Virginia Thompson Allender died in the early morning hours of July 11 at the Sentara General Hospital, in Virginia Beach, due to complications from surgery for a broken leg. She was 95.
She was born Virginia Ruth Thompson, in the Pennsylvania mountains, near Scranton, on Nov. 5, 1924. Grade school began in a one-room schoolhouse in Grand Valley. Soon her family started a tradition of spending their summers in Pennsylvania and winters in Florida, shuttling back and forth in the family Packard.
World War II occurred during her college years and she served her country stateside, working in the Cyclops specialty steel factory.
Virginia attended Geneva College in Beaver Falls, and then the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, receiving a bachelor of arts degree in Education.
After graduation, she married Howard Franklin Allender in 1946 and settled in St. Petersburg, Florida. In the years that followed, they had four children, all of whom have survived her: Neelie Sacharow, Matthew Allender, Mark Allender and David Allender.
Her educational career began with her teaching English and Latin in a St. Petersburg middle school. Her career then took a different direction and she decided to become a guidance counselor.
She continued working as a counselor in Titusville, when her family moved there from Florida. She worked in Titusville High School from the late 1960s to late 1980s. She did return to Florida for one year, however, for a sabbatical and earned a doctorate in Education from the University of Sarasota.
For her doctorate, she enlisted several female students from Titusville High School as a part of her educational research.
As a counselor, she had the opportunity to help many young females who were going through difficult times. She invited some to stay with her. One of those, Christine Kauffman (now living in Arkansas) wrote the Allender family about her experience:
“Ginni did so much for me over the years and I will be eternally grateful that she offered a loving home to me for a year when I needed it as a teenager. What a loving, generous and spiritual woman! She is one of the women that I admire most and I was fortunate to have her in my life. She left positive quotes on my desk every day. Thank you for so much, Ginni! I will miss you dearly.”
When Virginia Allender retired from education in 1988, she decided to start a new career as a financial advisor in Virginia, moving to Chesapeake at first, and then to Virginia Beach. She continued her new career for about 30 years.
She started her business without knowing anyone in the new region. Her focus was in retirement accounts for employees of the public school systems in Hampton Roads.
In recent years, much of Virginia’s time was spent caring for her mentally-impaired sister, Mary Elizabeth Thompson. Elizabeth (she was known by her middle name) had a stroke the day before Virginia broke her leg and Elizabeth died the day before Virginia.
Virginia T. Allender was loved by all who knew her. She was an inspiration to us all.
The family plans to host an event in the future to celebrate the life of Virginia, although no date has been set. There will not be a traditional funeral service. Anyone who wishes to express their condolences to the family would be encouraged to call Matthew Allender at (757) 474-9192. The family would appreciate kind words more than a gift.