Virginia Bell Appleton died peacefully on Thursday April 26, 2018 at the Brookside Senior Living Facility in Commerce.
Virginia was born in Buckhead on December 20, 1936 to Joseph Merritt Bell and Gladys Harper Bell.
She graduated from Morgan County High School and attended Mercer University. One summer during college she worked in the dining hall at Ridgecrest Baptist Retreat Center in North Carolina. The handsome, young Jon Appleton sat at her table. That was the beginning of a love affair that lasted 62 years. They were married on August 19, 1956 at the Madison Baptist Church in Madison.
Jon and Virginia’s first home was in Louisville, Kentucky. Jon attended seminary and Virginia studied at the School of Medicine University of Louisville. She was a member of the first class to receive certificates as cytotechologist.
They moved to Gadsden, Ala., where their daughter Catherine was born. They lived in Opelika, Ala. and Montgomery, Ala., before moving to Athens, where Virginia put down deep roots, she loved her church and the community.
Virginia served on many boards in Athens including Athens Playhouse/Theater, Athens YWCO, Athens Symphony Orchestra and Guild, University of Georgia Museum of Art, Athens Clarke County Library Foundation, Rabun Gap Guild, and was a member of Mercer University’s Presidents Club.
With her husband, Virginia fostered the Callaway, Wilcox Sunday School Class, which became very popular for young married couples. She always loved children and for many years taught the two-year olds in Sunday School.
She spent many happy summers in Highlands, NC working in her gift shop. Everywhere she lived she had wonderful friends who loved her and today have happy memories of her listening ear and kindness. She was a competitive player on the tennis court and at the bridge table. She liked to win.
Virginia’s family wishes to express their appreciation to her friends-caregivers: Polly Burns, Constance Masango, Elizabeth Allen, the staff member of Brookside Senior Living and Compass Hospice.
Virginia was preceded in death by her husband, Jon Gilbert Appleton. She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law Catherine and Jack Peay of Highlands, NC, four granddaughters Kathryn, Laura, Taylor, Liza, and nine great-grandchildren, her cherished nephew Jon Appleton Massey and his family, siblings Carolyn and Charles Massey, Joy and Jack Stephenson, Robert Joe and Bette Bell, Margaret and Warren Robinson, and her loving nieces and nephews and cousins.
Funeral services were held at the First Baptist Church of Athens on Tuesday May 1, at 11 a.m. The family received friends in the Branyon Foyer of the church following the service.
The honorary pall bearers were Charles Merritt Massey, Robert Glynn Massey, Jon Appleton Massey, Robert Joe Bell, Charles Merritt Massey, and Andrew Jackson Massey. Memorial gifts may be made to the Virginia and Jon Appleton Memorial Scholarship at Mercer University’s McAfee School of Technology,3001 Mercer University Dr., Atlanta, GA. 30341 or The First Baptist Church, 355 Pulaski St., Athens, GA. 30601.
A private committal service was held at the Buckhead Cemetery in Buckhead, Georgia.
Bernstein Funeral Home was in charge of services.