In Memoriam: Mary Baldwin Community Mourns Passing of Three Alumnae

April 20, 2016

This month, the Mary Baldwin community has learned of the loss of three alumnae, each who have made an impact on the campus and beyond.

gordon and mopsy
Gordon and Mopsy Page

Martha Anne Pool Page ’48, who along with her husband, the late Gordon Page, was an integral member of the college community for decades, died April 1 at Brightview Baldwin Park. She was 88 years old. Gordon Page, former professor of music and college choir director, also authored the lyrics for the Mary Baldwin Hymn.

Page worked for Mary Baldwin President Samuel Spencer. She served as the alumnae president and was awarded the coveted Emily Wirsing Kelly Leadership Award for outstanding service and leadership excellence on behalf of Mary Baldwin. The Pages were honored for their extensive service to Mary Baldwin when the Page Garden was dedicated in 1998. Page was also an active volunteer at Trinity Episcopal Church and chairman of Historic Garden Week in Staunton, a member of Garden Club of Virginia, and the Garden Club of America.

A garden service is planned for 10:30 a.m. April 22 at the Page Garden near the Pannill Center. A memorial service will follow at 2:30 p.m. at Trinity Church.

Ellen Overton Holtz ’60 died April 16 at the age of 76. After her graduation she worked in the Mary Baldwin admissions office, eventually transitioning to oversee the financial aid operations. After a long career devoted to Mary Baldwin and its students, developing many close friendships along the way, she retired in 2004. She was a member of First Baptist Church in Staunton and prior to health challenges was very active and served in many capacities in the Sunday School, youth and missionary programs, and choirs. Holtz was a member of the Staunton Choral Society for many years. A private graveside service is planned.

Rita Wilson. Photo courtesy of Mike Tripp/The News Leader.
Rita Wilson. Photo courtesy of Mike Tripp/The News Leader.

Rita Wilson ’82 passed away April 18 in Richmond. She was 75. Wilson graduated from Mary Baldwin through the Baldwin Online and Adult Programs, but her family connection to Mary Baldwin was forged before that, as her mother and husband were on staff at Mary Baldwin and her daughter graduated from Mary Baldwin in 1979. The first African-American councilwoman in Staunton, Wilson also engaged often with Mary Baldwin through the years, serving on the Advisory Board of Visitors, attending events, participating in panel discussions, and supporting Mary Baldwin in a number of other ways.

“During my years there, many of my Mary Baldwin friends found themselves visiting our home and calling it their ‘home away from home,'” said Wilson’s daughter Annelisia. “She attended the Mary Baldwin Christmas event held at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond last year. She was proud of her affiliation with Mary Baldwin. She had a strong bond with the Mary Baldwin community.”

Coffman Funeral Home and Crematory will announce complete arrangements.