Virginia V. LuceVirginia Alois VanLiew Luce, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, passed away at home in the presence of caring hands and hearts on Sunday, August 29, 2010.

Born on June 2, 1924, in Clifton Springs, New York, Virginia was the daughter of Abram V. and Gladys S. (Donnelly) VanLiew of Trumansburg.  Virginia lived with her parents and brother, Willard, at the family farm on VanLiew Road near Waterburg.  Virginia’s mother died when Virginia was sixteen years of age, leaving her to serve as homemaker for her father and the hired men that worked on the farm.  Virginia attended District 15 elementary school near Waterburg, graduated from Trumansburg Central School, and studied at the Elmira Business College.

During her late teen years, Virginia met William A. Luce, Jr., of Ithaca.  During Bill’s Army service in WW II, Virginia was employed at GLF in Ithaca, where she met many young women who became her lifelong friends.  Upon Bill’s return from the South Pacific, Virginia and Bill were married at Lawton (Ft. Sill), Oklahoma, in February 1945. 

After the war, Virginia and Bill returned to Ithaca, where Bill and his father operated Luce Dairy Co. on South Hill.

In 1949, the family moved to their home in Jacksonville, which has been their residence for more than sixty years.  Virginia was the consummate homemaker, devoting the following years to making a wonderful home for her family.  She also found time to volunteer with the Tompkins County Hospital Ladies Auxiliary and with her church.  In addition, Virginia could often be found doing whatever was needed to support Bill and the dairy, whether it be as dairy product “tester,” secretary, bookkeeper, or hostess of the annual company Christmas party.

After her sons were grown, Virginia was employed with the Finger Lakes Library System on the Bookmobile, and at Cornell University.  While at Cornell, she worked in the Development and Alumni Affairs offices, at the Cornell Plantations as executive assistant to the director, and finally, as personal assistant and librarian to Deane W. Malott, President Emeritus.  Known for her ability to work behind the scenes to ensure the success of Reunion events and other special gatherings, Virginia was a welcoming voice and a friend to Cornellians both near and far.  Beginning as a “hockey mom” at Lynah Rink in the mid-1960s, Virginia was an avid follower of Cornell Men’s Ice Hockey for over forty years.  In addition to being Lynah season ticket holders for many years, Virginia and Bill would often brave the wintry upstate roads and travel to Colgate and other destinations in support of Virginia’s beloved Big Red.

Virginia enjoyed gardening, antiquing, decorating her home, traveling to visit family, and volunteering at the Ulysses Historical Society, where she could often be found helping visitors with genealogical research.  Virginia was also committed to her community.  One of her early recollections was that of accompanying her father as he traveled from farm to farm seeking support in the local community for rural electrification.  In later years, that same commitment was evident as Virginia worked with Bill and others to help bring water service to Jacksonville.

Above all, Virginia was devoted to her family, her friends, and her neighbors.  No personal interest meant more to Virginia than following, supporting, and encouraging the various pursuits of her sons, her grandchildren, and her great-grandchildren.  To Virginia, no time was more special than that spent preparing for, and enjoying, the company of all these people.

In addition to her parents, Virginia was preceded in death by her brother, Willard.  She is survived by her husband of sixty-five years, Bill; son Bill (Evelyn) of Layton, Utah; son John (Peg) of Alexandria, Virginia; eight grandchildren, Lara, Bill, Nathan, Olivia, Alan, Anna, John, and Ben; and ten great-grandchildren.

The family will be present to receive friends on Thursday, September 9, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Ness-Sibley Funeral Home, 23 South St., Trumansburg.

A Memorial Service will be held on September 10 at 1:00 p.m. at the Jacksonville Community United Methodist Church with the Rev. Nelson Reppert officiating.  Prayers of Committal will be held privately at Grove Cemetery.

Virginia’s family expresses its most sincere gratitude to all those who provided extraordinarily compassionate and loving care for her during these past months, including friends, neighbors, nurses, and the staff of Hospicare. 

In keeping with Virginia’s wishes, those who would like to offer a contribution in her memory are kindly asked to consider the Jacksonville Community United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 244, Jacksonville, NY 14854, or the Ulysses Historical Society, P.O. Box 455, Trumansburg, NY 14886.