Virginia (Porter) Parsons passed away September 25, 2019, after a short illness, at home in Boxborough with her daughter Becky and son Bob at her side. She was 94.
Virginia was born 1924 in Newton, Mass., to Robert and Lillian Porter. She was married to Charles Parsons from 1948 until his passing in 1992. She was predeceased by her siblings, Stanley, Joan, Clifford, Grace and Sandra.
She graduated from Watertown High School in 1942 and was active in WWII civil defense efforts when, during black-outs, she would patrol the streets enforcing the curfew near the Arsenal in Watertown. She worked for Western Electric, building communications equipment, and then for Workshop Associates making radar equipment for the U.S. Navy. After the war, she worked for Harvard University in the records department.
The family moved from Watertown to South Acton in 1955, where she enjoyed a more rural environment. She became interested in training her Shetland Sheepdogs in dog obedience and also became interested in horses.
Virginia was not afraid of a challenge; she took on the training of a 9 month old filly that later Becky rode in many competitions. She was also very interested in the Appaloosa horse and was instrumental in the forming of the Yankee Appaloosa Horse club. The family bought a beautiful Appaloosa mare and raised a filly that she foaled.
The family moved to Boxborough in 1967, where she established the Canine Learning Center. Virginia enjoyed teaching and introducing dog obedience training at the center, always using gentle methods of training.
Dogs were always a huge part of her life and Virginia was instrumental in introducing the Bearded Collie breed to the United States. She was a featured guest on WBZ’s “Sharon King Show” with her wonderful Bearded Collie, Honey. Virginia and Honey went on to earn obedience titles in competition, as well as the first advanced tracking degree earned by a Bearded Collie. For many years, she enjoyed annual trips to Quebec for the Canadian tracking trials.
Continuing her dog training, Virginia was the mastermind behind a multi-generational performance group called Paw Steps. The group, which consisted of 12 adults with their dogs and 6 children with their dogs, performed routines to music similar to group ice-skating performances. The group gave performances at local nursing homes, bringing much happiness to residents. Paw Steps performed for about five years and she said it made her very happy to brighten up the day of their audiences.
Virginia bred Bearded Collies, and many of her dogs went on to become champions and earned obedience, rally and tracking titles. She also inspired many others to participate in dog sports.
An accomplished artist, Virginia enjoyed creating pastel paintings, and exhibited her work at the Boxborough Sargent Memorial Library. She also made handwork needlepoint pictures, knitted countless sweaters, and created handmade teddy bears that her family will treasure forever.
Her faith was a very important part of her life and she studied the Bible every day.
Virginia is survived by her son Bob, daughter Becky and several nieces and nephews.
She will be missed by her family and everyone who knew her.
Funeral services were private.