Virginia Killingsworth

Published 2:50 pm Tuesday, September 26, 2017

On Sept. 22, 2017, our mom, Virginia Leah Conway Killingsworth, slipped peacefully through the pearly gates to her heavenly home. She was blessed to live more than 99 years, and according to her funeral notes, the years were good and rewarding.

She is survived by two daughters and sons-in-law, Bette and Mike Cassidy and Laurie and Brent Duncan; daughter-in-law, Pam Killingsworth; six granddaughters and spouses, Vinessa Killingsworth, Kristy Stockman (Steven), Kamala Jones (Coty), Kelli Sanburn, Meghann Brown (Justin), and Whitney Bahm (Max); two step-granddaughters, Stephanni Cassidy and Tyfanni Cassidy; two step-grandsons and a spouse, Chip Cassidy (Loretta) and Mark Cassidy; 24 great-grandchildren; and 13 great-great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Lyle Vincent Killingsworth I; her son, Lyle Vincent (Vin) Killingsworth II; and a sister, Geneieve Conway Mora.

Mom was born on June, 29, 1918, in Clinton County, Mo. Later at the age of 2, she and her parents, Charles Orwell Conway and Sallie Augusta Van Kirk Conway, moved to Plattsburg, Mo. She grew up there, graduating in 1936, and dreaming of going to art school. Her first hobby had been designing clothes for her dolls, and she planned to continue her education in art/fashion design. However, her dad considered this frivolous and refused to support her training in this field. Along came my handsome dad who is working in Missouri as a REA lineman and sweeps her off her feet. They married on May 21, 1940, and after living a short while in Tennessee and Mississippi, moved to Franklinton in 1941.

Franklinton was to become her permanent home and both were quick to begin working and becoming involved in various civic organizations. J.C. Simmons once said of mom that she was a planner, a mover, and a shaker, always with a path prepared ahead of her, and that she was. They both decided that they wanted to be involved with the Washington Parish Free Fair after attending their first fair in 1941. It was 1945 before they began their volunteer work, since there was no fair during the war years of 1942, 1943, and 1944.

Once the fair was re-established, Mom began her 61-year work with her favorite project. She was known as “the Fair Lady,” and was involved with every aspect of it. Some of her contributions were: Member and Chairman of the Publicity Committee, Member and Chairman of the Front Entrance Committee, Member of the New Stage Committee, Member of the Education Building Committee, Member of the Parade Committee, Member of the Trophy Committee, Member of the Creative Crafts Exhibit Committee, Member of the Hospitality Committee, Member of the Dedication Luncheon Committee, Member of the Doubloon Committee, Member of the Silver Doubloon Committee, Member of the 70th and 75th Anniversary Pageant Committees, Member of the Honor Roll Committee, Member of the Fair History Committee, Publicity Chairman for the Walking and Western Horse Shows, Member of the Returning of the Fairgrounds to the Fair Association from the Police Jury, Charter Member, 1987 Chairperson and 18 year member of the Mile Branch Settlement Committee, Chairperson of the Mile Branch Brochure Committee, Researcher and Author of brochure, Member of the Mile Branch Ornament Committee, Member of the Mile Branch Activity Committee, Member of the Mile Branch Policies, Procedures and Rules Committee, 1983 Parade Marshall, 1984 Promenade Belle of Mile Branch Settlement, 1988 Catalog Honoree, 1992 Fair Mystery Person, 2008 designated Board Member Emeritus status, 2003 Mile Branch Honoree, 2007 named Volunteer of the Year by the Louisiana Association of Fairs and Festivals.

Mom was also a member of Centenary Methodist Church, Washington Parish Tourist Commission and a 50 year member of the Waverly Club. As part of the Waverly Club, she was able to use her art talents as designer of the costumes for the Children’s Coronation for 13 years. She also designed costumes for school plays, pageants and civic organizations. In addition, she worked for many years as a legal secretary and did some bookkeeping at various offices in town. As J.C. said, she was indeed a mover, a shaker and a planner and I will add to the list, a caring and supportive mom and grandmother. In her handwritten obituary instructions written sometime after 2008, she described herself as always being proud of her family, Franklinton and the Fair, and that she tried to be a positive thinking, friendly person.

For the last 5-1/2 years, Mom has been a resident of the Good Samaritan Living Center, and Laurie and I can tell you that she kept them hopping there also!

The celebration of her life will begin Wednesday, Sept. 27, at Crain Funeral Home. Family visitation will be from 5 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. Public visitation will be 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Visitation will continue Thursday, Sept. 28, at 9 a.m. The service will follow at 11 a.m., with the Rev. Brian Ridgedell officiating. Burial will follow in Ellis Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to one of the following: Washington Parish Fair Association, Mile Branch Settlement, Centenary United Methodist Church of Ellis Cemetery Association.

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