Let us honor the life and legacy of Mary Virginia Terry.

Mrs. Terry, or “Miss Ginnie” to the children of Children’s Home Society of Florida, has left a legacy of love in Jacksonville, along with her late husband, Mr. C Herman Terry.

Whether Mrs. Terry was giving for the balloons that made little Joseph’s eyes light up on his birthday or putting a roof over little Sarah’s head so she could peacefully close her eyes to sleep, each moment she touched brought love, security and joy to a child that needed it.

We remember her for her caring and generous heart, never passing an opportunity to help create happy memories for a child. We remember the impromptu phone call she made after she picked up bags of popcorn so our girls at Buckner Place could have a movie night, illustrating her genuine desire to create happy memories at every turn. We remember her immediate “yes” when we asked for her support to launch the very first Community Partnership School in St. Johns County, which has since transformed thousands of children’s lives.

In 1988, the Terrys received CHS’ most prestigious award — the R. David and I. Lorraine Thomas Child Advocate Award — for their exceptional contributions to the well-being of children in Northeast Florida. And Mrs. Terry was indeed exceptional.

We remember the way she always let her teacher heart shine though with the lessons and encouragement she poured into the children. “Miss Ginnie says, ‘no elbows on the table’,” says Jaelynn. A lesson she learned at age 11 over tea and white powdered donuts with Mrs. Terry. We remember her bright red sweater at Holiday parties as she would lean in to hug each child like a member of her own family.

And we remember her love for Jacksonville, its history, its people and the friendships she built to strengthen our community.

But most of all, we remember her love for others, her heart for community, her lively spirit that could brighten any room … and reshaped the future for countless children.