Virginia Highsmith "Jini" Kory

WILLIAMSBURG - Virginia Highsmith Kory ("Jini") died peacefully on Sunday evening March 16, 2014, at home, embraced by loving family and friends. Virginia was born in Chicago on August 28, 1925, raised there by her parents, Agnes and Herbert Highsmith, and, in Emmetsburg, Iowa, by her great aunt Bert Winders, during the worst years of the depression. Jini graduated from high school in Glen Ellyn Illinois, where she was a popular student athlete and cheerleader. She entered New York University's highly competitive Bellevue School of Nursing in September, 1943 and graduated in 1946. After graduation she continued at Bellevue Hospital, where she met resident Dr. Ross Kory, recently discharged from the Army Air Corps. Their 47 year marriage began on Columbus Day 1947. Setting her own professional aspirations aside, Jini forged a life partnership with Ross as he pursued his career in clinical research. Jini and Ross started their family in Salt Lake City Utah in 1948, with the birth of Ross Jr. They moved to Nashville in 1949, when Ross accepted a research position at the VA hospital. Sons Robert (1950) and Paul (1954) were born in Nashville. In 1954, the family moved to Milwaukee Wisconsin, where all three boys completed high school before moving on to college. In 1972, Jini and Ross relocated to Tampa, when Ross was named Chief of Staff at the new VA hospital. Ross retired from the VA in 1976 to direct the Pulmonary Function Laboratory at Tampa General Hospital. This move thrust Jini into a new career managing Ross's practice serving private patients. From 1976 to 1986, Jini developed considerable expertise with office and medical billing technology. Ross retired from Tampa General in 1986. The couple moved to Arlington, Virginia in 1986 and, then, to Williamsburg in 1994. Ross died in 1996. Jini remained in their beautiful home in Kingsmill through her death. Jini was profoundly committed to learning, as well as to enriching the lives of her children. She was a Book-of-the-Month Club member for over 50 years, until she seamlessly transitioned to the Kindle in 2007. In 1950, Jini pressed Ross to participate in founding a new Unitarian Fellowship in Nashville, in part, to provide her children a liberal and secular religious alternative to the strict Methodist church she fled at the age of 12. Throughout the 50's and 60's she was a leader in religious education for three Unitarian congregations. Jini returned to nursing part-time in 1960, as an ER nurse, to supplement the family income in anticipation of future college expenses. She left the profession a second time, in 1962 to care for Ross Jr. through an extended illness. Jini's support of Ross's private practice enabled them to finance college and a large fraction of the post graduate education expenses for each of their three sons. Jini was also a successful, self-taught investor. She fired Ross's broker within six months after he died, because she discovered many dubious securities lurking in her portfolio. Starting at the age of 71 with limited investment knowledge, Jini achieved a 16% ROI on her portfolio through the end of 2013! Jini was a tireless and successful consumer advocate, whose bulging files of consumer complaints contain many letters of capitulation from Presidents and other senior executives of major U.S. corporations. Jini and Ross were also lifelong patrons of the Arts. Both were members of the Roger Stevens Society of the Kennedy Center. Jini was pre-deceased by her son Dr. Paul Kory, and by two of her three siblings, Robert Highsmith and Alberta Highsmith Parish. She is survived by her sister Barbara Highsmith Luce, her sons Ross C. Kory Jr, and Robert B. Kory, esquire, daughters-in-law Kaye Kory, Phyllis Kory and Dr. Joyce Rico, seven Kory grandchildren, Matthew, Alexander, Caroline, Kevin, Ryan, Sean and Elizabeth, and two great grandchildren, Sacha and Wyatt Kory, twin sons of Matthew and his wife Stephanie Kory. Jini wishes to be remembered as a loving wife and mother, grateful for her blessings, respected for integrity and with high expectations of herself, her family, her friends and the human spirit. Memorial Contributions may be made to Hospice House of Williamsburg, 4445 Powhatan Parkway, Williamsburg, VA 23188 or online at

Funeral Home

Nelsen Funeral Home - Williamsburg
3785 Strawberry Plains Rd. Williamsburg, VA 23188
(757) 565-1141

Published in Virginia Gazette on Mar. 19, 2014