Virginia Stanton Smith
1959 - 2020
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Virginia Stanton Smith, respected attorney, generous philanthropist, prolific community volunteer, and beloved wife and mother, died December 17, 2020, in Pittsfield, MA, in the circle of her family.

Born on March 12, 1959 in Boston, MA, to Vincent P. and Mary Alice Stanton, Ginger enjoyed a childhood with four siblings, and those early years shaped the personal tenets that guided her always: a love for others, a love for nature and an appreciation for the abundance in her life. After earning a B.A. degree from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA, she went on to earn a J.D. degree from Boston College Law School, Newton, MA, in 1984, and that same year began her legal career as an associate at Cain, Hibbard, Myers & Cook, P.C.

In 1983, Ginger met Craig E. Smith, who became her partner in their many life adventures. Wed on September 19, 1987, their complementary teamwork was a hallmark of their loving relationship, with so many shared interests and genuine support for each other's independent endeavors.

Professionally, Ginger's practice encompassed real estate law, estate and trust administration, and estate planning. The latter area of focus drew upon Ginger's deep well of compassion and understanding of the complexities that exist within many families. She quietly gave of herself to her clients who were alone, with personal visits instead of phone calls, responding to many different needs with empathy and patience. In 1995, Ginger ensured her ability to direct her professional future, becoming first, of counsel, then a partner in Grinnell Smith, LLP. The firm expanded to become Parese, Sabin, Smith and Gold, LLP, in 2011. In 2013, Ginger became a founding partner in Smith, Green and Gold, LLP. In each law firm, her sense of integrity, kindness, fairness and service to others earned her the trust of not only her clients, but also of her professional peers. She was a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association and the Real Estate Bar Association, serving the latter as Director and Chair of the Practice Standards Committee. Additionally, she was a member of the Berkshire County Bar Association and the Berkshire County Estate Planning Council, serving as Co-Chair from 1996-2006. She was the author of numerous articles in the realm of estate planning, and spoke on the topics of financial, estate and health care planning and real estate matters to professional and community groups throughout her career.

The community, especially the community of the Berkshires, was deeply important to Ginger, and her volunteer work reflected her concern for the health and well-being of those around her. She served on the boards and many committees of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Berkshire Health Systems, 18 Degrees, Hancock Shaker Village, Berkshire United Way, and Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services of the Berkshire, Inc., now the Brien Center. Additionally, she was a trustee of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts, and served on committees for Community Access to the Arts, Elder Services of Berkshire County, Berkshire Fund, Inc., North Adams Regional Hospital, and the Massachusetts Audubon Society. In 2019, Ginger was the recipient of the Berkshire United Way's Leaders in Philanthropy Award. Her remarks provided insights into Ginger's philosophy of giving, and, in many ways, her philosophy of life. "Why do we give? For me, the answer is that it is part of what makes me human. We live in relationship with each other. When we give, we are answering the call to love one another, to care for one another, and not look the other way." Ginger and Craig found deep joy together in giving to the many causes they cared about, including St. Stephen's Episcopal Parish, the Pan-Mass Challenge, Berkshire Immigrant Center, Berkshire Theatre Group, and Community Legal Aid, in addition to each of the organizations Ginger served.

While her profession and her commitment to the community were important, nothing was more important to Ginger than her family. She and Craig raised three daughters, Becky, Hannah and Liza, imbuing each with the confidence, strength and values to be successful individuals in a challenging, changing world. She was very proud of their individual accomplishments and the young women they have become. Their family life was rich with love, which they shared so freely. Nothing pleased Ginger more than to host a celebration with family and friends, and there was always something to celebrate! Her warmth and genuine hospitality often brought together those who weren't acquainted, but who left the event as friends. Ginger also had a passion for cooking and baking, even more so in company with her daughters. Menu planning was serious business, especially for large family get-togethers, with spreadsheets to capture all the ingredients and denote who was lead cook and who was doing prep on any given night.

Ginger loved to travel, and she and Craig visited all seven continents and more than 40 countries, with deep appreciation for the cultural aspects of each opportunity and the people they met along the way. But as much as she loved foreign adventures, Ginger held the Berkshires and Massachusetts most dear. The woods were her self-proclaimed "happy place," and any given weekend would find her hiking the Taconic Crest Trail, a Berkshire Natural Resources Council trail, or the Appalachian Trail. The plans always called for a loop or point-to-point, never an out-and-back: "too boring!" Her family also knew that a long car ride would be broken up by a short hike on a trail that just happened to be conveniently near the route. Ginger also loved the ocean, the destination for many a weekend getaway with Craig and summer vacations with the family. An avid runner, Ginger completed her first half marathon in May 2013, one week after she was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. She was delighted to beat that time by ten minutes when she ran her second half marathon a year later. Ginger's spirituality, unfailing positivity and extraordinary capacity to persevere underpinned her ability to endure cancer for more than seven years, with quality of life for her family and for herself guiding each day until the end.

In addition to her husband, daughters and parents, Ginger is survived by her siblings, Vincent P. Stanton, Jr., MD (Viva Fisher), Peter Stanton (Stephanie), Sheila Stanton (Jurgen Schulz), and Dorie Stanton, as well as four beloved nieces and nephews, Sarah, David, Theo and Ella.

The best way we can honor Ginger, whose gratefulness for the abundance in her life expressed itself in so many ways, is to think about those in need, and give of our heart.
Published in The Berkshire Eagle on Dec. 18, 2020.
Memories & Condolences
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49 entries
January 6, 2021
I am saddened to hear this news, Ginger and I were childhood friends. I remember her parents, her mom always baking, and always welcoming. I remember Ginger to be kind. We went our separate ways in our teens. What a wonderful life she had.
Viviana DeSimone
Neighbor
January 3, 2021
Please know that we are thinking of you all during this very sad time .. what a beautiful life she lived how fortunate for all who were recipients of her generosity and love .. Caleigh loved visiting your home growing up and always spoke of what a beautiful family you are ❤ Sending you peace and love Nancy Magnifico , Caleigh and Lauren Tansey
Nancy Magnifico
January 1, 2021
Craig, Becky, Hannah, and Liza,
My heart is heavy knowing what an incredible loss this is to all of you. Your mom lived a life that all of us should aspire to. Above all, she cared for and about others and was kind to all. Her spirit and love will be with you always. My deepest condolences.
Lori Murphy
Lori Murphy
Friend
December 31, 2020
To Craig, Becky, Hannah, and Liza - my deepest sympathy to you on Ginger's passing. What a remarkable, accomplished woman with a beautiful soul. We met at F&M 43 years ago, during her freshman year, and kept in contact sporadically over the years. I will always cherish her friendship and be inspired by her life.
Edie (Smith) Schiefer
Friend
December 30, 2020
My life was continually blessed and changed for and toward the good by knowing Ginger, throughout the course of our 30+ years friendship, by the way she lived; by her kindness and thoughtfulness to, and interest in so many others. Tears are impeding my ability to compose and write even these few thoughts as the pain of loss is still so present and so deep. I’ll miss the memories we would have made and will cherish those I have for as long as I live and, I believe, beyond. The blessings of my friend Craig and his and Ginger’s daughters Becky, Hannah and Liza remain and there is comfort and even joy in that. But in this moment, I just miss my dear friend. And I hope that the rest of my life honors her.
David Kirkwood
Friend
December 27, 2020
I am truly saddened and heartbroken to hear of Virginia’s passing. She had a light from within that was ever present each time I saw her. May you all find peace during this difficult time.
Michelle Doucette
Acquaintance
December 25, 2020
I stumbled upon this sad notice much as I stumbled upon the trail I met her on, while on a "wander" from NC a few years back. We hit it off right away, felt like we connected spiritually. In fact, she is partly why I am considering a move to Pittsfield, which is why I saw this notice.

This poem reminds me of her spirit, hope it gives comfort.

Gracie
Raleigh NC

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I do not die.

--poem by Mary Elizabth Frye, in public domain.

Gracie
Acquaintance
December 25, 2020
Dear Craig, Our deepest condolences to you and your family. Virginia was always at the top of my women I most admire list. Smart, beautiful and kind, I always strive to be who she thought I am. And I will miss her.

Leslie
Leslie Curley
Friend
December 25, 2020
Sending my deepest heartfelt sympathies to Virginia's girls and family. I came to know Virginia through her girls, but in recent years as a fellow hiker. Our paths would often cross along the Berkshire trails. I'm so saddened to hear of her loss. She was a amazing woman with a soul so deeply routed in compassion and love. She left her mark on the world. Sending peace and love . . .
Nancy Sacchetti
Acquaintance
December 24, 2020
What a great and gallant soul we've lost. It was an honor and a privilege to have been a small part of Ginger's well-lived, generous life, and to have shared the warmth of her loving family. She will most surely live on in the hearts of a vast circle of admiring friends.
Werner & Karen Gundersheimer
Friend
December 24, 2020
Dear Smith Family,

Virginia was a friend of my mother, Beverly, and I had the pleasure of meeting Virginia on several occasions. She sent me a beautiful note when my mother passed. Virginia was an incredible person and I am sorry for your loss. My condolences to all of you.

Barbara North
Barbara North
Friend
December 22, 2020
Remembered dearly by my folks Dave and Lois Reynolds now deceased
Beth Reynolds
December 21, 2020
SHE WAS AN EXTREMELY ELEGANT AND GRACIOUS WOMAN. MOST OF ALL SHE WAS KIND; I REMEMBER HER TAKING A VERY OLD, COMPLITELY DEAF, CLIENT OUT TO LUNCH; AND LISTENING PATIENTLY TO HIS RAMBLINGS. THE MAN WAS NOT WEALTHY SO SHE WAS DOING THIS SO HE COULD HAVE SOME COMPANY.
GOOD LIFE VIRGINIA.
Patricia Siskind
Acquaintance
December 21, 2020
I am saddened by this loss -taken too soon but such an amazing life! Her beautiful family is a testament to a life well lived...miss you Ginger♥
Cathy oliveri
Family
December 21, 2020
I am so grateful to Virginia for her kind and professional work in representing my parent’s legal needs over the past few decades. She was always gracious and responsive, and would meet them at their house since they were unable to travel. Personally and professionally she was the best, and I will miss her.
Sue O'Connell
Acquaintance
December 21, 2020
Group of 10 Memorial Trees
Plant Memorial Trees
Sympathy Gift courtesy of
Nicole Cohen
December 20, 2020
Dear Craig, Becky, Hannah, and Liza,

I'm so terribly sad to hear the news of Ginger's passing. I first knew Ginger though our St. Stephen's family, and then I had the joy of babysitting for Becky for a summer while I was home from college. Ginger was by far one of the kindest people I've ever known. Sending you all my love and most sincere condolences.

Susan Hughes
Susan Hughes
Acquaintance
December 20, 2020
Dear Craig, Becky, Hannah, and Liza,

We are so very sorry for you all and saddened by this devastating news. Ginger was an incredible human being - a blessing to this community and gift to all those that knew her. You are all our my thoughts and prayers.
Kathie, Isabella, Lilliana
Friend
December 20, 2020
Ginger was one of the kindest, compassionate people I have ever met. It was my pleasure to know her since the early 80s, shortly after she met Craig. I will miss her more than words can express. Well done, good and faithful servant. Save us seats at the banquet. Till me meet again....
MARK DAVID MOORE
December 20, 2020
My deepest condolences to you all. Thinking of you and wishing you peace during a very difficult time.
I am so sorry...
Chris (Mr. Unch)
Friend
December 19, 2020
Craig and family, we wish there was something we could say or do that would bring you comfort. Ginger was a wonderful person, and the world is an emptier place without her, but a better place for having had her, even for such a brief time.
Turk and Andy
Friend
December 19, 2020
Ginger was the best human being I have ever known. She was genuine and real. She always had a kind word and a big heart. I will always remember our friendship.
Bobbie Orsi
Friend
December 19, 2020
A very special person!
Abbie von Schlegell
Friend
December 19, 2020
In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will love you and miss you always.
Abbie von Schlegell
Friend
December 19, 2020
Liza, the Louisiana Immunization staff are thinking of you and your family at this difficult time. Your mother sounded most remarkable.
Stacy Hall
Friend
December 19, 2020
I am heart broken for her family. She helped me fight for my disabled relatives. The world is a better place because of her. We lost an angel on earth. Nothing but love and respect during this very difficult time. I am so sorry for you loss.
LAUREL A BUSH
December 19, 2020
Dear Craig, Becky, Hannah and Liza,

I was so saddened to hear of Ginger’s passing. She truly walked in beauty and in light.

May you all be comforted by wonderful memories. She will always be with you—love is eternal.
Elane McNabb
Acquaintance
December 18, 2020
Ginger was the definition of grace. To be around her was to know she loved and lived her life. A true touchstone.
Barbara Sammons
Friend
December 18, 2020
Dear Craig, Becky, Hannah & Liza,
We are shocked and saddened to hear about Ginger’s passing. Hers was indeed, a life well lived. Please know that we are holding you all close in our hearts and prayers.
Ellen, Ashley & Tyra Mazzer
Ellen Mazzer
December 18, 2020
Craig,

My heart goes out to you, your girls and all that had the pleasure of knowing Ginger. She was truly a force of light with her work and providing service above self to our community, like helping to establish the Ruth P. Boraski Fund for Girls Inc. May your memories carry you through the days ahead, giving you peace and joy.

My deepest sympathy,
Kelly Marion
Acquaintance
December 18, 2020
I am saddened by your loss. Ginger was exactly the kind of person the world needs. How lucky to have known her. She was gracious & kind & brought both a sense of calmness and energy. I loved how obvious it was that family was the most important thing. Keeping you all in my thoughts!

From the family of the late Jack & Judy Spencer
Ann Marie Miller
Friend
December 18, 2020
December 18, 2030

I am so saddened to lean of Ginger’s
passing and what a wonderful person who contributed so much to the Berkshires. I knew Ginger from her early days in the Berkshires and I was a long time client. She lived life to the fullest and always gave of herself no matter what was asked of her. I knew of her of her diagnosis which she endured for years. My sincerest condolences to her family at this most difficult time. I hope her wonderful family’s fond memories will help you get through this most difficult time. My heart goes out to her wonderful family.
There really aren’t words to express such a loss. May her life be a blessing and an example how to live ones life.

Joel A. Less
Acquaintance
Joel A. Less
Acquaintance
December 18, 2020
December 18, 2030

I am so saddened to lean of Ginger’s
passing and what a wonderful person who contributed so much to the Berkshires. I knew Ginger from her early days in the Berkshires and I was a long time client. She lived life to the fullest and always gave of herself no matter what was asked of her. I knew of hear diagnosis which she endured for years. My sincerest condolences to her family at this most difficult time. I hope her wonderful family’s fond memories will help you get through this most difficult time. My heart goes out to her wonderful family.
There really aren’t words to express such a loss. May her life be a blessing and an example how to live ones life.

Joel A. Less
Acquaintance
Joel A. Less
Acquaintance
December 18, 2020
The first time we met Ginger is when she served as the attorney closing on our house when we moved to the Berkshires 20 years ago. Less than a month later, she and Craig kindly invited us to their holiday party, knowing that we were new to the area and didn’t have friends or family nearby. This kind gesture will forever live on in our memories, along with many other acts of kindness. Our hearts go out to Craig and to their daughters. Ginger will be sorely missed by many whose lives she touched.

Joe Bozza and Diane Wortis
Diane Wortis and Joe Bozza
Acquaintance
December 18, 2020
Craig, Becky, Hannah, Liza and extended Smith/Stanton family,
We were absolutely stricken to find out about your loss. Ginger was such
a irreplaceable part of our Berkshire Community. All our prayers for you in this trying time.
Tom, Adriane, Leslie and Kira Martin
Thomas Martin
Friend
December 18, 2020
I am very saddened to learn of Ginger's passing. My sincere condolences to Craig and her daughters. She was a steadfast member of our Berkshire Wildlife Sanctuaries Committee for a number of years. I remember her as a smart, vivacious, extremely kind and thoughtful person. I feel privileged to have known her and to have had her help and valued counsel. She made a real and positive difference. Ginger will be missed by all who had the good fortune to know her.

Rene Laubach
Former Director, Massachusetts Audubon's Berkshire Wildlife Sanctuaries
Rene Laubach
Friend
December 18, 2020
Dear Craig and family - we are deeply sorry to hear about Ginger's passing. She was always so gracious with her time and cared deeply about helping the community. Sending our deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathy.
Heather Boulger
Acquaintance
December 18, 2020
I am so sorry to hear this news. I only met Virginia when I did my will but felt very comfortable with her thoroughness and manner. May her family be comforted by all those whose lives she touched in her too short life.
Dr. Carol Noble
Great Barrington
Caril Nible
Acquaintance
December 18, 2020
Craig and family - I am shocked and so sorry to hear of Ginger's passing. It was a pleasure working with her at Cain, Hibbard, Myers & Cook back in the 90's and I always enjoyed her spirit and pleasant manner. May the wonderful memories created with her help you through this terrible time. Thinking of you.
Kathy Deman Denison
Coworker
December 18, 2020
I didn't know Virginia well, but heard her speak about estate planning at a church gathering. She knew how to make the law clear and understandable to those of us unfamiliar with the terminology. She exuded warmth and caring, and was very helpful when I went to her office for my own estate planning. I am so sad that she is gone, and send condolences to her close friends and family.
Kacy Westwood
Acquaintance
December 18, 2020
We are deeply saddened by Virginia's passing. Our condolences to Craig, Becky, Hannah and Liza, as well as her extended family.

Berkshire United Way appreciates her dedication and generosity to the community and is thankful for her support of our work. She was truly here for good for the Berkshires and will be missed.
Candace Winkler (Berkshire United Way)
Friend
December 18, 2020
Craig and family .. I am deeply sorry to hear of the passing of your wife and Mom .. May all the memories you hold lift you in light .. much peace and love ,Michele
Michele Marano
Friend
December 18, 2020
As one of her many clients she was ever capable and commiserate. Her talents will be missed but equally her optimistic spirit. She was a "can do" sort of person and even with her cancer struggle remained positive and always saw the good. I am glad I knew her.
Bobbie Hallig
Friend
December 18, 2020
Loving Light Dishgarden
Send Flowers and Gifts
Sympathy Gift courtesy of
Brenda Noel
December 18, 2020
Ginger was so helpful to me and my sister when our parents died in 2000, and she occasionally advised me and my partner, Deb, over the last 20 years. She was a wise counselor, a gifted lawyer and a kind and generous friend. We will miss her and remember her always; we offer our condolences to the family.
--Dusty Bahlman
Dusty Bahlman
Friend
December 18, 2020
Craig, Becky, Hannah and Liza- my heart goes out to you. Ginger was, and will continue to be, an amazing force in your lives and the lives of so many. Know that this community will continue to share her joys and support you as you move forward in the world. Sending love. Betsy Strickler
Betsy Strickler
December 18, 2020
Smith Family
So sad to read this news this morning. Our thoughts are with you all at this difficult time.
The Hall Family
Dave, Marianne, Becca, Andrea
Marianne Hall
Friend
December 18, 2020
I am deeply shocked and saddened to learn of Ginger’s passing. She was one of the nicest and kindest people I have ever known. Wishing you all peaceful hearts in the days, weeks and months ahead.
Lisa Fletcher-Udel
Friend
December 18, 2020
Craig, Becky, Hannah and Liza - I am so sorry to hear of the passing of Ginger. She was a beautiful person who loved life and her children with great passion. I still remember the Sacred Heart production when your family performed the Sound of Music, it was so moving and memorable and really showed the love and caring of your family.

It's so unfortunate that she had to leave this world so early after giving so much. The girls will be her legacy of a life well lived. My thoughts and prayers are with you all during this difficult time.

With my deepest sympathy,

Connie Flynn
Constance M. Flynn
Friend
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