Friends, colleagues share memories of Vicy Virgin
September 14, 2011TILTON — On Sept. 2, the Town of Tilton lost a longtime figurehead in the community with the passing of Victoria Virgin, who served for many years in a number of capacities and always put community before self as she worked to make Tilton a great place to live.
Known best as "Vicy," she served in every way she could as she raised her family, and continued to do so even after the death of her husband, Charles in 1994.
Virgin always had the best interests of the town at heart, recalled current selectman Katherine Dawson.
Dawson said when she was first elected to the Board of Selectmen 11 years ago, she spent many hours reading minutes of past board meetings, and came to respect who Virgin was and all she stood for.
"Decisions made, discussions had during her time as a selectman were really amazing. In her eyes, if it wasn't good for the taxpayers, then forget it. She became my mentor. That's how I decided I wanted to be as a selectman, too," Dawson said.
After leaving the select board, Virgin continued to give her time to the town. Through the years, she served terms on the budget committee and zoning board, and was a member of the parks commission at the time of her death, promoting programs for children to learn fishing and enjoy other outdoor family activities. She was a member of the Silver Lake Association Board of Directors, Eastern Star and the Red Hat Society, along with a deep involvement with the Tilton-Northfield Congregational Church for over 54 years.
"She's one of those people you thought would always be there. She was just phenomenal," said Dawson.
Resident and Tilton-Northfield Fire Commissioner Pat Clark also knew Virgin through the years, having worked with her at Spaulding Youth Center in Northfield.
Clark, saddened by her death, fondly remembered Virgin as the "guardian of the paper clips and ink pens" at the center. He laughed as he recalled her making co-workers account for the necessity of supplies when they came to her office.
"Some people were intimidated because she was always watching out for expenses, but I learned how to sweet talk her," he laughed.
Clark said Virgin once won a local beauty pageant and, having seen photos from those days, he felt she had a beautiful "I Love Lucy" look as a younger woman.
While writing a card to her family last week, he found himself filling two pages on his thoughts and memories of a woman whom he said was very warm-hearted, yet always let one know where they stood with her.
"She had a lot of spunk. Through the years, at Spaulding and Town Hall, I could disagree with her and still walk away with a hug," Clark said.
While many Tilton residents and town employees were saddened to hear of her passing, they said they will not let go of her memory and all she stood for. The Parks Commission is looking to make one of Virgin's dreams come true by planting a Colorado Blue Spruce in River Front Park.
Dawson, who served for a time as an ex-officio on the commission with her, said Virgin had always wanted to see a beautiful large spruce in the park for Christmas. The Parks Commission will now make that a reality, along with a plaque honoring Virgin's work and dedication to the commission.
The honors do not end there, however, as town officials recognize the benevolent person Virgin had proven herself to be over the years.
One example they gave was how she spent each Thanksgiving morning cooking turkeys at the Tilton-Northfield Congregational Church for anyone who wanted a free, traditional meal and companionship for the holiday. Virgin also actively supported local food banks, like those at her church and First Fruits Food Pantry in Sanbornton.
Pat Consentino, current Chairman of the Tilton Select Board, said that while news of Virgin's death was a very sad time for the town, they have vowed her community commitment will continue to live on.
"Vicy never thought of herself first. The food pantries were a passion for her and we want to continue with her work," said Consentino.
Last Thursday, a day after funeral services were held, Tilton's selectmen agreed to continue Virgin's momentum forward by organizing an annual food drive in her memory.
"We felt there is no better way to continue Vicy's spirit than to get the community involved in a project to help others. We're looking to make it the biggest and best food drive ever," said Consentino.