Virginia Austin Mai "Ginny" Abrams

Virginia "Ginny" Austin Mai Abrams

Hockessin - Ginny died peacefully in her sleep on May 10th after a year-long battle with leukemia. She was born in Ithaca, New York, to Barbara and William Mai. Ginny graduated with a bachelor's degree from Cornell University and a PhD in organic chemistry from MIT. Upon graduating, she moved to Delaware and began working as a chemist at DuPont. She married Lloyd Abrams in 1971 and moved to Hockessin.

While her kids were young, Ginny worked part-time teaching chemistry at Del Tech and conducting research in the biochemistry department at the University of Delaware. She also volunteered extensively with her daughters' schools and activities, including helping lead Girl Scout troops, chaperoning band trips, and assisting with Science Olympiad preparation. Sewing, upholstering furniture, gardening (veggies and flowers), and cooking were other endeavors that she poured herself into. Ginny was also a voracious reader, keeping several magazines and newspapers solvent, including Science, Nature, and The New York Times. A lifelong opera lover, Ginny regularly attended Opera Delaware, enjoyed occasional trips to the Met, and introduced her children and grandchildren to the joys of opera. In addition to listening to opera and NPR, her perfect evening in recent years involved sitting in her sunroom, surrounded by plants and watching the birds with her beloved dog Leo on her lap and a glass of white wine and a book in hand.

After the kids left home, she discovered a new passion: dyeing fabric, which combined her background in chemistry with her burgeoning interest in art. In 1997, she started creating art quilts, which, as she liked to describe them, are "not your grandmother's quilts." Ginny developed a unique style - her love of nature (recalling her Finger Lakes girlhood), favorite colors of blue and green, and sense of how things flowed together gave rise to a wonderful series of quilts. Her corpus of work included multiple curvilinear pieces inspired by reflections on water (many based on her photographs of Seneca Lake) and more angular pieces depicting what she called "roadside structures," like cranes, bridges, and cell towers. A high point came early in Ginny's quilting career when one of her quilts was accepted for the prestigious Quilt National exhibition in 2001. In fact, that quilt was chosen to be on the T-shirt commemorating the 2001 exhibition. She went on to exhibit work locally and nationally in shows including "Quilt National" (2007, and 2015), "Delaware by Hand Masters" (Delaware Museum of Art), "Quilts=Art=Quilts" (Schweinfurth Memorial Art Museum, Auburn, NY), and "River Quilts" (National Quilt Museum, Paducah, KY). She was a member of several fiber groups, including Fiber Dimensions, the Studio Art Quilt Association (SAQA) and FiberRevolution, which forged strong friendships and critiquing and exhibiting opportunities. Most recently, she started painting, taking classes at the University of Delaware's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Her most recent quilts incorporate her painting.

Starting in the mid-1990's, Ginny and Lloyd began travelling adventures: Europe, Africa, Central America, Hawaii, Alaska, and Japan. This past Christmas, she traveled with her family to Jamaica to celebrate her birthday. During these trips, Ginny always had a camera at her side, recording not only her experiences, but natural and man-made objects that provided inspiration for her quilting.

In addition to Lloyd, her husband of 47 years, Ginny leaves a sister, Elizabeth Mai (husband John Gobrecht), brother, William Mai (wife Marcsa Birkas), daughter Betsy Rich (husband Robert), daughter Laura Abrams (husband Christian Correa), and three grand-children, Quinn, Alexandra, and Damian. She also leaves a daughter in spirit, Lauren Avery (husband Sean and children Drake and Fiona) and a host of wonderful friends.

Ginny wished to be cremated. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any offerings be made to , P.O. Box 98011, Washington, DC 20090. Later this year, we will have a celebration of Ginny's life, featuring her quilts. You can see examples of her quilts at

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Published in The News Journal from May 13 to May 20, 2018