Virginia Wakeman Worthington


Virginia “Ginny” Worthington passed away on Wednesday, Sept. 26 in Laguna Beach.  She was born on May 8, 1932 in Chicago, Ill.

That day at the intersection of High and Allview Drive, Worthington stepped in front of a car, whose driver was blinded by the afternoon sun and did not see her. She may not have seen the car either.  It happened in a flash.

She came to Laguna Beach from Evanston, Ill., with her husband Pat Worthington. They met and fell in love across a crowded dance floor while at Northwestern University.  She studied music and composition, and was an accomplished pianist, violinist and singer.  Upon graduating, the couple came to Laguna Beach, where Ginny played tennis at the canyon courts. She loved to swim and was an avid bodysurfer.

Worthington exhibited for years at the Festival of Arts, displaying the hand printed serigraph note and Christmas cards that she and Pat printed on a home built silk-screen press.  She was an accomplished artist and took particular pleasure in using beautiful papers to create elaborate three-dimensional gift-wrappings, cards and books with stories and poems.

The Worthingtons were avid hikers, rock hounds and gardeners. Over several years, they designed and built a Koi pond and waterfall as well as terraces and landscaping on the steep hillside lot that surrounded their home.

Ginny and Pat were founding members of the Friends of the Hortense Miller Garden, working tirelessly in the garden. Ginny wrote the original docent handbook and taught many volunteers to become garden docents. Ginny also illustrated, contributed articles and edited the monthly newsletter.

Before Pat’s retirement, they built an elaborate greenhouse to grow orchids, with spectacular success. Ginny studied to become an accredited American Orchid Society judge, traveling to Japan and Australia for the annual World Orchid Conference, continuing until the present.

She was recognized around town as a twice a day walker, who never learned to drive a car. She walked at a ferocious clip, with determination and purpose.  She was a stylish dresser, with a style all her own. She loved everything unusual, one of a kind or avante garde, whether it was art, fashion, music, theatre, movies, books and even people.

She may have been diminutive in size, but was big, bright and flamboyant in many ways.  Whatever she did in life, she did it with intense passion and purpose.

She will be missed greatly by her daughter Marci Lyster, dranddaughter Sylvi Lyster, and son in law Brock Lyster and those who knew her.

A gathering to celebrate Worthington’s life will be held at 607 Allview Place on Saturday, Nov. 3 from 3 to 5 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Friends of the Hortense Miller Garden, P.O. Box 742, Laguna Beach, 92651, would be gratefully appreciated.

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