Virginia Rogers Cushing
Virginia Rogers Cushing
  • December 6, 1920 - January 16, 2018
  • Maryland

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Virginia Rogers Cushing (Gini) passed peacefully from this world on the morning of January 16, 2018 at the age of 97.

She is survived by her sister, Barbara Heineck, her daughters, Katherine Sandler, Jacqueline (Jaya) Gulhaugen, and Brenda Cushing, and her sons, Roger and Matthew Cushing. Gini has 14 grandchildren: Lisah Bernstein, David Sandler, Yoni Sandler, Joel Sandler, Anil Melwani, Divia Eden, Ian McEneaney, Stephania Ray Cushing, Nicole Cushing Ray, Tai Ray Cushing, William Cushing, Nancy Kennedy, Daniel (Danny) Cushing, and Wendy Cushing. Gini also has 13 great-grandchildren: Aviad, Elianna, and Danielle (Dani) Bernstein, Clara and Benjamin Melwani, Lydia and Ezekiel (Zeke) Eden, Ezekiel (Zeke) and Finn McEneaney, Braelyn and Kinsley Cushing, and Charlotte (Charlie) and Maeve Kennedy. In addition, Gini is survived by countless nieces, nephews, and "grands" on her side of the family and Ben's.

Gini is predeceased by her loving husband of 63 years, Benjamin Cushing, her grandsons Shashi Melwani and Stevenson Ray Cushing.

Gini was born in New York on December 6, 1920, to Dr. Henry William Rogers and Dr. Helen Jones Rogers. She spent her early years in Brooklyn and Manhattan, attending the Lincoln School through grade three. In 1930 Gini and her sister, Barbara, traveled to England, Germany, and Austria with their mother, Dr. Helen Rogers, who had a grant to study multiple sclerosis.

When it was time to go back to the United States in the mid-thirties, Gini asked to be allowed to stay at the Blyth School in Norwich, England, and finish her secondary education. Gini then returned to New York in 1938, graduating from Barnard College, Columbia University, in 1942.

Gini spent the next three years working for the Department of the Army in Manhattan, using the German she had learned as a child to censor letters to and from prisoners of war.

As soon as World War II ended, Gini traveled to London as an OSS officer. After six weeks, she was transferred to Wiesbaden and then Munich, where she met a dashing young OSS officer by the name of Benjamin Cushing. Evidently they hit it off, because they were married in November, 1946, in Heidelberg. Shortly thereafter, they were transferred to Berlin as part of the newly formed CIA.

Gini and Ben's first three children, Jackie, Brenda, and Roger, were all born in Germany. Gini also welcomed Kathy, Ben's daughter from his first marriage, into her family and looked forward to her visits during her vacations from Paris.

In 1954 the family returned to Virginia for two years, where Gini's youngest child, Matt, was born. The family then set off for a five-year stint in Vienna, Austria. This was at the time of the Hungarian Revolution, and Gini helped to set up a nursery for Hungarian refugee children, as well as a sewing cooperative for the wives to earn money while they waited for exit visas.

One year back in the States, and Gini shipped off with her family to Leopoldville, Congo (now Kinshasa). During this time Gini taught biology, chemistry, math, and practically everything else at the American school. Despite civil unrest, including the Simba Rebellion, food shortages, frequent loss of power and water, and evening curfews, Gini took it all in stride, and indeed accepted it as another adventure in her life.

In 1965 the family moved back to Virginia for two years, during which time she earned a second masters degree in teaching. In 1967 they again moved, this time to Bonn, Germany, where she again taught at the American school. In addition, she hosted parties with a lively mix of Germans and many foreign diplomats.

When the family returned to the US Gini taught chemistry at Herndon High School for twenty years. While living in Reston, Virginia, and then Annapolis, Maryland, Gini hosted her growing family at Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and, really, any time we descended on her. And despite all the time and organization that must have gone into those gatherings, Gini always made it seem effortless as well as a pleasure.

Once she and Ben were both retired they moved to Heritage Harbor in Annapolis, but they didn't stay still for long. The two of them enthusiastically visited every state in the union, under the auspices of the Elder Hostel organization. And each summer Gini and Ben would decamp to Long Island, Maine, to their summer cottage, where they would host their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Gini tooled around on perhaps the first golf cart on the island.

After "retiring," she qualified as a tax preparer, which she did for three months a year for many years and then retired again and volunteered her to time to "help the elderly do their taxes" so that they would get their maximum refunds due. In addition to devoting herself to supporting and enjoying her husband and children and then grand and great-grandchildren, she spent her life doing very practical things to help strangers as well.

In the spring of 2010 Gini and Ben moved to Riderwood, a retirement community in Silver Spring, Maryland. In May of 2012 Gini's beloved husband, Ben, passed away. Three years later Gini moved into Arbor Ridge, a full service facility within the Riderwood complex. All of the nurses and aides loved her for her sense of humor and her sweet manner, and for her ability to connect with their lives.

Gini loved to swim and take walks. She enjoyed knitting, playing bridge, and solving jigsaw puzzles. But perhaps her favorite activity was "putting her feet up," cuddling up with an afghan, sipping tea and reading an Agatha Christie mystery.

"Sleep after toil, port after stormy seas, Ease after War, death after life does greatly please" from The Faerie Queen by Edmund Spenser. That was the quote Agatha Christie picked for her epitaph. It suits Gini perfectly.

In lieu of flowers, you might consider giving a gift to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, National Capital Chapter, PO Box 91891 Washington DC 20090-1891. This was an organization dear to Gini's heart, as her mother, Dr. Helen Rogers, spent years researching a