By PORTIA A. SCOTT (www.atlantadailyworld.com)
Ginny Wilder, daughter, paid final tribute to her mother, Mrs. Virginia Elizabeth Varney Wilder, at memorial service recently at H.M. Patterson & Son Funeral Home Spring Hill Chapel. Mrs. Wilder, 101, died of natural causes at home at her northeast Atlanta.
Caring and very close to her mother until her death, Ginny was a devoted daughter and praised her mother as “loving, caring and funny.” She thanked hospice and care takers and acknowledged friends and family – nieces, sister and all loved ones who shared her love and memories. Ginny also praised her “love for her church and all of her contributions.”
“She was fun, funny and playful” and had two long-time friends from high school at Lyons Township. She was 42 years old when she went to college (because her father didn’t think girls needed further education), and took classes at the University of Georgia Extension in Rome and earned her undergraduate degree in 1960. She later earned her Masters degree in Education Psychology in 1962, the same year that Ginny graduated from high school.
The deceased had “a strong sense of right and wrong and fairness,” said Ginny, and in 1969, she taught at Auburn University in Alabama. But being “staunchly” opposed to segregation she left Alabama and went to Duluth Middle School. Her daughter said her mother didn’t see race, just saw human beings.
An upbeat occasion held Sat., June 4th, at 1:30 p.m., Ginny remembered her mother as one who loved flowers, was fearless, and had a big heart. “She gave everyone a huge hug and made you feel like you were the most important person in Atlanta.” She was also remembered for valuing her city (Atlanta) and loving to celebrate. Ginny said her mother liked the 4th of July fireworks and loved Christmas Eve. She also praised the deceased’s “sharp mind and keen wit,” and before her eyesight weaken, she loved reading the daily newspaper.
Ginny said Mrs. Wilder was “a lady with a strong heart and her friends enjoyed many fine meals with her.” She celebrated her 99th Birthday with family and friends on March 15, 2009 at Grace United Methodist Church (the deceased’s church). Ginny also praised the Scott family for its newspaper legacy and especially Wendell S. Scott, a former boyfriend and long-time friend.
Mrs. Wilder, who retired from teaching at age 68, is survived by her devoted daughter, Ginny Wilder (named after her mother); Alex “Honorary Wilder Cousin,” Coeur D Alene for her love, service and hard work, as well as other loving Wilder relatives. A tribute was given by her great nieces and nephews.
In addition to the church, the deceased volunteered at Common Ground for people living with AIDS, and the Open Door Community. Her enjoyment of arts and crafts was highlighted by designing and sewing quilt panels for the AIDS Names Project.
Key participants at the memorial service were Rev. Joyce Banks Gross, who provided song and music; a prayer by James Sanders, and a guitar solo by George Boggs. A reception followed at The Varsity, where over 80 people attended.