Virginia Henderson, 99, Real Estate Agent, Animal Lover, Horse Rider, Traveler, Wee Burn Club Member
Virginia Passavant Henderson, a longtime resident of Darien, passed away at The Residence at Selleck’s Woods on September 23, 2021. She was 99 years old.
She was originally called Lillian Virginia but was best known as Passy or Sis.
Born July 14, 1922 in Zelienople, Pennsylvania, a town founded by her ancestors in 1802, Sis attended school at Zelienople and Hathaway Brown in Cleveland, where she received a chemistry degree from Connecticut College in 1944.
While at Connecticut College, she met Sid, who was stationed at the US Naval Submarine School in Groton before being shipped to the Pacific during World War II.
After graduation, she worked in a laboratory in New York City until the end of the war, when she and Sid were married in Zelienople on October 5, 1945. Their four children were born there.
When Sid was transferred to the New York area in 1958, they moved to Darien. With the exception of a brief return to Pennsylvania (Sewickley, a community not far from Zelienople), Sis and Sid made Darien their home for the rest of their lives.
Sis was intelligent, strong-willed and motivated. She went from being a wife and mother to a successful businesswoman in her early fifties, when she entered the workforce as a real estate agent. She became one of Darien’s most successful real estate agencies and in 2014, at the age of 92, she received the Realtor Emeritus Award for 40 years of valuable contribution to the profession.
Sis was well known for the care she provided to her clients – baking pecans for them each holiday season, inviting them to parties, and making sure their families were welcome in the community. Many of them, decades younger than her, remained her friends until her death, especially her wonderful Tuesday band who entertained her once a week for 15 years after Sid’s death.
Outside of family and work, Sis was a sociable person who enjoyed fun and socializing at home, at the Wee Burn Country Club, in town, or while visiting her many friends across the country.
Her love of travel took her to many parts of the world, but her favorite was East Africa, which she visited eight times. She was passionate about animals, with a passion for horseback riding that she carried on until she was 80, particularly at the Eatons’ Ranch in Wolf, Wyoming. While Sis has taken in several rescue cats, it was his dogs that won first place in his heart. Sid joked that we would all be lucky to be reincarnated as one of Sis’ dogs.
Sis’ family expresses their deep gratitude to all who cared for and visited her, especially in her later years. They are especially grateful to Sue McGraw, JoAnn and Rocco Mancuso, the Tuesday Group, Maia Hodge, Valery Dieudonne, Shana Gordon and the staff at Selleck’s Woods.
Sis is survived by her four children: Lisa Rosenbloom (Robert) of Ossining, New York; Lucia (Cia) Marion (James III) of Westport, Sidney Henderson III (Louise) of Bend, Oregon, and Leslie Henderson (Robert Maue) of Hanover, New Hampshire. She had eight grandchildren: Philip Rosenbloom (Christina DaCosta), Sidney Henderson IV, James Marion IV (Jordan Paxhia), Kate Rosenbloom, Hetty Marion, Theodore Henderson (Cheryl Wilson), Tyler Maue and Casey Maue (Francisca Santana); as well as three great-grandchildren: Lucien and Caleb Rosenbloom, and Beatrice Paxhia Marion. Sis was predeceased by her husband, Sidney Elliott Henderson Jr. in 2005; his sister, Elizabeth Passavant Kaufmann; and his parents, Charles Sidney Passavant III and Hetty Rodgers Passavant.
A memorial service will be held at the Presbyterian Church in Noroton at a later date.