Virginia Merrills Tomasulo Anthes
Virginia Merrills Tomasulo Anthes
  • February 10, 1919 - December 7, 2016
  • Longwood, Florida

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Virginia Merrills Tomasulo Anthes died peacefully on Dec 7, 2016 in Longwood, Fla., following complications from surgery to repair a hip fracture.

An attorney who specialized in nonprofit tax law and charitable giving, Virginia used her expertise in her retirement years on behalf of the elderly, even visiting the Florida state legislature to discuss laws affecting continuing life-care retirement communities.

Virginia was born Feb. 10, 1919 to Frederic Emerson Merrills and Mary Turner Merrills, in Belleville, IL. where she was a member of the local DAR chapter. She graduated from Wellesley College in 1940 and earned her law degree from Washington University in 1943, following the footsteps of 21 lawyers in her family, including her father and two grandfathers.

Thanks to the war, Virginia not only graduated in record time (every student wanted to finish their courses quickly), but also had a choice of jobs in private firms and the government. She decided to join the Rural Electrification Administration, a New Deal agency created to electrify America, because it offered her the greatest education. “Young professionals were given a lot of responsibility. There was supervision, but you didn’t have somebody leaning over your shoulder all the time,” Virginia later told the Washington University Law School Magazine. At the time, the REA was based in St. Louis, but when it relocated to Washington, D.C. in 1946, she followed.

In 1949, Virginia moved to the Internal Revenue Service, beginning her long career in tax law. She married fellow tax attorney Nicholas Tomasulo in 1952. In 1973, they moved to Detroit. While he taught at Wayne State University, she gained litigation experience as a trial attorney representing the IRS in U.S. Tax Court.

The couple returned to Washington in 1977 and each joined private firms. Virginia joined Baker & Hostetler where she worked until she retired in 1989. Nicholas Tomasulo died in 1986.

In 1988, Virginia married Harrison Anthes, a retired E.I. DuPont research chemist; they moved to the Village on the Green, a continuing life-care retirement community in Longwood, Fl., in 1993. Harrison Anthes died in 2007.

Virginia was an active member of Village on the Green, acting as an ardent advocate for residents’ rights while she served on the community’s finance committee and resident council. Also a strong promoter of higher education, she was a trustee of a private foundation that oversaw a scholarship fund for the young students who worked in her retirement community.

Virginia is survived by two stepchildren, Richard Anthes and Gary Anthes, their wives and four step-grandchildren, four nieces, six nephews, three great nieces and one great nephew.

A memorial service is scheduled for Feb. 2, 2017 at 10:00 am at Village on the Green, 500 Village Place, in Longwood, Fl. A private interment service will be held on April 3, 2017 at 11:00 AM at the Rock Creek Cemetery, 201 Allison St. NW, Washington D.C. 20011 Arrangements are being made by Baldwin Fairchild (

Instead of flowers, please send contributions to either The Brede Wilkins Scholarship Fund in care of Village on the Green 500 Village Place Longwood Fl, 32779, or the Washington University School of Law, (directed to the Virginia Tomasulo Anthes Endowed Scholarship Fund, c/o Washington University in St. Louis, CB 1248, 7425 Forsyth Boulevard, Suite 360, St. Louis, MO 63105. Contributions can also be made to the Virginia Merrills Tomasulo Endowed Scholarship, class of 1940, in care of Wellesley College, 106 Central St, Wellesley, MA 02481.