My Best Reader has Left Me

Mother at her 90th birthday party

Marguerite Virginia Price Van Hecke died on May 29, 2020, following emergency surgery. Virginia was born on June 9, 1929, on the Road of Remembrance in Jackson, Mississippi, as the second child of Maggie Mae and James Murray Price, a little girl who was to have been named George William. From the start, she never let anyone else define who she was.

She graduated from Central High School and Millsaps College, both in Jackson, Mississippi. She was a Beauty and a Favorite at Central High School and ROTC Sponsor of Company “C”; she was a Class Favorite and Beauty at Millsaps (the only woman to have been chosen as both), a member of Chi Omega sorority, and was chosen Homecoming Queen. In 1951, Virginia married Joseph Henry Morris, III, and moved to North Dakota and Colorado where she participated in the wildcat rush for oil and bought her favorite red cowboy boots, which she slept in the first night she owned them.

In 1960, she returned to Jackson as a widow raising three little girls. She bought a home for her family in the Belhaven neighborhood and an 110 acre farm in Hinds County with her Price family. She began playing tennis and never stopped until her late 80s. After 9 years in Jackson, she married Bayard Taylor Van Hecke and gained two more children, plus the entire Van Hecke family. She moved to Charlotte, North Carolina in 1970 where she was a member of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, active in the church’s Pastor’s Guild Visitation Committee, and a deliverer for Friendship Trays, stopping only in her late 80s. She was a member of Olde Providence Racket Club and the Junior League of Charlotte. She was active with the Bridge, Lunch & Tennis group (BLT), Thursday Night Tennis (TNT), Monday bridge group, Wednesday bridge group, and a birthday lunch group.

In addition to tennis, she golfed at Millsaps, bowled in North Dakota, rode horses on the farm, water-skied on the Mississippi River, ice skated and snow skied out west, and rode her bike into her 70s. She followed college football, the NFL, pro baseball, tennis worldwide, and college basketball. She was a night owl if there ever was one, staying up into the middle of the night, preferring to rise in the mornings somewhere around noon. She loved Ocean Isle Beach. 

Virginia was preceded in death by her parents; her brother James Price, Jr.; and her husband Bayard. She is survived by her children Bayard Taylor Van Hecke, Jr. (Alise) of New York, Elise Williams (Tommy) of Ridgeland, Mississippi, MarCee Silver of Raleigh, North Carolina, Ellen Morris Prewitt (Tom) of Memphis, and Elli Morris of Idaho/everywhere; grandchildren Taylor Fitzgerald (Grant), Marie Elise Griffin (David), Hannah Silver (Eric), Swayze Williams, Ryan Prewitt (Cammie) and Cory Prewitt (Meg) and four great-grandchildren; niece Lou Nixon (Ed) and their sons, Paul, Steven (Fran), and James (Adriana), three great-great nephews and three great-great-nieces; and cousins and friends who loved her dearly. 

Mother as the Baby New Year, 1950

Comments (8)

  • Reading this again and again and I see so many facets of your mother in you. You have great genes, and I know you still hear her voice. Peace and blessings.
    And I hope you are working on the screenplay of her life? (smile)

    • Ellen Morris Prewitt

      Thank you, Emma, for reading and re-reading. She was considered a scandal at the Jackson Jr. League–she rode her bikes to meetings. She always said if her sister-in-law Dean hadn’t been the president, she would’ve been kicked out. Yet she wanted being in the Charlotte Jr. League in her obit. Who would’ve guessed? 🙂

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