Virginia Mae (Womack) Finlay

Posted: Mon 6:58 AM, Mar 11, 2013

Virginia Mae Womack Finlay died on March 5, 2013 in Williamsburg, Virginia. She was 93 years old. With the exception of a few months in California during World War II and the last three years in Virginia, she lived all of her life in Texas.

She was born in Ballinger, Texas on December 15, 1919. Her parents were Clarence A. Womack, who worked as a county judge, rancher, schoolteacher, and principal and Johnnie Mae Weathersbee Womack, a homemaker. She moved frequently as a child because of job changes for her father. She lived in El Dorado, Millersview, San Angelo, Bethel, Ballinger, and Goldthwaite where she graduated from high school in 1936. Four years later she earned a bachelor's degree in home economics from the Texas State College for Women in Denton (now Texas Woman's University).

Virginia was teaching home economics at Lohn High School when a friend introduced her to her husband-to-be, Robert Jordan Finlay (1916-2002). The meeting occurred in a drug store where Bob was treating his 3-year-old nephew to an ice cream cone. Bob was a 1938 graduate of Texas A&M College (now University) in agricultural engineering, and was working at the time for the U. S. Soil Conservation Service. They married June 14, 1941 in Lohn, Texas. Shortly thereafter Bob joined the U.S. Navy and served in WWII where he earned a Silver Star.

While Bob was in the Navy, Virginia lived in San Angelo, Texas, where their first daughter, Priscilla, was born in 1944. Their second daughter, Deborah, was born in Coleman, TX in 1948. It was in Coleman that Virginia created a beautiful, loving home with wonderful food. She was an excellent seamstress making most of the clothing for her daughters and herself.

A job change in 1956 brought them to Austin, Texas, where they lived until retirement. During that time Virginia taught home economics for 11 years at Pearce Junior High School. In 1972 they moved to Brady, Texas. While in Brady, she had time for her artistic talents. She set up a studio in her home with paints, easel, and a kiln. She took classes in oil, watercolor, and acrylic techniques and also learned to china paint. Her large and small paintings decorated their home and the homes of friends and relatives. She decorated many pieces of china with lovely roses, other flowers, berries, and other natural subjects. She won local art contests and her paintings were an exercise of love. When she wasn't painting, she was sewing and quilting. She made most of her clothes: blouses, pants, jackets, and skirts. No pattern was too difficult for her. She created numerous quilts by hand, trying her hand at many traditional patterns. Each day she prepared an elaborate meal for her and her husband, and often for friends and family. She loved to experiment with new recipes; she kept stacks of recipes that she intended to try clipped from newspapers and magazines. She was the ultimate homemaker.

Bob's illness forced a move to College Station, Texas in 1996. He died in 2002. Virginia continued to live in College Station near her daughter Priscilla until a final move to Williamsburg, Virginia in 2010 to be near her other daughter, Deborah. Virginia was a devoted member of the Church of Christ since the age of 14.

She was predeceased by her sister, Mamie Lou Womack Campbell.

She is survived by her brother, Thomas Womack of San Saba, Texas; two daughters and their husbands, Priscilla and Ludy Benjamin, of Keswick, Va., and Deborah and Darrel Garrett, of Williamsburg, Va.; five grandchildren, Melissa McCracken and her husband Todd, Melanie Benjamin and her husband, Brian Geiger, Chet Garrett, Hillary Garrett and her husband, Scott Jenquine, Hallie Garrett; and three great-grandchildren, Finlay McCracken, Benjamin McCracken, and Ione Garrett.

A memorial service is scheduled at the Fife Cemetery on April 13, 2013.
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