In the stillness of the morning Tuesday, July 21, 2020, God quietly whispered the sweet name of Virginia West Harrison and welcomed her with open arms to her heavenly home. Standing at the edge of the pearly gates with bated breath were her mother and father, Robert and Elizabeth West; her brothers, Robert Jr. and James West; and her big sister, Selma Clemmons; all waiting with wide smiles to watch her glide with effortless sophistication into Heaven.
Virginia, better known as "Ginger" or "Gingerbread" to all who loved her, had enjoyed a beautiful life on this Earth, surrounded with the laughter and joy of her family since the cold, blustery day when she was born in Cornelia, Feb. 18, 1943. They say there were icicles all around the Hills of Habersham on the day she was born, but her big beautiful warm brown eyes surely melted them that day, as they did the hearts of all who met her from that day forward.
Although Habersham never ventured far from the center of her heart, Ginger went on to graduate from Morris Brown College in Atlanta and then she would eventually trade the Big Red Apple of Cornelia for the Big Apple of New York City where she worked for the New York City Department of Social Services and the New York Housing Authority. It was in NYC where those big brown eyes caught the attention of a handsome, young sailor named Elder Harrison and their hearts danced their way to the altar where they were married in May of 1968. The next year, they would welcome their first and only child, their cherished son, Stacy Lamont Harrison.
But the echoes of the beautiful, Georgia Mountains beckoned their daughter to come back home, therefore the Harrisons made Atlanta their home. Ginger heeded her calling and God-given talent and returned to teaching to shape and fill the minds of young people with knowledge, respect and poise. She had a long career of more than 30 years at West Fulton High School and then West Fulton Middle School. But then she shouted, "pencils down," retired and assumed her favorite role on this Earth as "GiGi" to her only granddaughter, Sanaa Harrison, whom she adored and spoiled unabashedly.
Those entrusted with Ginger's memories include her husband, Elder, of the home; son, Stacy (Leslie) Harrison and granddaughter, Sanaa Harrison, all of Atlanta; sisters, Barbara King of Cornelia, and Martha West-Williams of Smyrna; six sisters-in-law, Thelma (John) Robinson of Prattville, Alabama, Fontela Harris of Chicago, Illinois, Elouise Davis of New York, Lizzie Davis, Amy Potillo and Ellis Davis, all of Ohio; special nieces, Doris (David) Coleman of Atlanta, and Alice (Enrico) Chappel of Prattville, Alabama; special nephew, James (Veronica) Metcalfe of Smyrna; a host of other devoted nephews and nieces; a multitude of great, great-great and great-great-great nieces and nephews; and countless extended family members and friends.
A private graveside service was held at Level Grove Cemetery Tuesday, July 28, with her immediate family in attendance; and streamed online for her extended family and myriad of lifelong friends and pupils. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to Morris Brown College, https://morrisbrown.edu/give/ in Ginger's honor.