Although she had no “chicks” of her own, she was Mother Hen to any and all who came under her radar.
Virginia Laney Medlin Guice of Charlotte died May 22 at home. She was 87 and retired after a long retail sales career, lastly at Belk department store.
Virginia, a native of Pageland, S.C., helped raise some of the youngest of her eight siblings. “When she was
5 or 6 years old, she helped do the cooking and cared for the babies,” said sister Margie Moore. “There was another one every other year. Through the years, she's been our second mother – she was 16 when the youngest was born.”
Virginia came to Charlotte in 1937, where she worked at the old Carolina Sweets restaurant on North Tryon Street for about $7 a week. “She sent money home to help us,” Margie said. “This was in the Depression years and we would have had no Christmas present if not for her.”
Virginia next worked for Lance cracker manufacturers, where she met James Medlin, whom she married. She later worked at Carol Ann hat shop on South Tryon Street, then managed the second floor children's department for Belk.
She joined the WAVES
After their marriage, James went into the Army and she enlisted in the Navy WAVES in 1943. They had no children and James died of a heart attack in 1979 after 39 years of marriage.
Virginia later married Paul Guice in 1981. Their marriage of 26 years also was childless and Paul died in November 2006.
Virginia taught Sunday school at Calvary Baptist Church for 50 years. “She really kept up with their needs,” said the Rev. Tony Harper, associate pastor and youth and recreation minister. “She was involved in all, whether physical, financial or spiritual, and got help any way she could. She was concerned about everyone.”
Friend Blake McCurdy said, “She looked after everybody. If you missed Sunday school class or church, she called to make sure you were OK. Everybody who was ever in her class, they became her children. I don't know anybody who didn't love her.”
Faithful to the end
“It was the same with her seniors class, FISH (Fun In Serving Him),” Rev. Harper said. “She always had an active role in that and provided what leadership she could there, and at the Calvary Love Lunches, she did the devotions for that. She was real caring in every area of a person's life. She desired to see people develop totally.”
Frances Thompson, a friend of 42 years said, “Virginia made sure those in the lunch group had food. She was concerned that everybody had someone to sit with and she would move them to a table with another person.”
If Frances didn't feel like going to church on Sunday morning, she once told Virginia, “Then I'd think about you struggling up three flights of stairs – and on crutches after a wreck – to teach your Sunday school class.”
Virginia was faithful to the end, Frances said. “She served a meal on Wednesday night at the church, then died the next day.”
Frances and Virginia had for years worked closely together and regularly conferred on projects.
In planning Virginia's funeral dinner at the church Frances thought, “I need to call Virginia on this …”