OBITUARY

Virginia Mae McMahan

April 24, 1931July 25, 2020
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Virginia Mae (Zachary) McMahan, 89, died in her home on July 25 after a lengthy illness. She was born on April 24, 1931 in Knoxville, TN to Herman and Ida Mae (Lundy) Lovelace, the first of three children. As the daughter of a Methodist minister, she grew up in church communities in the mountains of southwestern Virginia and eastern Tennessee, from Independence to Andersonville, from Roda to Loudon. She graduated from the University of Chattanooga in 1954 shortly after her marriage to Walter Zachary and dedicated her life to mothering Elisabeth, John, Virginia, David, and Kathy.

Virginia was a woman of grace: sustaining strength and resilience in adversity, showing compassion and kindness to all, and living her life as an example of her faith. As an elementary school teacher and the single mother of five children, she devoted herself to the service of others. Well-known for her kindness and thoughtfulness to all, whether in the check-out line at the grocery store, the waiting room at the beauty shop, or the church pew across the aisle, she was always available to hold hands, dry tears and babysit children. She was an active member of the church families at Trinity-Woodmore and Rising Fawn United Methodist Churches, cultivating many lasting friendships in those churches.

After her requirement from Chattanooga City Schools in 1990, she cared for her beloved parents in the little house on Woodmore Lane where she hosted Sunday dinners for her children and grandchildren. In 1994, she married the late Sonny McMahan who taught her to love square dancing, Silver Queen cream corn, and Rising Fawn, Georgia. Virginia and Sonny became legendary for their holiday dinners with so much company that they had to cook and serve meals in the fellowship hall at Rising Fawn United Methodist Church.

Adored by her children and grandchildren, she provided support and guidance for them throughout her life, reminding them, “Pretty is as pretty does” or “If you say mama one more time, I’m going to change my name”. While Virginia weathered many hardships, she carried no bitterness or rancor. Instead, she developed a sweetness of spirit that earned her a treasured place in the hearts of all who knew her – family, friends, even casual acquaintances. Her concern for others and acts of kindness without expecting anything in return reflect her capacity for love and provided the foundation of a life well-lived.

Virginia was preceded in death by her parents, Herman and Mae (Lundy) Lovelace; husband, Sonny McMahan; brother, Lundy (Jane) Lovelace; and loyal companion, Snoopy.

She is survived by her brother, David (Claire) Lovelace; children: John (Anita) Zachary of Los Angeles, CA, Elisabeth, Kathy, and David Zachary, Virginia (Joe) Waddell, of Chattanooga, and adoring step-daughter, Lindsey Fussell; fourteen grandchildren: Kirby (Jake) Yost, Daniel Waddell, Jordan, Lundy, and Nick Longstreth, Lance Snider, Zachary (Kasie) and Katelyn Jackson, Savannah McMahan, Sarah (Kev) Jones, Hannah and Virginia Zachary, Caleb and Micah Zachary; six great grandchildren; and four nieces and nephews.

A Celebration of Virginia’s Life will be held in the East Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home on Friday July 31, 2020 at 3:00 pm. the family will receive friends prior to the service beginning at 2:00pm. The burial will be Saturday August 1, 2020 at 10:00 in Rising Fawn, Georgia in the Hanna Cemetery, 3462 US-11.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial donation to The Boys and Girls Club of Chattanooga. Checks may be mailed to Boys and Girls Club, 610 Lindsay Street, Chattanooga, TN 37403 or donation are accepted through the website: hUps://www.bgccha.org/. Please add “Virginia McMahan” in the notes section on the final page before submitting.

We respectfully request that all current mandates set forth by Hamilton Co. Health Department be adhered to. This includes “social distancing and wearing masks at all times while on the premises.

If you are not comfortable attending the service you may join us live for the service at https://www.facebook.com/chattanoogaeastchapel

Arrangements are under the care of Chattanooga Funeral Home Crematory and Florist East Chapel, 404 South Moore Rd. East Ridge, TN 37412.

Services

  • Visitation

    Friday, July 31, 2020

  • Funeral Service

    Friday, July 31, 2020

  • Committal Service

    Saturday, August 1, 2020

Memories

Virginia Mae McMahan

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Susan Lee

August 1, 2020

Sweet, soft spoken, kind, happy, always smiling, courteous and thoughtful are some of the beautiful thoughts that come to mind regarding Virginia. I worked the front desk at Hickory Valley from 2018 to 2019 and chatted with her many times. She was a favorite friend. She loved her family and enjoyed talking about all of them. I was blessed to have known her. Rest, dear Virginia

Gary Pickering

July 30, 2020

What a wonderfully written tribute to your mom! It struck me how many similarities our families have had. Your mom worked for the schools as did my mom. We grew up on Woodmore Terrace just a stone's throw from your home. We attended the same schools. My brother as yours is in the entertainment business. I also lost a parent this summer. My dad, Earl, died in June. He was 93. However, I did not know that your mom moved to Rising Fawn and attended the Methodist church. My great, great grandfather McGuffey pastored that church in the late 1800's. In fact he is buried in Hanna Cemetery. What interesting paths our families have taken! Your mom must have been so pleased to see her children have grandchildren. In many ways my dad was like your mom full of life until the end.

Betsy Chesney

July 30, 2020

I was sorry to hear and read of Virginia's passing. Many of my memories of her revolve around music. We shared many hours going down Memory Lane through the old standard songs, and I have music books and magazines that she gave me. The obituary summarized her graciousness and aura beautifully. I will miss her and will keep the family in my prayers in the days to come.

Kathy York

July 29, 2020

Of all my past friends’ mothers, I always thought Virginia was one of the sweetest and kindest of all. She was always glad to see us in our ball uniforms even if we were dirty. I will always remember her smile and kind eyes. To my friend Virginia, I send my condolences and pray that the Lord will heal your pain and replace it with only fond memories of your time with your mother. Sending hugs and wishes for many blessings.

Linda Shriver-Buckner

July 27, 2020

Virginia was a true blessing to all who knew her. She had such a deep love for her family which extended to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She truly enjoyed the visits from the greats! Sincere condolences on the loss of your extra special matriarch. Sincerely blessed to have known her.

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