Virginia McCandlish Puller Dabney, of Lynchburg, VA, the beloved wife of Colonel William H. Dabney, co-founder of this website, died 29 June 2018 at Westminster Canterbury Lynchburg at the age of 78.
She was born in Shanghai, China, May 27, 1940, the daughter of the late Lieutenant General Lewis Burwell "Chesty" Puller and Virginia Evans Puller. Growing up the daughter of a career Marine she lived in China, Hawaii, San Diego, New Orleans, and Camp LeJeune, but always came back to her beloved Virginia. She spent her last two years of high school living with her aunt in Richmond, attending The Collegiate School, graduating in 1957. To the great dismay of her mother, she went north to Smith College, which was not in keeping with her mother’s plan for her to meet a good southern boy. Yet, as fate would have it, her mother was at a party and met Virginia's future husband, Bill Dabney, VMI ‘60 who was, in order of importance, a Marine, southern and tall.
Virginia and Bill were married in September 1961 and enjoyed 50 wonderful years of marriage. She held her family together and worked tirelessly as a mother, military wife, teacher and community volunteer. She was a voice of calm and reason through her father’s extended illness, her infant daughter’s death, her husband’s two tours in Vietnam, the first with two small children and the second with three, her brother’s grievous wounding in Vietnam and her eldest son’s death, never wavering in her faith and the importance of service and family, nor uttering a word of woe or pity.
She loved raising her children and was proud, but not surprised, when both her sons became military officers and her daughter followed in her footsteps and became a teacher. She was incredibly supportive of her husbands’ career, enduring countless moves, pieces of broken furniture, last minute school registrations. and the trials of establishing a new community and friendships. After her husband’s retirement from the Marine Corps, she and Bill enjoyed 22 years in Lexington, Virginia living in their beloved Mackey’s Tavern, welcoming family and friends at every opportunity.
Among her many favorite causes were the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, the Stonewall Jackson House, the Garden Club of Virginia, Boys Home in Covington, Virginia, and every Episcopal Church parish of which she was a member throughout her life. She always had a fondness for and offered a place at her dining room table to the many VMI Cadets and countless Marines who visited her home over the years.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Colonel William Howard Dabney, U.S.M.C. (retired); a son, William Howard Dabney, Jr.; an infant daughter, Anne Christian Dabney; and a brother, Lewis Burwell Puller, Jr. She is survived by her sister, Martha Puller Downs (Michael) of Alexandria; a daughter-in-law, Andrea Shilt Dabney of Greenwich, Connecticut; a son, Lewis Puller Dabney (Kristin) of Lynchburg; a daughter, Virginia Keane Dabney Kauders (Eric) of Richmond; and six grandchildren, Page Dabney, Caroline Dabney, Virginia Kauders, Ellie Dabney, Anna Kate Dabney and Andrew Kauders.
A funeral service will be held at 1 pm July 7, 2018,
at St. John's Episcopal Church, Lynchburg, VA.
In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to:
The Marine Corps Heritage Foundation
18900 Jefferson Davis Highway, Triangle, Virginia 22172;
or, Christ Church Parish Episcopal
P.O. Box 476, Saluda, Virginia 23149.
Arrangements by Tharp Funeral Home, Lynchburg.
She was a Marine all her life and attended many gatherings of Khe Sanh veterans and the Warriors of Hill 881S. She was greatly loved and will be missed by all of us.