Virginia Lou Whitney - A Tribute
Virginia Lou Whitney was a beloved board member of AMF Enterprises, Ltd. as well as the mother of the owners of AMF Christian Videos. Therefore, we feel it appropriate to honor her memory in this special tribute to her life.
Virginia Lou Whitney - April 15, 1943 to February 20, 2010
After 66 years on center stage, Virginia Lou Whitney has a new audience. She passed away in her sleep the evening of February 20, 2010, surrounded by her loving family at home in Cooper, Texas.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, February 23, at the First Baptist Church, with Rick Perkins and Johnny Witherspoon officiating. Interment will be in the Oaklawn Cemetary in Cooper.
Born April 15th, 1943, in Houston to Herman and Katherine Boles Kennedy, Virginia grew up in Cooper, fleeing to Dallas within days of graduating from Cooper High School and vowing never to return. In 1994 she returned, to retire. That retirement led to a successful new career as a realtor, work she treasured up until the last possible moment.
Previously, she'd been many things to many people in Plano, Texas, working as a bookkeeper in the oil industry, taking leadership roles in women's business organizations, distributing for Amway, and playing a killer game of tennis, all while raising three beautiful children.
She continued her pioneering streak back in Cooper as Chairwoman of the Delta County Chamber of Commerce, co-founder of the popular annual Chigger Festival, President of the SSRDA, and regular columnist for the Cooper Review's “Chamber Chatter”. For 16 years, she tirelessly promoted her beloved home town, both through her own work and as the wife of two-term Delta County Judge Hugh Whitney.
Patiently and lovingly awaiting Virginia's newest adventure were her mother, Katherine Kennedy; her sister, Shirley Joyce Bailey; and her dear sister-in-law, Dean Smolarz. Virginia was also preceded by her first husband and father of her two eldest children, Howard George “Sonny” Kinzie.
Survivors include her husband of 42 years Hugh Charles Whitney; daughter and son in law Laura Lanette Kinzie and Sergio Cortes of Dallas; son and daughter in law Michael Shawn and Amy Marie Kinzie of Emory; son Charles Justin Whitney of Cooper; father Herman Kennedy; sister and brother in law Kathryn Ann and Henry Monroe Erwin of Cooper; brother Nathan Ray Kennedy of Cooper; brother and sister in law Kenneth Herman and Betty Sue Kennedy of Daingerfield; former daughter-in-law and honorary daughter Beth Patterson Burtch of Aurora, Colorado; and grandchildren Shawn Donovan Kinzie, Meagan Lanette Kinzie, Caitlin Shea Kinzie, and Riley Erin Kinzie.
It should be noted that on February 21, the day after Virginia passed, the skies opened and the rain fell, proof that she had reached her new home in heaven. For on that day, the angels surely wept with laughter at the stories she'd been saving up.
Virginia Whitney was many things to many people.
She was a friend, a wife, a sister, a realtor, a businesswoman, a fashion plate, a wicked tennis player, a party of One, an organizer, a leader, Mamaw, Aunt Woo, daughter, mom.
To me she was Cooper. She was home.
Over a year ago I found myself at a crossroads. I lived in San Francisco and it was time to make a change in my life. Strangely enough, all the signs pointed toward moving back to Texas, to Cooper. But as many of you know, that wasn't on my agenda.
Still, as I told my friends at the time, I felt like I was being led here. Or rather squeezed like toothpaste from a tube. I didn't know why - maybe some unfinished business, or something I needed to do? But it became obvious to me that I needed to come back.
Mom gave me her full support in this decision. And when I finally returned, two days after her birthday, I discovered a woman I didn't really know as well as I thought. And I had the great, great honor of getting to know her all over again.
We began to have play dates, going to double-features in Paris, gorging on popcorn and ice cream, then hanging out at the Dairy Queen for more ice cream. She supported me in my growth as a person. After a few short months, I discovered much to my surprise that this alien planet I'd landed on was actually kinda nice, in large part because of her. And much to my surprise and, well, everyone else's stunned shock, I decided I'd like to stick around for awhile. And I told mom I'd like to settle down, for a short time at least. She was surprised. But so happy.
A couple of months later, she was diagnosed.
Sometimes we don't know why we are called to a course of action. But we know when we are.
Sometimes we don't know why the signs point in the most unexpected direction. But we know when they do.
Sometimes we don't always know which path to take. But we know when we've chosen the right one.
I am grateful I made the right choice. But I don't believe this calling, this gift, was for her benefit. Though it was, in part. And I don't believe it was for my dad's benefit. Though it was, in part.
I believe it was for my benefit. It was a chance for me to become acquainted with this woman I'd known all my life, but never really knew. It was so I could discover just who Virginia Whitney was.
A mom, a daughter, Aunt Woo, Mamaw, a leader, an organizer, a party of One, a wicked tennis player, a fashion plate, a business woman, a realtor, a sister, a wife. a friend. My friend.
By Justin Whitney, Virginia's Youngest Son