Virginia “Ginny” Morgan Stahlsmith, 79, of Pittsburgh and Chautauqua, New York, passed away peacefully on May 12, 2021, at the Longwood at Oakmont, Hannah Health Center in Verona, Pennsylvania, with family at her side.
She was born May 17, 1941 in Pittsburgh, the daughter of the late Lewis W. and Katherine Craig Morgan.
Ginny was a 1959 graduate of Edgewood High School in Pennsylvania. She then attended Wells College in Aurora, New York, for her undergraduate work before earning a master’s degree from Westfield State College in Massachusetts in Library Science and Visual Media. She went on to work for 31 years as a high school librarian at Chicopee High School in Chicopee, Massachusetts.
Ginny was forward-thinking and spearheaded the transition to a digital card catalogue in the ‘80s, and opened a new high school library. She was a member and leader of multiple library organizations and affiliations. Ginny created a library that was a haven for students and teachers alike, and a generation of students benefited from her guidance, leadership and dedication.
Her colleagues remember her office and her hospitality, knowing she would always have hot coffee, a sweet treat or a welcome break. She donated to many organizations, including the International Myeloma Association, the Bestor Society at Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua Lake Watershed Conservancy, and Hurlbut Memorial Community United Methodist Church.
Ginny was an avid sports fan, taking her grandkids to Red Sox and Pirates games. She also followed the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers (depending on who was having a winning season). She loved musicals — her favorite was A Chorus Line — and she even sang in multiple choirs in her high school and college years. She cruised Oceana Cruise lines, and spent her recent winters in Sanibel, Florida, but Ginny’s favorite place was Chautauqua.
She used to water ski on the lake — on her very own set of wooden water skis, with her name on them, dating back to 1959. She slalomed, sailed, and golfed and was an exceptional bowler — especially when bowling for the Chautauqua Purity and Temperance league. She loved to bike to the stand outside Hurlbut Church on a summer Sunday morning to get a gooey roll, and then sit next to her tree at the Chautauqua Amphitheater with a cup of coffee to sing “Holy, Holy, Holy.” She enjoyed taking her grandkids tubing on the yellow boat (sometimes recklessly) and ending the boat day with wings at the Village Casino. She also enjoyed reading a good book and doing the crossword puzzle in the paper, overseeing from the porch the lake and dock operations with a glass of Malbec in her hand. She loved to laugh and tell stories with her friends and family, and sing the doxology at every family gathering. She will be remembered for her quick wit and her quirky (borderline inappropriate) sense of humor.
She is survived by her (much older) sister, Ann Slonaker of Verona; a son, Brian (Marya) Stahlsmith of Stedman, New York; a daughter, Leah (William) Boyan of Seattle; four grandchildren, Zach Stahlsmith, Megan (Jake) Stahlsmith, Ben (Lauren) Stahlsmith, and Will Stahlsmith; three step-grandchildren, Harley Boyan, and Grayson Schaffer and Sam Arthur; and several nieces and nephews.
Ginny was preceded in death by her parents, Lewis W. and Katherine Craig Morgan. A memorial service will be held at a future date to be announced at the convenience of the family. Burial will be in the Chautauqua Cemetery.
Memorial donations can be made to the International Myeloma Foundation (myeloma.org).