I was very fortunate to have made the acquaintance of Virginia (Jinny) Avery seven years ago at the introduction of a mutual friend. We met for lunch at a Chinese restaurant in Greenwich, CT and bonded immediately.
I had read books by Jinny when I began quilting in the early 70′s. Now, here we were in the early 21st Century, and I was able to invite her to meet my group of nationally recognized creative women–the Artsy Girls. She LOVED our group and became a regular at the quarterly get-togethers.
I’ll never forget her presentation of the quilted clothing she designed and sewed the night we met at Marisabina Russo’s. I was fortunate enough to serve as a model for her kimono-like jackets since we were close to the same height. They looked and felt awesome.
Jinny’s presence was larger than life. Her large, red-framed eyeglasses made her instantly memorable, and her dynamic personality and devotion to talented women added a spark to the many Artsy Girls dinners she came to. A couple of years ago our group honored Jinny for having been installed in the Quilters Hall of Fame. She was really something.
I figured she was in her late 70′s or early 80′s, but age wasn’t something you’d mention to Jinny. There were far more important things to talk about. She regularly hosted jazz programs at her home in Portchester, flew to California often to visit her daughter, and drove to Vermont frequently as well. In fact, Jinny always seemed to be on the move, vitally interested and involved in life all over the globe.
So, I was quite shocked to receive an invitation earlier this month to attend Jinny’s 100th birthday party which had been scheduled for 9/30. When I called to RSVP, her daughter told me that Jinny wasn’t well, and that it was uncertain if, indeed, there would be a party at all. Today I received the sad news that this wonderful woman had passed away.
If you’d like to read more about Jinny, you’ll enjoy this piece on her from the Quilt Alliance.