Obituary : Virginia Gager-Jackson
Virginia "Annchen" Gager-Jackson of Edgartown and Wellesley died peacefully on July 8, 2008, at her Katama home surrounded by her loving family after a long and courageous battle against cancer. She was 73.
Annchen was born in Glendale, Ohio, on July 11, 1934, the daughter of Virginia Danson and Reuben L. Perin. After moves that took the family from Ohio to Chicago to San Francisco, they finally settled in Scarsdale, N.Y. She was a graduate of the Masters School of Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., and went on to continue her education at Wheaton College. It was while living in Scarsdale that Annchen met Curtis H. Gager Jr. and the two were married September 8, 1956. They settled for a year in Bronxville, N.Y., before beginning many moves that took them to Atlanta, Baltimore, Rowayton, and finally Wellesley in 1967 where she remained until her death.
Despite the lifetime of multiple moves, the one constant that remained was the summers spent in Edgartown, sailing on the Andruben, playing golf and tennis, and swimming at the Chappaquiddick Beach Club. She was an avid tennis player at the Edgartown Yacht Club until she took up golf and became an accomplished golfer at the Edgartown Golf Club. You could always find her at the club on Ladies Day, playing weekends with her husband, and, in later years, keeping up with the grandchildren as they perfected their strokes. She never missed a Junior Tournament at the EGC in which all four of her grandchildren successfully completed. Afternoons were spent with family and friends at the Chappy Beach Club, her favorite beach on the Island, where she had belonged since her teenage years.
Equally important were the volunteer activities that kept her busy wherever she was. Upon moving to Wellesley, she became an active member of the Junior League of Boston and spent many a year on the Decorators' Showhouse Committee. Annchen was also an active member of St. Andrew's Church, both in Wellesley and Edgartown, where she was well-known for the volunteer hours spent teaching Sunday School, on the vestry, Bargain Haul, Christmas and Summer Fairs, specifically the flower arrangements, and memorial receptions. She was instrumental in bringing the Reading is Fundamental program into the Roxbury Schools in the early 1970s and was a volunteer counselor at St. Stephen's Shelter in Boston for many years. She also loved to knit and spent many hours with her group knitting hats for preemies at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, prayer shawls for the infirmed, and bear sweaters for the children at the shelter. Up until June 2008 she was also a weekly volunteer at the Newton-Wellesley Hospital Thrift Shop and an active member of the NWH Auxiliary.
Annchen was pre-deceased by her loving husband Curt in April 1994 but was lucky in love twice. She reconnected with family friend Robert Jackson of Wellesley and Katama in 2000, whose son Phil spent summers sailing with daughters Cindy and Annchen at the Edgartown Yacht Club. They married in January 2001 at St. Andrew's Church in Edgartown and divided their time between Wellesley and Katama, with many side trips to New Jersey and Maine to visit children and grandchildren. Summers continued to be spent on the island with all of the family coming and going.
She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1986 but with surgery and chemo made a complete recovery. Unfortunately, the cancer returned five years ago and she re-entered an exhaustive and seemingly endless regime of treatment. Throughout this ordeal she managed to continue her volunteer work, knitting and book clubs, and traveling to family functions, celebrations, and sporting events without complaint. Her strength, courage, and determination have been an inspiration to us all, including the amazing staff at New England Oncology who allowed us to have her for all those extra special years.
Survivors include husband Robert H. Jackson of Katama; daughter Cynthia Alten-DeLotto and husband Tom of Newport, R.I.; daughter Annchen Brown and husband Robert of Mendham, N.J.; stepdaughters Tory Jackson and Betsy Fear with husband Michael, all of Bath, Maine; stepson Philip Jackson and wife Victoria of Salem; 10 grandchildren: Tyler Alten, Logan Alten, Jay Brown, Amanda Brown, Charlie Fear, Sam Fear, Henry Jackson, Clark Jackson, Caroline Jackson, and Julia Jackson; brother Reuben L. Perin, Jr. and wife Susan of Sun Valley, Idaho; brother Dan Perin and wife Laura of Scottsdale, Arizona; sister Cynthia R. Perin of Flagstaff; brother-in-law Stewart Gager and wife Dolly of Bronxville, N.Y.; along with numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and close friends.
A memorial service was held on July 15 at St. Andrew's Church in Edgartown. Burial will be at Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati on September 27, 2008, at 11 am. Donations can be made in her name to the following: Hospice of Martha's Vineyard, PO Box 2549, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557 and New England Hematology Oncology, 65 Walnut Street, Wellesley, MA 02481. We cannot thank the doctors, staff, and volunteers of both organizations enough for the amazing treatment, support, and kindness they gave not only to our mother but to all of us who loved her so much.