Virginia A. Smythe

January 21, 1935 - May 19, 2024

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January 21, 1935 – May 19, 2024

VIRGINIA ANN SMYTHE passed through the veil and left our world on May 19, 2024, at the family home in Rose City Park, Portland, Oregon, saying farewell as her daughter held her hands.

Virginia was born Virginia Ann Cleeve in Hornell, New York on January 21, 1935, to Richard Samuel Cleeve and Florence Mabel Donovan. Tragedy struck Ginger early in life, leaving her and her younger brother, Richard “Buddy” Cleeve, as orphans. Instead of allowing these circumstances to define her, Ginger rose above them with resilience, resourcefulness and self-sufficiency, traits which she passed down to her grateful daughters Patricia, Kathleen, Kelley, and Nina. Ginger also left behind sons-in-law Dan Holder, James Gregory, Tim Escriva, and Bill Hetrick, grandsons Ben, Sean, Jeray, Anthony and Aaron, granddaughter Katie, and great grandchildren Declan and Riah.

After the death of her first husband, Robert Downey in 1976, she met and married the “the love of her life” Jerry Smythe.

Ginger lived a rich, fulfilling and diverse life, mostly in the Pacific Northwest, and touched many with her intelligence, humor and faith. As she confronted her final illness with quiet bravery, she looked back on her days with satisfaction, and looked forward to being reunited with her brother Buddy who passed earlier this year, and husband Jerry, who passed in 2000.

Ginger’s family wishes to thank the many friends who surrounded her over the last several years, and to thank Ginger for providing a living example of grace, dignity and strength, which will stay with us all eternally.

Ginger will be interred with Jerry at Willamette National Cemetery in the Fall of 2024.