Virginia Weston Besse of Vineyard Haven was born March 9, 1921 in Belmont and died March 8 at Martha's Vineyard Hospital in Oak Bluffs. Virginia grew up in Newton and graduated from Dana Hall School in Wellesley and Wheaton College (1943) in Norton.
Virginia was predeceased by her husband of 57 years, Arthur L. Besse, Jr. According to Virginia, she "picked up" Arthur at a Harvard mixer having recognized him as a Vineyard sailor.
She leaves her three children and their families. Her daughter, Carol Besse Stevens Eno and her husband Jackson F. Eno of West Simsbury, Conn., and Vineyard Haven, and their children and step children Sonya M. Stevens M.D and her husband Michael J. Watts and their four children; William H.Y. Stevens, III and his wife, Heather Marjory (Brown) Stevens and their two children; Christopher W. M. Stevens and his wife Linda Schwefler Stevens and their two children; Gregory J. E. Stevens and his wife, Tere Clippard Stevens and their two children; Sean M. Eno and his wife, Kristen Brenneman Eno, Jackson F. Eno, Jr., Elizabeth A.D. Eno and her fiancé, Michael Radvak and Carolyn S. H. Eno.
Virginia also leaves her son, Stephen A. Besse and his wife Pam Mills Besse of Guilford, Conn., and Vineyard Haven and their two children, Whitney E. Besse and Seth W. Besse as well as her daughter, Anne Besse-Shepherd and her husband, James C. Shepherd of Sudbury and Vineyard Haven and their daughter, Nicole Shepherd.
Virginia leaves an older brother, J. V. ("Wes") Weston of Cambridge, and her brother-in-law, the Rev. Alden Besse and his wife, Barbara H. Besse of Vineyard Haven. Her brother in-law, Richard W. Besse, and his wife Janet S. Besse predeceased her. Virginia's parents were Arthur D. Weston and Edna V. Weston of Edgartown.
Virginia's maternal family includes the Vose and Lovewell Families in Edgartown, all of whom descend from Jeremiah Pease.
Virginia loved the Island. Her passions in life were sailing and art. She grew up spending her summers in Edgartown where she raced and taught sailing for the Edgartown Yacht Club. She sailed her Cape Cod Dory, Sea Scout, with her cousin and friend, John Lovewell, as crew. She later raced her Vineyard Sound Interclub ("18") and served as head sailing instructor at EYC in 1941 and 1942. She won the Prosser Cup (Southern Mass) seven times. In 1946, she skippered and won the Mrs. Charles Francis Adams Cup (Women's National Championship). Virginia was a painter who showed her works widely on the Island. Along with Bill and Mary Stevens, Virginia and her husband were instrumental in the founding of Featherstone Center for the Arts.
A celebration of her life will be held on Saturday, April 5 at 2 in the afternoon at The First Congregational Church of West Tisbury. Gifts in Virginia's memory may be sent to Featherstone Center for the Arts, P.O. Box 2523, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557.