Virginia “Ginnie” Gude, 80, of South Burlington VT passed peacefully at home on July 27, nearly a year after an aggressive cancer diagnosis changed the course of her life. Oh, weep ye not . . .
Ginnie was born in Cliffside NJ, graduating from Ridgewood High School and then William Patterson College (Patterson State) with a degree in art education. She met her former husband, Tom, at the roller skating rink. Following marriage, she and Tom moved to Fair Lawn NJ, where daughters Pamela and Karin were born. While Ginnie loved her adopted state of Vermont, she never lost her Garden State roots.
Ginnie’s first career was as an art teacher in NJ. After moving to Vermont in 1973, she worked at the Shelburne School while pursuing a Master’s Degree at UVM. She encouraged her daughter’s many pursuits, that she enjoyed along with them, including Girl Scouting, music, riding and swimming. Ginnie’s house was always open to other; her enthusiasm ensuring that there were kids in the pool, women doing crafts, special meals or treats being cooked, plays being rehearsed and always, someone playing music.
She loved entertaining and throwing a “small” gathering for 75 didn’t faze her in the least. She volunteered enthusiastically for many community organizations including Vermont Girl Scout Council, Vermont Youth Orchestra and several women’s organizations. Ginnie loved to learn new things and then share that knowledge with others, be it singing a song, crafting a pine cone wreath, or building a gingerbread house. Some may remember her as the Gingerbread Lady of South Burlington.
When Ginnie returned to work full time, she spent 30+ years in Human Resources at UVM. She was proud to have worked until she was 75 (and being one of the oldest employees there) although few would have guessed it, because Ginnie was active and vibrant in her life inside and outside the University. Her lunchtime walk was often a brisk hike down College Street to the Lake and back.
In addition to gardening, Ginnie loved adventure and kept her RV polished and road ready for action. The highlight was in March, 2019, blowing 18 inches of Vermont snow off the rig’s roof to head to Key West, visiting friends along the route. Later that spring, she, Barbara and Joe headed west with 26 other women (and their dogs and cats) traveling 13,000 miles to explore western Canada and Alaska. Her RV, like their home, was always open to singing, eating or a quick game of cards.
During Covid, Ginnie and Barbara joined the Vermont 251 Club and explored 118 towns and villages, learning things that fascinated all who would listen. Her pets were rescue poodles, parakeets and turtles; her friends—though not from a rescue--were just as close and loyal. She loved them without reserve, and they her.
Ginnie is survived by her partner and spouse, Barbara Martin; daughters Pamela Gude and Karin Robinson, son-in-law Wallace Robinson; brother and sister-in-law John and Ellen Martin and their sons John and Orion; former husband and his wife Tom and Chickie Gude, as well as cousins. Also left to grieve are Joe and Buffy, poodles number 8 and 9. Ginnie was predeceased by her parents, Anne (Kress) and Stephen Ryhsen, brother Stephen Paul Ryhsen and a baby sister Patsy, who died before Ginnie was born.
Great appreciation and affection are extended to Ginnie’s medical team including UVMHHH who supported she and Barbara through this past year, her family and her friends.
There will be no formal service, but the family encourages those who loved Ginnie to share your favorite Ginnie story and remember her as you gather. The family and close friends will come together at a later time. Please visit www.awrfh.com to share stories and memories.
Those wishing to honor Ginnie may direct gifts in memory of Virginia or Ginnie Gude to support Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund. These gifts will support her close friend Barb Sirvis’ fundraising efforts for the Jimmy Fund Walk. To make a gift, go online to www.jimmyfund.org/give, call (617) 632-5029 or send a check to Jimmy Fund Walk, 10 Brookline Place, Brookline, MA 02445.