Virginia Paccassi Naeve
December 17, 1921 ~ March 5, 2017
Virginia passed away peacefully at Crest View Care Village on March 5, 2017 in Creston BC at 95 years old.
Virginia was born on December 17, 1921 in Chamberlain, South Dakota to a German American housewife and an Italian American father. In her early years Virginia had many interests. She was an accomplished artist, competitive diver in the swimming pool, a field hockey goalie, and she participated in a modern dance troupe. Virginia was educated at the University of Iowa and the University of Oklahoma. She received a scholarship for the Arts and Crafts School in New Orleans. Her career as a working artist spanned 75 years. At the age of 21, as a painter, she was the winner of a competition for the first one woman art show at the American Contemporary Gallery in Los Angeles. Her career continued with one woman shows in New York at Contemporary Arts and group shows at the San Francisco Museum, the Santa Barbara Museum, the New York Metropolitan Museum and the Carnegie International Exhibit in Pittsburgh. During an exhibit at the New York Metropolitan Museum Virginia was one of 150 artists, where one of her paintings was chosen by a jury of 5000 canvasses to create an exhibition, the “Portrait of America.”
Virginia throughout her art career, created paintings, mosaics, sculptures, wood block prints, collages and tapestries. Her art was part of the Rockefeller, Rothschild, Vanderbilt, Morgan, Pearl Buck and Kennedy family collections. From 1958 to 1964 she taught art at the Woodstock Country Private School in Vermont. In Greenwich Village (New York) Virginia met her lifelong partner Lowell. They raised four children together. In 1962 she participated in a Disarmament Conference in Geneva Switzerland, with 17 nations in attendance. This conference was the commencement of her involvement in the International Peace movement. In that same year she founded the “Box Project”, a program matching US northern families with poor southern African American families with clothing, books and food. Thirty-eight years later after its inception Oprah Winfrey highlighted this project on her TV show. Fifty-five years later the Box Project has served 15,000 families and still provides support to families in the South. In 1963 Virginia attended a NATO Conference at the Hague in Holland and in that same year she and others made a Peace Pilgrimage to see Pope John the 23rd. She was nominated by the group to be one of five spokespersons to have an audience with the Pope. Virginia published two books in the 1960’s; “Change- Over” a book of essays about the Peace Movement and “Friends of the Hibakusha” a book about the A-Bomb survivors of Hiroshima. She wrote articles for magazines throughout her lifetime on chesse, rural living, education and political ideas.
In 1965 Virginia and her husband immigrated into Canada and resided in North Hatley, Quebec where she taught cheese making and ethnic cooking courses through Adult Education. She created and operated with her husband a family Art Gallery, a children’s Summer Camp and an apple pressing business. She continued to exhibit art in Canada at Bishop’s and Sherbrooke University. In 1981 Creston, BC became their home. In retirement she read extensively, created outstanding gardens, and exhibited at Langhan Gallery in Kaslo, for the Creston Art Walk, Creston Valley Museum and the Garden Festival. In 2005 she received the Women of Distinction award from the Creston community. A few days before Virginia’s passing in March 2017 she was honoured by 60 artists in the Creative Art Challenge Project inspired by the Box Project that she founded in the1960s.
Virginia is survived by her daughter, Serena Naeve of Creston; her sons Gavin (Barb) of Palmetto, Florida, and Brandon of Venice, Florida; her grandchildren Deirdre Baker (Dave) of Vermont, Shawn Baker (Kate) of New York State, Jesse Beye (Candace) of Englewood Florida, Jasmine Rudderham (Jason) of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and Hunter Naeve of Venice, Florida; and her great-grandchildren Lucas Rawson of Vermont, Brooklyn Beye of Florida and Nathaniel Rudderham of Cape Breton. She is survived by her brother Frank Paccassi (Pat) of St. Lucia, Caribbean and two nieces Lynn Paccassi Berry of Israel and Judy Paccassi of California. Her daughter Adrienne Flagg of Vermont and husband Lowell Naeve predeceased her.
Virginia’s legacy will be remembered by her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren for being an active feminist, for her involvement in the peace movement, her social justice activism, her caring for others more vulnerable, her passion as an artist and her love of gardening, cooking and reading. She will be sorely missed by all who knew her.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held at a later date.
Friends and family wishing to make a memorial contribution may do so to TAPS, Box 187 Creston, BC V0B 1G0 or Amnesty International www.amnesty.ca/donate or at 1-800-266-3789, or Creston Public Library, 531 15th Ave South, Creston, BC V0B 1G5.