Ruth Virginia Reynolds, “Virginia”, died peacefully on June 7, 2021. She was the loving wife of George T. Reynolds who predeceased her after 62 years of marriage. Daughter of Kenneth and Ruth Rendall, Virginia was appropriately born in Virginia 99 years ago.
During the first few years of Virginia’s life, the family traveled the country, as her father was playing tackle on one of the first professional football teams. They settled in Highland Park, NJ when she was two, and she was soon joined by her loving brother Ken Jr.
After an active high school career, Virginia attended the New Jersey College for Women, now Douglass College. She was interested in children’s literature, and in that she became an expert. Combining her love of books with teaching, she enjoyed 20 years as head of the Lower School Library at Princeton Day School. Teachers would sometimes send troublemakers to that library to be “straightened up”, so calming and safe was that space. She worked in public libraries in Brooklyn and Trenton before marriage and afterward at the Churchill College Library (Cambridge) while on leave from PDS. She was also a volunteer on the Princeton Public Library Council and Board of the Friends.
Virginia was an accomplished storyteller, holding countless children and adults in spell-binding, delighted wonder with her presentations. She was also interested in art and was a highly respected docent at the Princeton University Art Museum.
Newlywed at age 21 Virginia and George, a physicist, spent most of the war years together at Los Alamos, until he left for the Pacific. She was initially denied residence on “The Hill” as she was not involved with the project. Saved by her degree in Library Science and George’s brash insistence, Virginia was allowed residency and worked there in the Library of Secrets.
Virginia made friends far and wide, from hometown Princeton (since 1946) to her beloved summer location in Woods Hole (since 1963) with its varied communities in marine science, arts, paddle tennis, and sailing. During several scattered years of sabbaticals in London, Cambridge, and Oxford, Virginia expanded her interests and circles of friends.
She traveled extensively in the UK, Europe, Turkey, Kenya, and Central America. Returning from a literary conference in Hawaii, she adopted a new name within the family, TuTu, Hawaiian for grandmother. And so, now as TuTu, she bestowed her knowledge and love onto her grandchildren, Justin, Ian, Allie, Jamie, Caroline, and Paige. Her brightest days over the last few years were seeing her great-grandchildren, Liva, Elijah, and Sophie-Morgan.
Virginia met any challenge with quiet optimism and an expectation of enjoyment. She and George raised four sons, Tom, Richard, Rob, and David. Above all, Virginia embodied a loving daughter, sister, wife, mother, mother-in-law (Marianne, Mary, Kris, and Pam), and grandmother.
Having had a modest upbringing, dampened by the Great Depression, Virginia always maintained caring and respect for all, making friends and inspiring confidence in those fortunate enough to meet her ready smile, which never left her. She coupled these values with a healthy dose of fun seeking and the occasional flash of mischievousness. She will be greatly missed.
The family have many to thank, particularly the Staff at Stonebridge at Montgomery, for making the past several years ones of comfort and contentment.
Donations in Virginia’s memory may be made to All Saints’ Church of Princeton, 16 All Saints Rd. Princeton, NJ 08540.