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Virginia Lee Ashburn Simpson

Virginia Lee Ashburn Simpson

Virginia Lee Ashburn Simpson of Weems, VA, and Chevy Chase, MD, passed away peacefully on March 4, 2024, surrounded by her family.

Known to many as “Virginia Lee”, “Ginny Lee” or “Lee Lee”, Mrs. Simpson was born to Virginia Elizabeth Walker and Marion Lemuel Ashburn at Medical College of Virginia Hospital in Richmond, VA, on November 6, 1944. Virginia grew up in Weems with her sister Frances Bell Ashburn, brother Marion Oscar Ashburn Jr., and, later, half-brother Lemuel Ashburn.

After losing her mother in 1948, Oscar and Minnie Ashburn, Virginia’s grandparents, played a vital role in her upbringing. Virginia spent much time at her grandfather’s and father’s oyster business, Oscar Ashburn & Son, where they canned oysters under the brand name, “The Guiding Light”. She would often reflect on the great memories in Weems, which included listening to the oyster shuckers sing hymns, walks to the Davis Supermarket and Dameron & Bro.’s Store with friends, and sitting with her grandfather and his trained pet goose, “Tom”, who picked beans off the pole and spit them into a bucket.

Shortly after graduating from Lancaster High School in 1963, and attending Norfolk Business College, she met her future husband, Edmund Gordon Simpson of Chevy Chase, at the summer cottage in Weems, “Coveswood”, built by his father in 1952. They were married on June 13, 1964, at Claybrook Baptist Church in Weems, built by her paternal great-grandfather Lemuel Baldwin Ashburn, which she regularly attended. The newlyweds lived briefly in Charlottesville, VA, then Chevy Chase and Weems for the remainder of her life.

She was described by a resident of the Northern Neck as “the toughest woman in the Northern Neck” for her love of pre-dawn duck hunting in the icy winters with Edmund, and as “the daughter I never had” by her father-in-law for her skill at catching and cleaning fish.

Lee Lee and Edmund spent their weekends at Coveswood filled with guests and always juggled time spent preparing dinners, steaming crabs, and watching the Lawrence Welk show with their elders. Later in the evening, they would dance the night away at the Tides Inn with their UVA college, D.C. area, and local friends.

Virginia and Edmund continued to graciously host their friends again and again throughout their lives together. Virginia continued to spread joy and generosity by planning parties for her godchildren and other family friends for important events in their lives, always making sure every detail was perfect.

In 1983, Mrs. Simpson found her life’s calling when she became the director of the D.C. area’s most historic etiquette and ballroom dancing classes. Founded in 1930 by Mrs. Cazenove Lee, later directed by Mrs. Lloyd Parker Shippen until 1964, and continued by Miss Katherine Hockley Ostermann until 1983, Mrs. Simpson, with the support of her husband, continued to enlarge the classes to teach thousands of the area’s children each year.

For 37 years, Mrs. Simpson, of Mrs. Simpson’s Classes, and her devoted professional dance instructors, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mola, empowered children to become confident in the social graces and dancing.

In 1988, Mrs. Anne Denton Blair passed on to Virginia the Washington Debutante Ball and the Washington Christmas Ball, gala events that Mrs. Simpson often held at the Mayflower Hotel until she retired from all of her dance activities in 2020.

Virginia’s life was also filled with many benevolent and enrichment associations including All Saints Episcopal Church in Chevy Chase, the Junior League of Washington Cobbs Hall Chapter, president of the Kenwood Garden Club, the Capital Speaker’s Club Board of Directors, and the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

She is survived by her husband of nearly 60 years, Edmund Gordon Simpson, sons Edmund Gordon Simpson, Jr. and Matt Walker Simpson (Susan), and grandchildren Virginia Lian Simpson, Walker Wu Simpson, and Emma Katherine Simpson. She was preceded in death by her grandson Jack Walker Simpson.

Memorial contributions may be made in her honor to St. Jude Children’s Hospital or the University of Virginia Breast Care Center at 652 Peter Jefferson Highway, Suite 200, Charlottesville, VA, 22911 in care of Dr. Patrick M. Dillon.

The family extends deep gratitude to Dr. Dillon and staff for providing compassionate and exceptional professional care that extended her life for several years.

A special thanks to all of Virginia Simpson’s friends who have, over the years, reciprocated the goodwill and generosity she emanated. The thoughtful comments many have recently shared show how deeply she was loved by so many whose lives she touched.

Visitation will be held on Monday, March 18, from 4-6 p.m. at Currie Funeral Home, 116 East Church Street, Kilmarnock.

A funeral service will be held on Tuesday, March 19, at 11 a.m. at Claybrook Baptist Church, 2242 Weems Road, Weems, with a reception to follow from 1-4 p.m. at Indian Creek Yacht and Country Club, 362 Club Drive, Kilmarnock.

Burial will be held at noon on Wednesday, March 20, at Hollywood Cemetery, 412 South Cherry Street, Richmond.

A reception will follow at 1:15 p.m. at The Country Club of Virginia, Westhampton Clubhouse, 6031 Saint Andrews Lane, Richmond.

Rappahannock Record Staff
Rappahannock Record Staffhttp://www.rrecord.com
From the Rappahannock Record news team

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