Virginia Lilley, an avid, passionate, and endearing woman of missions, has arrived at her “other side of the mountain,” the title of her book written in 2014. She passed away September 12, 2019, in Reading, Pennsylvania.
No words are sufficient to describe this uniquely dedicated woman of varied abilities. Besides serving as a Local Missions Representative in her church, Gin (as she was known to most), previously taught the 4-year-old Sunday school class, was president and treasurer of Ladies Ministries, a YPE LEADER, and led singing. In 1976, she was appointed to the state World Missions Board. Later years would find Gin an enthusiastic, never-quit individual who also worked tirelessly with Men and Women of Action. Make no mistake, she loved people!
Gin had the distinction of the oldest and longest serving LMR, as well as served as a World Missions short-term missionary beginning in 1996. Gin’s main passion was writing letters to missionaries and sending them hand-written cards on their birthdays, which ultimately totaled more than 33 cards and letters monthly. Her involvement in missions projects led her to 57 countries where she left a powerful impact on those she met. Even before Alma’s Closet was established, Gin took an extra suitcase of clothes to every General Assembly and distributed them to missionaries.
Members of the World Missions family in the offices nicknamed Gin “the pretzel lady.” She lived near a pretzel factory in Reading and Gin would bring large bags of pretzels to the employees on her visits to Cleveland. The pretzels were delicious! Her thoughtfulness towards everyone was evident and Gin will always be remembered as a great friend to World Missions.
An adventurous individual, Gin remained fervent about missionaries long after she retired. In her own words, she once said: “It sure has been a great, good life. My heart is still wrapped up in missions.” To know Gin was to love her!
Gin will have a huge group of individuals to welcome her on that “other side of the mountain.”
World Missions Director, Dr. David M. Griffis, and Assistant Director, Dr. M. Thomas Propes, extend their deepest sympathy to the Lilley family.