Virginia McFadden

May 9, 1918April 13, 2014
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Virginia Christenbery McFadden born on May 9, 1918 in Knoxville, TN the daughter of Dr. William Frederick (W.F.) and Rosamond Lee Clark Christenbery, passed away at Tennova Residential Hospice in Knoxville, Tn on April 13, 2014, Palm Sunday, at the age of 95. Virginia is a descendant of the Christenbery family that lived in the Wheat community in Oak Ridge, TN before the creation of the Manhattan Project. Many of her relatives are buried outside the George Jones Memorial Church, known locally as “the Wheat Church”. Virginia was a graduate of The University of Tennessee, Knoxville and was pursuing a Master’s degree in Home Economics when she met her husband, William Steele McFadden. After a two week courtship, they began their seventy year marriage which ended in March of 2010 when he passed away at age 97. She helped him grow a family construction business and served as his accountant, partner, cheerleader, member of his building crew, rental property agent, and mother of four children. They were active members in Fountain City Presbyterian Church for many years where she sang in the choir and occasionally played the music for services. Throughout her life, she gave her children an example of fidelity, Christian faith, self-reliance, and fiscal responsibility. Virginia was an avid hat lover, ballroom dancer, and music enthusiast. She was predeceased by her husband and her “son-in-love” (she abhorred the term “in-law”), Dr. Robert E. Dougherty who passed away in 2003. She is survived by her four children: Virginia Dougherty of Knoxville, TN, Pamela McFadden of LaFollette, TN, Rosamond and her husband Perry Powell of Atlanta, GA, and Dr. Fred McFadden and his wife Susan of Columbia, SC. Virginia was a proud grandmother of eight: Robert Dougherty II and his wife Julie, Virginia Bayne and her husband Stuart, Angela McFadden, Devin Powell, Laura Powell, Christopher McFadden and his wife Jenny, Matthew McFadden and his wife Grace, and Michael McFadden and his wife Masha. In her later years, Virginia also enjoyed visiting with her five great-grandchildren: twins Robert E. Dougherty III (Trey) and Evelyn Mae Dougherty (Evie), Rebecca Bayne, and Frances Adele (Frankie) and Dexter Wallace (Dex) McFadden. The family would like to extend its heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Steven B. Masters and his staff, for their medical expertise, dedicated care, and Christian compassion for over twenty years. Sincere thanks go also to her neighbors, especially Elmer and Sheila Sharp, Mike, Carlene, and Matthew LeCompte. Their visits, pies, care, and kindness brought her and her husband a sense of community and security, as well as joy in their twilight years and assisted in enabling them to stay in their home as long as possible. In addition, appreciation is extended to the members of Fountain City Presbyterian Church who brought communion to Virginia and Steele’s home, prayed with them, and helped them retain their sense of belonging in the community of Christ. To her exceptional caregivers who include the following: Emma McMillan, Ellen Brock, Anita Gudger and the staff of Tennova Residential Hospice, you helped make the end of her life a peaceful one. We are so grateful for your patience, kindness, care, and compassion. The family will receive friends from 2:30-3:30pm on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at Fountain City Presbyterian Church, 500 Hotel Rd, Knoxville, TN 37918. The funeral service will begin at 3:30pm, Rev. Max Reddick and Rev. Darryl Baker officiating. Interment will follow in Lynnhurst Cemetery. Condolences may be offered at Contributions may be made to Fountain City Presbyterian Church, 500 Hotel Ave. Knoxville, TN 37918.


  • Visitation Wednesday, April 16, 2014
  • Funeral Service Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Virginia McFadden

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A Workin' Child

May 6, 2014

I love the memory of the "L'il Red-Headed Kid"

When Dad was just starting out in his construction business, you and he were working on building a house together. One neighbor remarked to another neighbor, "They's a feller down the street buildin' a house all by hisself. Ain't got no help, only a l'il red-headed kid up on the roof there." If you, (the mother of four who was on the roof at the time) had heard him, you might well have answered him, "that's MRS. L'il Red-headed kid to you, sir!"

Virginia (Ginger) Dougherty

May 6, 2014

Remember when Fred got Dad out of a speeding ticket? This is the memory of "A Real Trooper"
Once Dad treated a stop sign as though it said "ooze" instead of "stop", and he was pulled over while you said, "I told you to stop". Fred, the youngest of us, was eye level with the trooper's gun holster. He asked, "m-m-mister, is that a real gun?" He replied, "sure is, son". Then Fred asked, "well, mister, d-d-does it have real bullets?" He replied, "sure does, son". By this time, Dad had his license out, but you and the trooper were laughing so hard that--finally-- the trooper said, "Oh, Mac you have your hands full, I'll just give you a warning this time, but be careful!" Fred may have gotten a reward for his curiosity!

Ice Cream Loving Child

May 6, 2014

I admired your "rent collection strategy"
When Dad built apartments, you collected rent from the tenants and when a client was way behind in his rent, you would gather all of us dirty urchins out of the yard and herd us in to sit in on the renters' nice furniture until the rent--cash only--was forthcoming. The dirtier we were, the more effective this strategy seemed to be. It was a good job to have as a child: get dirty, sit on a couch, and get a reward of ice cream on the way home. As they say, "nice work if you can get it!"

A Country Child

May 6, 2014

"Snakes Beware", do you remember this story, Mom?
As we lived near the woods, sometimes snakes would crawl into the garage or onto the back porch. Once our barefoot, bathrobe-clad father even killed one in the den! One day, he was at work and you found one in the garage. With no male around to dispatch the snake, you (a city girl) grabbed a hoe and fearlessly decapitated that foolish copperhead.

A Reading Child

May 6, 2014

"One of These Days"
Several times throughout the years, we had two door cars. So all of us children piled in the back and smushed you against the steering wheel as we got out to go to school. One morning, as we got out, our sister (Rosamond) paused and asked, "Mother, did you ever read a book?" You, who had been working on your Master's Degree when you met and married Dad, didn't miss a beat as you replied, "Yes, and when I get all of you reared, I'm going to read another one!"

A Happy Child

May 6, 2014

Remember our "Car Safety Rules?"
Nowadays, parents spend hundreds of dollars on expensive, legally mandated car seats. When we were little, there was just one car safety instruction from you and Dad, "Don't stand up in the back of the truck while I'm driving, or I'll pull over and cram all of you into the cab!" I feel sorry for children who have never known the simple joy of sitting with your dog in the back of a pick up, going down the highway, waving to people stuck in boring old cars. I remember long car trips and riding on the shelf above the backseat where I could look at the stars. They went on forever.

A Thankful Child

May 6, 2014

I remember..."Mother and the Milkman"
We had a cat named Honey because of her color, but we also called her "snake" because of her frequent love offerings. She loved to climb the screen doors and jump on anyone who opened them. One rainy morning, the milkman was bringing the bottles of milk into the garage while you, Mom, were making breakfast. You heard the noise he was making and called out, "Is that you, Honey?" He stammered, "n-n-no, Ma'am it's just the milkman". He delivered the milk and left in a hurry. He never brought the milk into the garage again, even if it was raining.

A Grateful Child

May 6, 2014

I remember..."mother and the mangle"
In the days when women ironed, our grandfather bought you an ironing machine called a mangle. These were only used commercially, but you could iron pillowcases, shirts, sheets, etc. all while sitting down. With your knees, you would hit levers which produced--or released--pressure on the big roller. What a wonderful gift to sit looking out a window while you ironed. Our little brother, Fred, loved to crawl under it and play "engineer"... pressing levers at your instruction. What a gift those days were to us.

Stuart Bayne

May 5, 2014

Grandmother McFadden,
I arrived into your family (and am a better man for it) at a time rather late in your life. So, I missed being a witness to all but the last decade. I do, however, want to share a thought or two about you and for your descendents. I remember only a few moments out of more than a decade when you dispensed with that bright and precious smile you bestowed on me every time I came to visit and let me see another side of what I realize now was a strong and complex character. You noted my indecisiveness in the summer of 2002 on my choice of best man for my marriage to Gigi and advised me to "make your mind up." Wise direction, Grandmother. Second, I cannnot tell your descendents how many times you affirmed to me, "I am so blessed." It is a tribute to hear someone who, like us all, must have struggled through many challenges and difficult situations in 90+ years affirm all through her last decade, "I am so very blessed." Fewer thoughts more precious could be shared with your family during one's last years. Thank you for reminding me that a person's character is not defined by one decade, one set of mistakes, function, or position in life as a mother, a wife, a business owner, bookkeeper, socialite, or a handywoman.

Virginia (GiGi) Bayne

May 5, 2014

My Sweet Gammie,
When I was 24, oh how many years ago that was! My Mom took the three of us "girls" to Folly Beach in South Carolina for a weekend to celebrate my birthday and we had a great time together. Even though you were 76-ish and your arthritis was bad enough at that point that you needed some daily pain medication, you were so relaxed that you didn't need much while we were there. Of the three of us, I was the only unmarried woman there, but the all of the men who approached us were interested in you! Of course you were a perfect Lady! Still, I thought you were pretty amazing to be more than 50 years my senior and still be the main attraction, especially when you giggled like a little girl and said, "don't tell Granddaddy"! The picture we chose for your obituary was from the night we had a long, enjoyable seafood meal next to the water with wine purchased by the man at the table across the aisle, who left his table--and his wife--to deliver it to you, personally. I had never seen you so happy, as you were on that trip. I am honored I got to be there. I miss you.