Virginia A. Harper Stanley

Virginia A. Harper Stanley, 82, of Wilmington, Ohio passed away Friday, June 2, 2017.  Her husband of more than 64 years, Larry A. Stanley, survives.  Mrs. Stanley was born June 10, 1934 in Louisa County, Virginia, daughter of the late Harry E. Harper and Florence Elizabeth Hager Harper. 

When Virginia was a baby, her parents moved to St. Albans, WV and she lived there until about age 15.  When she was seven or eight, she became the foster child of the late Rev. & Mrs. William C. and Anita Bowie.  Father Will was the local Episcopal minister and a neighbor of Elizabeth Harper.  The Bowies’ had two younger boys and they became Virginia’s playmates.  Later, another son was born and their “Big Sister” was instrumental in raising them for several years.  Virginia’s mother was trying to make ends meet on only the small pension from her husband, a deceased W.W. I veteran, and four children at home.  The Bowies’ wanted to adopt Virginia, but her mother would only allow an informal fostering agreement.  Both families are and have been a very important part of her life.  She had special relationships with her eight natural siblings during their lives as well her brothers.

Virginia and Larry were married in Point Pleasant, WV on July 26, 1952.  Larry was a sergeant in the Air Force and Virginia was a telephone operator.  A few days after the wedding, they traveled to California where he was stationed.  She served with him as a helpful, supporting wife, mother, and best friend.  During their many relocations with the Air Force, she was often chosen as the informal, acting “Den Mother” for wives of other airmen.  During their travels, their first son was born in Virginia, a daughter in France, another daughter on their second tour of duty in California, and a son in Ohio.  They settled in Wilmington in 1965.  Virginia retired as the manager of the J. C. Penney catalog store.  She will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her.

In addition to her husband, Virginia is survived by her four children, Michael (Marilyn) Stanley of Wilmington, Ohio, Rebecca (Dave) Stanton of Wilmington, Ohio, Anita (Tim Root) Stanley of Wilmington, Ohio, and Scott (Jennifer) Stanley of Springboro, Ohio; eight grandsons, Joe (Kaye) Conard, Craig Stanton, Eric Stanton, Ryan Stanton, Sam Stanley, Jack Stanley, Luke Stanley, and Nicholas Stanley; one great granddaughter, Rory Conard; three brothers, Grover “Skip” (Kathy) Bowie of Clarksburg, WV, William H. (Shirley) Bowie of Clarksburg, WV, and Peter R. (Laura) Bowie of Clarksburg, WV; brothers-in-law, Dan Stanley of Madison, IN, Clinton Milam of Culloden, WV, and Bob Higginbotham of Hurricane, WV; nieces, Connie (Butch) Casdorph of Culloden, WV and Marilyn (James) Stone of South Charleston, WV; as well as numerous other nieces and nephews in Virginia and West Virginia.

A graveside service will be held at the convenience of the family at Valley View Memorial Park, Hurricane, WV            .

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, P.O. Box 1000, Dept. 142, Memphis, TN 38148-0142.

Reynolds-Smith Funeral Home, Wilmington, Ohio is assisting the family.  For more information or to sign the registry of condolences visit

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