A Life Lived: Virginia McQueen enjoyed family and friends

Published 12:20 pm Tuesday, March 28, 2023

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Virginia McQueen made family and friends a priority in her life. She could always be found helping someone. “She took the time to know what made people tick. She listened to them, she loved them, and she was always reaching out to them. She had a great heart for people,” said Norma Johnson, her Sunday School teacher at First Free Will Baptist Church.
Not only was Norma her Sunday School teacher, but she was among her closest friends and cleaned her house. “She was a very compassionate person and faithfully read her Bible. Often when I would be at Gennie’s house cleaning, I would find her doing daily Bible readings, and it was not unusual for her to stop me from my work and ask my thoughts on a verse or what I thought it meant. She was so kind and loving,” said Norma.
Gennie, as she was known to friends, died Sunday, March 19, at the age of 90. She spent the last weeks of her life at Ivy Hall Nursing Home. Gennie was the mother of Terry McQueen and was the widow of Charlie McQueen. She was a long-time resident of Blackbottom.
Terry said his mother liked a clean house. “She kept it spotless. Everything had its place,” he said.
Gennie also liked to have fun. “She enjoyed playing bingo. She had a group of Bingo buddies and they would drive down to Greenville, S.C., to play often, that is, until they all died and left her,” Terry said with laughter.
Gennie was also a long-time member of the Sycamore Shoals Hospital Auxiliary. She enjoyed volunteering at the hospital, delivering magazines and flowers to patients, helping visitors find their way around, working in the gift show, etc. Whatever there was to do, she did it. “She made a lot of friends through the auxiliary, and it about killed her when she became unable to do it,” Terry shared.
One of her best friends was Hildred Lewis, who preceded Virginia in death. Like Virginia, Hildred, too, was a member of the hospital auxiliary and they attended church together. “Mom and Hildred enjoyed watching the Ladys Vols play basketball. Once, Joe Collins took them to Knoxville to see a game, and they never forgot that,” Terry said.
Virginia also enjoyed traveling, and had been to Hawaii, California, and on several bus tours.
In her spare time, Virginia enjoyed her flowers. “Her flower garden was her favorite hobby. She enjoyed flowers, and grew different varieties…and a weed never lasted very long,” said Norma, who often weeded Virginia’s flower gardens when she became unable to tend them.
Norma shared, “Gennie was a lady. Whenever she went out, she was always dressed immaculate. Her hair was in place, and she usually wore jewelry. She took pride in her appearance.”
Terry described his mother as a very compassionate person, but “very independent.”
“She took care of family, both hers and dad’s. She was always helping someone, checking on family members. She took care of both sides of the family,” Terry said.
Virginia was the daughter of John Guy of Valley Forge and was preceded in death by all her siblings except a sister, JoAnn, who lives away. Virginia was a graduate of Elizabethton High School and formerly worked at the local rayon plants.
Terry said his mother in her younger years enjoyed swimming. “She was taking me to the pool before I could hardly walk. We would go to the old Harmon Pool in Hampton,” he shared.
He also noted that his mother was a good driver. She was a better auto driver than many men…and she liked to drive fast,” he shared with a smile. However, he noted that for the last few years, she had driven very little. “Her reflexes weren’t good, and I usually took her to get her hair fixed, to the store, wherever she wanted to go,” he shared.
“I lived across the street from her and I usually would go over early in the morning and we would have coffee together, listen to Dave Miller on the radio, and just talk. When her health worsened I spent the night with her,” Terry said.
Virginia McQueen was a friend to a lot of people and will be missed. She made people her life’s work.

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