Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Remembering Virginia

Virginia at the local Breakfast with Santa. Yes, the creature on the right is Anna.

It is with a sad heart that I share the news that Virginia Huntoon passed away yesterday. We do not know the details yet, but we do know that a great person and a shining light in Jackson has left us. Here is a post I did a few years back:
Our friend Virginia from church penned this amazing letter to the editor to our local paper. Virginia is member of the “old guard” here in Jackson, which tends to be rather conservative. I was not, however, surprised to see this letter come from her. She is a great woman, retired teacher, social activist and all around great woman. My grandmother passed back in 99, and although she’ll never be replaced, Virginia certainly does help fill the grandma void.
She spoke to me at church one morning after her husband had passed and wanted to know about our situation. When I explained what we had to do to secure rights to each other in the time of need and to secure our adoption with Anna, she decided to write the letter.
Here is the letter:

Same-sex couples should be allowed to marry

Posted by Jackson Citizen PatriotDescription: t March 23, 2008 08:03AM

Categories: Voice of the PeopleDescription: t

SUMMIT TOWNSHIP — Having recently lost my husband of 66 years, I am acutely aware of the status of marriage in this country. Everyone hopes to find someone to love, and I was one of the lucky ones. I was with him at the end and was consulted on medical decisions. And as a widow, besides a lifetime of fond memories, I receive his pension, Social Security and health care. Sadly, not all couples benefit from this arrangement.
Marriage traditionally has been defined as between a man and a woman. But from an historical perspective, the sanctity of marriage has not always been recognized as it is today. Before the Civil War, slaves could marry, but they couldn’t prevent their loved ones from being sold and sent away at the whim of the plantation owner.
It took another century to give full rights to certain minorities. Since then, when justice was denied, we have revisited those inequities, e.g. Brown v. Board of Education or Title IX. After all, this country was formed with the intent that all citizens are treated equally.
It is time to address same-sex couple discrimination. Some states have rectified this by recognizing gay marriage or civil unions. Unfortunately, this is more than a question of semantics. This union must be a marriage, legally binding and recognized in all states, that extends status and benefits to one’s life partner — something we in the heterosexual community take for granted.
Not only was my marriage not “threatened” by extending this right to same-sex couples, I see it as a validation of the institution of marriage, a sign of monogamy with a binding commitment between two people. It is time to recognize gay rights are human rights, and to extend to all couples this security.
           Virginia Huntoon

I am honored and proud to be her friend and will miss her dearly.


  1. Logically and beautifully expressed by an amazing woman. I did not know her but I will mourn her passing.

  2. Virginia truly was an inspiratation. I will miss her stories,enthusiasm, wisdon and her fabuous canes.

    Nancy O'Neill

  3. i extend my sympathies to you and your family. she sounds like she was a fantastic lady and i applaud her vocal open mindedness on the issue of same-sex marriages (a real rarity in conservative Jackson). our community lost a really valuable member with her passing.

  4. Thank you for this heartfelt tribute, Tom. My grandma thought so highly of you and Todd and your lovely family and spoke of you often. My grandma was truly a class act who was a blessing in the lives of so many.

    (BTW, the girl on the left is Virginia's sweet great granddaughter, Hailey)