Virginia Elizabeth Pearce
Virginia Elizabeth Pearce Packert, of Lynchburg, Virginia, died May 7, 2014, at the age of 86, as a result of a bout with pneumonia. She was born on June 21, 1927, on her family's cotton plantation on the banks of Bayou Boeuf in Cheneyville, Louisiana, the daughter of Cornelia Elizabeth Fullilove and Paul Reed Pearce. She grew up and attended schools in Cheneyville. Refusing the offer to be sent to her mother's alma mater, Randolph-Macon Woman's College, for its lack of men and in fear she would not be allowed to smoke cigarettes there, she chose instead to attend L.S.U., where she majored in microbiology and earned her B.S. degree in 1948. Seeking adventure, she then joined the Navy. She was sent to Illinois to train for the Navy Hospital Corps, and there she met Gilbert Norris Packert (Pack) of Popple Creek, Minnesota; they quickly fell in love, and Virginia left the Navy to marry Pack in 1949.
She and Pack led the life of a Navy couple, moving often, living in California, Texas, Connecticut, and Egypt until Pack retired from the military in 1963. They had two daughters. They settled on family property that Virginia inherited in Stonewall, Louisiana; Pack worked in area hospitals, and Virginia became reacquainted with family and old friends, brought up her daughters, and pursued an interest in family history. When her daughters were grown, she renewed her old interest in art and watercolor painting.
After Pack died in 1997, Virginia moved to Lynchburg, Virginia, to be close to her daughter Beth's family. Having learned to use the internet, she rekindled an old love interest with a college friend, moved to El Paso, Texas, and married Harold Leininger in 2000; he died shortly thereafter in 2001, and she returned to live in Lynchburg. She enjoyed her later years by painting, reading, spending time with her daughters and grandchildren, and staying in touch with her family and friends by telephone, mail, email, and Facebook. She was a formidable player of Words with Friends, having honed her skills by years of playing Scrabble with Pack.
She was preceded in death by both husbands, her parents, her brother Charles Edward Pearce, and her niece Patricia Lane Pearce Mingee. She is survived by her daughter G. Beth Packert and husband, Richard Burke, and their sons, Christopher Packert and Jeremy Burke; and her daughter Bonnie K. Packert and husband, Fred Watkins.
She is also survived by her half-brother, Paul Reed Pearce, Jr., his wife, Diane, their three sons, and their grandchildren; a half-sister, Mary Reed Pearce Vierling, and her daughter; a niece and two nephews and their families--Lionel and Betsy Pearce Stafford, their four daughters, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren; Eddie and Roxann Pearce, their son, daughter, and grandchildren; Ralph and Rhonda Pearce, their three sons and one daughter, and grandchildren; and the son of her niece Pat, Jason St. Martin, his wife Rhonda, and their two daughters. She is also survived by her dearest life-long friend, Mary Lea Paine McNutt of Cheneyville, Louisiana.
Virginia will be buried in the churchyard of Trinity Episcopal Church in Cheneyville, Louisiana, less than half a mile from where she was born, next to her husband Pack and surrounded by dozens of graves of her family, who have lived along Bayou Boeuf for two hundred years. The graveside service will take place on Saturday, May 24, 2014, at 11 a.m., followed by a reception at Loyd Hall. In lieu of flowers, you may make a donation to the preservation of Trinity Church (P.O. Box 223, Cheneyville, LA 71325), or to another
. The family is being assisted by Tharp Funeral Home in Lynchburg, Virginia, and Melancon Funeral Home in Bunkie, Louisiana.
Tharp Funeral Home - Lynchburg
220 Breezewood Drive Lynchburg, VA 24502
Published in Shreveport Times on May 18, 2014