Community Remembers Virginia Munce Louisell

July 6, 2012

The Mary Baldwin University Community is mourning the loss of Virginia Warner Munce Louisell ’47, an alumna and beloved longtime member of the Mary Baldwin University staff, who passed away last weekend. From 1963 to 1980, she served as Mary Baldwin’s alumnae director and then public relations director. A woman of “strong will and high expectations,” Louisell contributed much to the Mary Baldwin community and is fondly remembered by alumnae and friends across the country. A memorial service and reception will be held at 2 p.m. July 7 at Grace Episcopal Church in Kilmarnock.

Louisell’s obituary (below), first published in The Richmond Times Dispatch and The News Leader, captures a life well led.

Virginia Munce Louisell from the 1980 Bluestocking

LOUISELL, Virginia Worthington Warner (Munce) 85, died July 1, 2012 at Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury in Irvington, Va., where she resided for the past 10 years. She was born on May 23, 1927 in Staunton, Va., the daughter of the late Brigadier General Morris T. Warner and Virginia Worthington Warner. She was predeceased by her brother, Colonel Morris T. Warner Jr. She is survived by her husband, Brigadier General William C. Louisell; three children, John W. Munce and his wife, Wendy, of Charlotte, N.C., Virginia Munce Bertholet of Richmond, Va., and William C. Munce of San Francisco, Calif.; a brother, Harry H. Warner and his wife, Sis, of Lexington, Va.; two grandchildren, J. Garrett W. Munce of New York, N.Y., and William M. W. Munce of Charleston, S.C.; three stepchildren, one stepgrandchild, as well as many cousins, nieces and nephews. Virginia graduated from Stuart Hall in 1943 at age 16, where she was a member of ELA, the school’s library honor society. She attended Mary Baldwin University where she was Business Manager for both the Campus Comments and Miscellany publications, graduating first in her class in 1947. She worked summers at the Staunton Library and was a member of the Spinsters’ Club of Staunton. After a graduate year in advertising at The University of Texas at Austin, she worked as a copywriter in Richmond for both Miller & Rhoads and The Richmond Times-Dispatch. At the end of her first marriage, she returned to her hometown of Staunton to raise her children and work as Alumnae Director, and later Public Relations Director, at Mary Baldwin from 1963 to 1980. She wrote and edited many publications while there, including creating the alumnae cookbook From Ham to Jam. She also served on the Staunton Zoning Board of Appeals. In the 1980s, Virginia continued working with education publications, including the Presbyterian School of Christian Education and NAFSA / Association of International Educators, retiring as Publications Director for the American Horticultural Society in Washington, D.C., and Editor of their magazine, The American Gardener. She married childhood friend and West Point beau, Bill Louisell, in 1984, eventually moving to White Stone, Va., to design and build their dream house on Jack’s Cove at Carter’s Creek. “Ginny” and Bill sailed the Caribbean and Intracoastal Waterway on their boat “Sortie” and traveled extensively, including to Europe and South Africa. In retirement, Virginia was a member of the Stuart Hall Alumnae Council, serving as a trustee for the school from 1994 to 2000, and in 2001 was named a Distinguished Alumna. She served on the Board of Trustees for Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury from 1994 to 2000, and was a reading tutor for the public schools. She was also an active member of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America/Virginia and The Association of the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities. A lifelong Episcopalian, she was a member of Grace Episcopal Church in Kilmarnock. Virginia lived a life of curiosity, learning and love for the written word. Her school friends called her “Worth” and knew her for her smarts and wit. Her children knew her as a woman of strong will and high expectations who held robust dinner table conversations and led business-like family meetings, and loved to laugh. Her mission was to provide them with a well-rounded education both at home and school. She was an inspiration to many women over the years for handling her life’s challenges with grace, wisdom and courage. The family wishes to thank the staff of RWC, most especially at the Healthcare Center, Hospice of Virginia and MCV’s Critical Care Unit for their kind and skilled attention. A memorial service and reception will be held Saturday, July 7 at 2 p.m. at Grace Episcopal Church, Kilmarnock, Va., following a private family interment at Christ Church, Weems, Va. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The Virginia Warner Louisell Library Endowment at Stuart Hall, 235 W. Frederick St., Staunton, Va. 24401, or The RWC Foundation at Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury, 132 Lancaster Dr., Irvington, Va. 22480.