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Virginia E. Larrabee, 98, volunteer


Virginia E. Larrabee, who was active in patriotic organizations, died in her sleep Thursday at a hospital in Reading, Pa. The former Annapolis resident was 98.

She was born Virginia E. Poole in Baltimore and raised on Federal Hill. She attended parochial schools and later studied art at Goucher College.

She was married in 1927 to Herbert W. Larrabee Sr., a career Navy officer. He died in 1968.

Mrs. Larrabee, who had lived in Annapolis and McLean, Va., before moving to Shillington, Pa., in 2001, had been a member of the Daughters of the American Colonists, the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Naval Academy Women's Club and Naval Officers' Wives Club.

Along with her husband, Mrs. Larrabee was a founding member in 1956 of the Memorial Foundation of the Germanna Colonies in Virginia Inc., and was also a founder in 1961 of Vinson Hall, a McLean retirement community for military retirees.

Early last month, Mrs. Larrabee asked her daughter, Edith L. Gracey, of Shillington, to order carnations for patients at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda and Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

"She told me she wanted them to know that someone cares for them and knew that they were in the hospital," said Mrs. Gracey.

On May 4, patients found the carnations along with a note that read: "Dear NNMC Patient, Virginia L. (she didn't want her last name included, her daughter said) is a Navy Wife and Mother who will soon be 99 years of age. Her family celebrates her life today with a flower and good wishes for your health and happiness."

Gilda Collazo, executive assistant to the commander of the National Naval Medical Center, wrote in a thank-you note to Mrs. Larrabee: "The flowers were absolutely lovely. The whole staff were touched by your gesture of kindness and the patients were genuinely moved."

Mrs. Larrabee enjoyed painting portraits and landscapes in watercolors. She also was a certified genealogist and a communicant of Christ Episcopal Church in Reading.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at Arlington National Cemetery with a memorial service at 2 p.m. at the Washington National Cathedral, 3101 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., Washington.

Also surviving are a son, Herbert W. Larrabee of Winter Springs, Fla.; a brother, C. Frank Poole of Annapolis; four grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and three great-great-grandchildren.

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