virginia Elizabeth McCormick
March 3, 1929 – Dec. 14, 2009
A resident of San Juan Island since 1989, Virginia Elizabeth McCormick died on Dec. 14, 2009 at Islands Convalescent Center after a brief battle with cancer. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 19, at St. David’s Episcopal Church.
After surviving a three-car crash at age 19, Virginia dropped out of Occidental College to begin a teaching career on an emergency credential. She went to UCLA and got her B.A. from the University of Redlands.
Over her 40 years of teaching, she taught all the elementary grades, but concentrated on first grade and kindergarten. Her last 10 years she team-taught as a bilingual Spanish teacher in a neighborhood with many ESL students. From that experience, she and her teaching partner developed a series of 32 books of lesson plans, teaching the entire kindergarten curriculum through art lessons. The series proved to be very effective, and spread throughout all 50 states and many foreign countries. In 2005, she was invited to Dubai to workshop with teachers from 70 schools in the Middle and Far East.
Along the way, she was always full of energy and fun. She raised six children. After hearing a Pete Seeger concert, she taught herself banjo and guitar. She studied wheel pottery under Robert Westevelt, and with two other women opened a small art gallery. She studied harmony under Russell Baldwin and wrote two original compositions.
After moving to Friday Harbor in 1989, Virginia came under the spell of Martha Gubelman. From then on, she played keyboard for many musical productions. Virginia was fortunate to have a spiritual home at St. David’s Episcopal Church, where she worked with many choir members and soloists to enrich the services.
Virginia is survived by her husband, Jim; her brother, Charlie, of Riverside, Calif.; her son, Jimbo, of Friday Harbor; her daughters, Kristen and Maria, of Santa Rosa, Calif.; her sons, Joseph and Peter, of Kauai; her son, Tom, of Twisp, Wash.; and several grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations may be made to The American Cancer Society or to the St. David’s Church Building Fund.
— Family of Virginia Elizabeth McCormick