Virginia Rowell Coolidge(1915 - 2013)

Virginia Rowell Coolidge
July 3, 1915 - January 18, 2013
Resident of Los Altos, California
On Friday afternoon, January 18, 2013, Virginia Rowell Coolidge (Jinny) died peacefully in her sleep. For the past several years, Virginia (Mrs. Joseph Barlow Coolidge) was a resident of The Terraces, also known as Pilgrim Haven, in Los Altos, California. She was born on July 3, 1915 and died at the age of 97.
Memorial Service for Virginia R. Coolidge will be held at: 2:00 pm on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at Christ Episcopal Church, 1040 Border Road, Los Altos, CA
Virginia was the fourth of five children born to her mother, Gertrude Mercer Rowell, and father, Major General Frank Wheaton Rowell. As part of a military family, she lived on many Army posts both in the United States and in Panama. At the age of 25, Virginia moved to Palo Alto, California with her then retired father and mother, and daughter Virginia Dumont Brown. She later remarried and gave birth to a son, John Frederick Ballard. She is survived by John's father, Walter John Ballard. In 1964, she married retired Colonel Joseph Barlow Coolidge, became step mother to Judy Barlow Coolidge and lived in Santa Clara, California. They later traveled to Peterborough, New Hampshire where they lived for two years, before returning to settle in Saratoga, California where they lived until shortly after Colonel Coolidge's death.
Virginia is survived by her daughter Jinny and her two children, five grandchildren and one great grandson; her son John and his wife Ruth and their children and grandchildren; her step-daughter Judy and her children and grandchildren. She is also survived by her sister Gertrude Rowell Dressler's children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and her sister Catherine Rowell Doxey's grandchildren.
Family members who died prior to Virginia's passing were her mother, Gertrude Mercer Rowell and her father, Major General Frank Wheaton Rowell, a baby brother deceased at 18 months, her two sisters, Gertrude and Catherine, Catherine's two sons, Douglas and Patrick Hearn, and Virginia's brother Frederick Mercer Rowell. Her first husband, Colonel Charles Edward Brown died in 1982 and third husband, Colonel Joseph Barlow Coolidge, died in 1988.
Virginia was an interesting human being with many talents, for art, writing and flower arranging. She also designed and created crewel embroidery for priest's robes at Holy Trinity Church in Menlo Park, California. She volunteered over an extended period of time at the Veterans Hospital in Palo Alto. Most of the years while being a single mother raising children, she worked to support them. She worked for several years at Stanford University as secretary to the Dean of Men, and later, for a number of years, as the school secretary at Green Gables Elementary School in Palo Alto. Virginia traveled by bus to her job at Stanford University which meant a good deal of walking. Saturdays were spent doing the wash and on Sundays. after attending church and cooking dinner, Virginia sometimes surprised and pleased her children by making fudge. Christmas was simple, filled with love and beautiful memories, not of material things but sweet memories to last a lifetime. All of her life, she shared her wisdom in a quiet and unforgettable ways and for all this, we her children and grandchildren, are grateful. We've received treasures to be sure, not the least of which was Virginia's story-telling. We will miss her but her gifts live on in our hearts.

Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Feb. 10, 2013