Virginia Mawson Rider

image of Virginia Rider

Virginia Rider

Virginia Rider, formerly of Yakima, WA, passed away peacefully in her sleep in Kirkland, WA where she had resided for the last 10 years.

Virginia Mawson Rider was born on January 2, 1920 in Philadelphia, PA to Reuben Edward and Edith Johnson Warrington Mawson.  She graduated from High School in Clayton, NJ and then went to Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, PA.  There she studied chemistry, received her BS in Chemistry and went on to become the first female chemist at Campbell Soup Company.

Virginia 1922 age 2

It was at Gettysburg College where she met the handsome young student from Marysville, PA, Paul Wagner Rider, who would become her husband and the love of her life in 1942. While Virginia continued working, Paul went on to study Medicine at Temple University in Philadelphia.  This was interrupted for a short time as Paul fulfilled his military duties at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, TX and at Camp Stoneman in Antioch, CA.  They then moved back to Philadelphia where Paul completed medical school, his internship and residency in 1953.  Children were born on both sides of the country as their long journey together began.

Paul and Virginia moved west to Yakima, WA in the late summer of 1953 for Paul to begin his General Surgery practice.  Two colleagues from Temple encouraged them to come as Yakima was said to be a great place to live!

Paul and Virginia joined the Yakima Ski Club the year after moving to Yakima and spent many wonderful years taking all the family skiing.  Virginia also spent much time involved in the Yakima Tennis Club — in fact, she was one of the founding members and became the very first President of the Yakima Tennis Club.  Virginia and her children traveled the Northwest playing in numerous tennis tournaments.  As Paul had been interested in horses since his years as a Mounted Troop Boy Scout in Harrisburg, PA, they also raised Arabian horses and two of their children became very involved in Arabian Horse Shows.

Virginia had a love of gardening that was passed on to all of her children.  She was very proud of her rose garden, peonies down the side of the driveway and spectacular dahlias that she entered in the State Fair.

It could be said that Virginia was a woman ahead of her time.  She was very intellectual and well-read, always reading the latest available book on a myriad of subjects, and ready to have a deep discussion or debate on whatever subject she was into at the time!!  She was a member of the well-known Russian Readers Group and an avid art collector over the years.

In later years Virginia made a trip to the Southwest after deciding she wanted to open an Art Gallery with paintings and Southwest Indian Turquoise Jewelry.  She carried beautiful jewelry and art from many artists in different genres.  She did open this gallery in Yakima and kept at it for about 3 years.

After Paul and Virginia divorced, she then decided to go back to college at Central WA University where she obtained her BS and MS Degree in Psychology. It was during this time that Virginia became interested in Handwriting Analysis and soon became a Certified Handwriting Consultant and Document Examiner and opened a business on her own.  She did consulting and testified for many trial lawyers around the state.  She moved to Seattle in 1984 and continued this profession there well into her eighties.  She also worked several years for the WA State Dept. of Voc. Rehab in Seattle.

Virginia had a passion for travel and was able to travel the world. She also had a strong love for photography that enabled her to capture many of her experiences through her camera lens.  She traveled to Alaska, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and many other places with friends and her daughter, Lisa.  Africa was probably her highlighted adventure. She joined Art Wolfe for a photo class.  She took many local trips too – capturing eagles on the Skagit, wildflowers in Leavenworth, or the infamous tulips of LaConner.  She participated in a night photography class at the U of W with her youngest daughter, Lisa.  She flew over Mt. St Helens right before it blew in 1980; took a trip to New York just before the twin towers were taken away; thus capturing memorable history.  She always seemed to be in the middle of the action! She was very in tune with her surroundings – nature and cloud formations were a favorite – and gave her much delight illustrating many beautiful scenes with her camera.

Virginia is survived by five children, Cynthia (Bill) Mahre, Yakima, WA; Jeff (Narcy) Rider, Vernon Hills, IL; Melanie Rider, Renton, WA; Jonathan (Maggie) Rider, Bothell, WA; and Lisa Rider (David Adams), Kirkland, WA.   Also by 7 grandchildren and their families, Liz (Tim) Hronek, and Cindy and Jon Hronek, Monaca, PA; Anthony (Suzanne) Mahre and Nicholas Mahre, Salt Lake City, UT; Jennifer Rider (Sebastien Haneuse), and Linnea Stark and Wyatt Haneuse, Boston, MA; Peter (Madalina Calen) Dauenhauer, Seattle, WA:  Nicholas (Whitney Rosenberg) Rider, Redmond, WA; Tracy Rider, Bothell, WA; and Christopher (Jamie) Rider, Bakersfield, CA.  She was preceded in death by her parents, her former husband, Paul W. Rider M.D., and twin baby girls born prematurely in 1945.

There are no services planned at this time.  A private family gathering will be held at a later date.  Memorial contributions may be made to your local Humane Society.



2 Responses to “Virginia Mawson Rider”

  • Mark and Rosita Wischmeyer says:

    Our deepest condolences to your family. Virginia was a sweet woman and with so much passion for life. I am honered to have met her. Heaven has gained another angel. Rest In Peace Virginia.

  • Mary MacKintosh Plyler says:

    My memories of Virginia (Ginny) Rider are from my own junior high days, when Ginny was one of three mothers carpooling their children to Wilson Junior High and Eisenhower High School. Wrangling teenaged children into station wagons and getting them to school on time didn’t make for good starts to these mothers’ days. At this time the Riders had poodles (I think they were mostly Ginny’s dogs) and those dogs loved car rides. If they did not get to go in the car, they retaliated. I recall one day when Mrs. Rider was particularly testy about getting us all into the car. She told us that she hadn’t locked the dogs up the day before, and they had pooped on her bed in revenge for being left behind. The early 60s were not an easy time to be a woman in America, and were especially hard for intelligent women such as Virginia Rider. I recall her as attractive and outspoken. If she had been born 15 years later, she might have ruled our corner of the world. My sympathies go to her children on her loss.

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