Virginia Lee Thompson Elverson When diagnosed in late January with a terminal illness, Virginia gave her family strength and comfort by assuring us that this was "just a rite of passage", that she had lived a wonderful life, and that she was ready for the next step. She made that passage on March 11, 2011 with the same dignity with which she lived her life.
Virginia was born on February 11, 1925 in Ft. Worth, Texas to Joseph Gilbert Thompson and Virginia Lee Hendrick. Her family moved to Houston in 1927 where she attended school and graduated from Lamar High School in 1942. While there, Virginia supported the war effort by knitting "bundles for Britain". Beginning in the fall of 1942 she attended Rice Institute.
In the spring of 1943, she visited her family in Greenville, Texas where her father was stationed as a Captain in the Air Force. There she met her future husband Robin Andrew Elverson who was an officer in the Royal Air Force temporarily stationed at Majors Field. After the war Robin returned to the United States where they were married and made their home in Houston.
Virginia had many interests and became involved with a number of organizations as a volunteer. She was President of the Museum of Natural Science Guild, a member of the Board of Directors, and Chairman of the Volunteers of the Museum of Fine Arts and a member of the Board of Advisors.
Virginia was a great patron of the arts. She was a member of the Board of Directors of the Houston Symphony Society, also serving as Vice President of Civic Affairs, and Vice President of Musical Affairs, Houston Symphony Society. Virginia and Robin sponsored the first chair in the trumpet section of the Houston Symphony for over 20 years.
In 1967 Virginia and Robin bought a farm near Round Top, Texas. The family's energies were focused on restoring the old German farmhouse and furnishing it with period antiques. The farm was given a Texas Historical plaque and was featured in a number of magazines and books. Virginia and Robin became involved with a number of local cultural events and became contributors to the Winedale Restoration, The Winedale Shakespeare Festival and Festival Hill. Virginia was a recipient of the Miss Ima Hogg Historical Achievement Award for historic preservation.
Virginia had a great interest in antique furniture and the decorative arts. She was a member of the first class of docents at Bayou Bend Collections, Museum of Fine Arts; tour chairman in 1963-1965, and the Provisional Chairman in 1966. Her interest in the decorative arts led her to attend courses at the Attingham School, British National Trust in England in 1973.
While serving as head docent at Bayou Bend she became interested in early American cooking and eating habits. She and her good friend, Muffy McLanahan, were convinced by Miss Ima to compile their research in a book which resulted in the publishing of "A Cooking Legacy" in October, 1975. Their good friend, Betty Jo Duson, illustrated the book with drawings of early American cooking implements, vessels, pottery, and other period pieces related to cooking and eating.
Virginia's interest in cooking continued to grow and in 1981 she attended The Cordon Bleu in London, becoming a professional food consultant and writer.
She was the founding chairman of The Houston Culinary Guild and the founding chairman Houston Chapter, American Institute of Wine and Food. She was editor (and compiler) of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts Cookbook which was published in 1983, and a consultant for Texas the Beautiful Cookbook in 1985.
Virginia worked as a restaurant consultant at a number of restaurants including Brennan's of Houston Restaurant, 1980, 1981, 1982 and The Brazos Belle, Burton, Texas, 1983, 1984. She was hired as food consultant at Brown & Root's V.I.P. Fishing Lodge, Duck Key, Florida, and the Maynor Lake Hunting Camp, West Columbia, Texas.
She was a member of the International Association of Cooking Professionals, and was the Communications Committee Chair in 1981, 1982, 1983, as well as a member of the Nominating Committee in 1981, 1982, and Co-Chair of their National Meeting in 1983.
In 1991 she wrote "Gulf Coast Cooking ? Seafood from the Florida Keys to the Yucatan" which was published by Scherer Publishing Company.
Virginia authored a number of food related articles for Houston Home and Garden Magazine, Ultra Magazine, Bon App?tit Magazine, Cooks' Magazine, Family Circle Magazine, and News Commentary (the newsletter of the International Association of Cooking Professionals).
She worked as a cooking teacher giving private lessons in her home from 1977 to 1983. She served as the Director of the Houston Home and Garden Cooking School in 1979 and 1980.
Virginia was also an accomplished gardener. She was a member of Town and Country Garden Club, and The Garden Club of Houston. One of her greatest joys was participating at The Houston Bulb Mart every year with many, many wonderful friends.
Virginia is preceded in death by her husband Robin Andrew Elverson. She is survived by her daughter Ginny and son-in-law Patrick D. Welch of Austin, her son Devitt J. Elverson of New York, two granddaughters Virginia Lee Welch and Elizabeth Elverson Welch of Los Angeles, California, her brother J. Gib Thompson and sister-in-law Nancy Hill Thompson of Houston, sister-in-law, Elizabeth Daphne Joy Elverson of England, and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
A Memorial Service will be held at The Church of St John the Divine 2405 River Oaks Blvd., Houston, Tx. at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, March 16,2011.
The family invites friends to visit in her home on Sunday, March 13, 2011 after 5:30 p.m.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that charitable donations be made to the Houston Symphony, The James Dick Foundation at Festival Hill, Round Top, Texas, or The Houston Hospice.
The family would like to thank her caregivers, nurses and doctors of Houston Hospice and Baylor Clinic for their professional and loving support.
Published in Houston Chronicle on Mar. 13, 2011