Virginia "Gimmer" Plotnick
September 2, 1941 - September 27, 2020
Virginia Leonard Plotnick, 79, "Gimmer Barry" died peacefully at home on Sunday, September 27, 2020, after a fearless and graceful nine-year struggle with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
Gimmer touched the hearts of all. She was active in the Democratic party and an avid women's rights supporter. She met her true love, Rey Barry, while flying down a zip line during an Albemarle County Democratic event for Eugene McCarthy in 1968. On a snowy Valentine's in 1970, they had the only wedding to take place inside the Rotunda at the University of Virginia. Married for over 50 years, their love story inspires.
Gimmer began her career with the Child Life Program at Cleveland Hospital under founder Emma Plank. After moving to Charlottesville, Gimmer was on the founding staff of the Molly Michie Pre-School. Later, she was Co-founder, Development Director, and teacher of The New School.
Following sale of the school, she worked for structural engineers Dunbar, Milby, and Williams. She was then Assistant to the Director of the Virginia Discovery Museum where she founded the gift shop. She capped her career as a Paralegal with Herbert Beskin at Parker, McElwain & Jacobs. Before a 10 year stint as a Realtor with Roy Wheeler and later her husband’s firm, Rey Barry Associates.
Gimmer’s skills with a sewing machine included elaborate costumes for her girls like an apple, trees, even a book. In later years she created dresses for her granddaughter showcasing her skills and commitment to sustainability and reuse.
A gifted gardener, she thrived in the garden, hands full of plants, weeding, pruning, bringing life from Virginia red clay; in later years enjoying deer outside her windows. A lover of words, she connected with beloved family and friends through online Scrabble.
She was a top-notch cook; loved Blue Mondays and Kentucky Creamed Pull Candy; Rey’s skillful First Mate sailing the Chesapeake on their bugeye ketch Applejack; an accomplished low-handicap golfer; swimmer of notable speed and even faster typist. She avidly followed UVA basketball, was an entertaining piano and guitar player, and for years a revered example of selfless courage.
She never let her terminal illness invade her spirit, and was the first to share a smile or a song when family or only Rey was there.
Born on September 2, 1941, in Frankfort, Ky., to Dr. and Mrs. Thomas P. Leonard, Gimmer graduated from Frankfort High School and Case Western Reserve. A popular cheerleader and member of many clubs, Gimmer kept in lifelong touch with high school friends.
She leaves behind her brother, Dr. Thomas Leonard and wife, Linda, of Frankfort, Ky.; her husband, "Rey" Barry Plotnick of Charlottesville; her daughter, Brooke and darling granddaughter, Adele, of Richmond, Va.; and her daughter, Apple Plotnick Jannotta and husband, Jeremy, of Lynnwood, Wash.
We hold the greatest respect and appreciation for the professional care and personal encouragement of Dr. Alexander Schult of Sentara Martha Jefferson and Dr. William Fox of Fox and Brantley. The skilled staff of the Hospice of the Piedmont made a huge difference when her time approached and we are forever grateful to this extraordinary institution.
We plan to hold a September 2021 Celebration of Life near her 80th Birthday. Donations in the name Virginia Plotnick can be made to the following that represent Gimmer's strongest values:
Hospice of the Piedmont, 675 Peter Jefferson Parkway, Suite 300, Charlottesville, VA 22911, https://tinyurl.com/GimmerHospice
Planned Parenthood of the Blue Ridge, 2964 Hydraulic Road, Charlottesville, VA 12290, https://tinyurl.com/GimmerPlanned
League of Women Voters, P.O. Box 11036, Lewiston, ME 04243-9405, https://tinyurl.com/GimmerLeague
Southern Environmental Law Center, 201 W. Main St., Suite 14, Charlottesville, VA 22902, https://tinyurl.com/GimmerSELCenter
Published by Daily Progress on Oct. 11, 2020.