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Obituary (MD): Mrs. Virginia (H. Donald DeLude '60)

Posted on 02/20/2018

Virginia Lee (Smith) Whitehead DeLude, age 90, died peacefully on February 13th 2018 at home in her Pendennis Mount residence, after a brief illness. Virginia, known to her friends as Ginny, was born September 1st 1927 in Charleston, West Virginia, the daughter of Clete W Smith and Virginia Lee (Miller) Smith. She was the youngest of four children. Ginny excelled academically and graduated from Morgantown High School at the age of 16. She then received her BA in Art at West Virginia University. Three years later she received a Masters of Fine Arts at Carnegie Mellon University. She moved to Annapolis to teach art at Green Street Elementary school in the late 1950s. It was at this time she met James Bradford Whitehead whom she married after his graduation from the United States Naval Academy. Brad was a United States Air Force test pilot and was killed in a plane crash a few years after their marriage. Ginny and Brad had one son, James Bradford Whitehead ll. Ginny was introduced to her second husband, Don DeLude, a United States Naval Academy graduate and Naval Officer, by Miss Peggy Kimbo, at the Little Campus Restaurant (now Galway Bay) on Maryland Ave. A short time after Don and Ginny married, they had one child, Jeffrey DeLude, and spent the next 57 years together. As a strong and devoted Navy wife, Ginny adapted to the nomadic lifestyle of military duty assignments, turning houses into homes and raised her family in numerous sea ports, while Don was deployed. She was a skilled painter and especially loved painting water colors. During the 1960s Ginny produced brightly colored knitted dresses that she sold through boutiques. She designed and sewed avant-garde clothing, including fabulous sequined dresses. In the early 1970s Ginny became interested in jewelry. Over the next decade, while buying, selling and participating in shows she became an authority on antique and estate jewelry, contributing to a number of books on the subject, including the original printing of Kovel's Guide to Antique and Estate Jewelry. She maintained her love and passion for jewelry throughout her life. In addition to raising their two children she also volunteered in the community, where she co-chaired the Champagne Ball, a gala fund raiser for the Annapolis Fine Arts Festival, served as a member of the Severn School Parents Club, and worked with the Christ Child Society in Washington DC. For many years, Ginny was a Gray Lady, a trained Red Cross volunteer at the Naval Academy Hospital. Ginny was preceded in death by her brothers Clete and Jack, her sister Gene, and her first husband, James Bradford Whitehead. She is survived by her husband Don DeLude, her sons James Bradford Whitehead II and Jeffrey Niland DeLude, her daughter-in-law Joy Whitehead, her four grandchildren Amanda Whitehead, Michael DeLude, Coleman DeLude, and Cassiopeia Whitehead, and by her beloved dog GiGi. Services will be announced at a later date.

Published in The Capital Gazette on Feb. 20, 2018