Virginia Helen Iverson
Virginia Helen Iverson, 71, died on Saturday, Nov. 18, at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, after being hit by a car in a crosswalk on Oct. 31 on State Road, Vineyard Haven.
Virginia attended high school in Mobile, Ala., and one year at Duke University in Durham, N.C., where she met and married Henry Newton Young IV and gave birth to their first child, Katherine. They lived in Pittsburgh, Pa., before Virginia and Katherine moved to Martha’s Vineyard in 1978. In her time on the Island, Virginia worked at the Seaman’s Bethel in Vineyard Haven, gardened and cared for Nelson Coon on Hines Point, and oversaw landscaping for a number of other homes. More recently, she pursued her yoga training, and was teaching a weekly class at the Senior Center, where she also served as president. An avid ballroom dancer, she attended the weekly Sunday evening events and participated in Built on Stilts.
We are fortunate to encounter courageous teachers in our lives, those who go forward despite adversity and who are compelled by an independent will to live out the essentials of existence. Virginia was such a person; she loved the earth, she loved its people, its plants and its animals, and her legacy is one of strength in the presence of difficulty and love in the presence of always.
When Virginia made Vineyard Haven her home, she gave up driving for good. She loved to walk, and if not making use of the Vineyard’s public transport, she was a common sight in town making her way to the Post Office, the bank, or Stop & Shop. Virginia essentially walked everywhere, though she accepted rides and struck up many a friendship in this manner. Many will recall offering her a lift, enjoying a conversation on the way to Cronig’s or to the bottom of Lambert’s Cove Road. On occasion Virginia would stroll down Chappaquonsett to Lake Tashmoo, or in the summer down Lambert’s Cove Beach. Her “soul place” for walks, however, was the Land Bank forest connected to her property, the ancient ways echoing with the spirits of the past. To know Virginia is to have sauntered in these sacred woods.
Many admired the skill, deep attention, and care Virginia devoted to making outdoor spaces beautiful. She had a Zen-like knack for plant harmony, and for managing the politics between flowers, trees, grass, and even weeds. In fact, edible pokeweed was one of her favorites, and grew undaunted in the backyard of 49 Mott Hill Road.
A fearless traveler, her impaired vision did not stop her from traveling to her daughter Katherine in all her off-Island homes: Paris, Athens, Lugano, Taipei, and Rome, or from visits to her family in Alabama or Texas. And Virginia was anything but a tourist. Ardently curious and investigative, she launched herself into unfamiliar environments abroad, befriending others and taking in culture.
Virginia was born in Mobile on March 12, 1946. She is the daughter of Emma Helen Williams and Neal Jerome Iverson Sr. She was preceded in death by the 1976 loss of her 4-year-old son, Jonathan Scott Young, by her parents, and by one brother, Marvin C. Guthrie. Virginia leaves her daughter Katherine Young and son-in-law, Leon Maggio; brother Neal J. Iverson and his wife Lamar of Liberty, Texas; nieces Ellis and Emily Iverson, their husbands and children; brother Blanchard Montrose Guthrie of Mobile, and his four children, all of the Mobile area; and the four children of Marvin Guthrie, all of upstate New York. She is also survived by sisters- and brothers-in-law Jim Young, Matthew Young, and Martha Tholen, and their spouses and children Astrea, Taggart, Will, and Elliott, and families.
There will be two gatherings honoring Virginia, both taking place on Saturday, Dec. 2. We hope this allows any and all who would like to join the opportunity to do so. There will be space to share remembrances of Virginia at each.
The first is a memorial luncheon at the Tisbury Senior Center, 34 Pine Tree Road, at 12:30 pm, an opportunity to remember Virginia’s life, followed by lunch. Please RSVP. Contact Joyce Stiles-Tucker at 508-696-4205
The second will be a dusk gathering at the New Ag Hall, 35 Panhandle Road, West Tisbury, at 4 pm, a simple ceremony that acknowledges both the grief and sadness around such tragedy and also aims to celebrate all that we loved about Virginia and how she influenced us. There will be a reception following.
Cards or correspondence may be sent to Katherine Young, Box 1466, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568, or to firstname.lastname@example.org.