Virginia Helen Sander Nowik Bentley
- Published: August 23, 2018
At 97 years old, Virginia Helen Sander Nowik Bentley, a sassy, stubborn, pint-sized dynamo, took everyone by surprise and left us on July 23, 2018. Mother of three, grandma to eight, great-grandma to six. Matriarch, hairdresser, teacher, singer, artist, world traveler and serious flirt.
Born in Rochester, N.Y., on Jan. 8, 1921, she attended Catholic elementary school and public high school. She became a member of the school choir in junior high and sang soprano in choirs throughout her life, wherever she lived. She was a proud member of The World House Choir here in Yellow Springs.
In 1940, while waiting for a double-booked voice lesson, she met Vete Nowik, and in 1944 they married. They had three children: Veronica, William and Marcia. At the beginning of the 1950s, when it was frowned upon for women to work outside the home, Ginny converted her front parlor into a beauty salon — she always enjoyed a good twist to the literal. The mid ’60s brought the family to a suburb of Rochester, where Ginny became a cosmetology and fashion merchandising teacher at BOECS, and earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. She re-discovered her passion for painting, poetry and pottery, and sang with the Rochester Opera Society.
During the early 1980s, as she approached retirement, the marriage to Vete had dissolved, and she met and married Major Robert H. Bentley. She spent her retirement traveling to at least 28 countries, visiting grandchildren and great-grandchildren here in the States, painting, journaling and singing with the Finger Lakes Chorale.
In 2013, she moved to Yellow Springs to live with her daughter, Marcia Nowik. She enjoyed the Unitarian Fellowship, movies at the Little Art, socializing at the Senior Center and singing with her favorite World House Choir.
She is preceded by her parents, brother, both husbands and, all too recently, her beloved grandson, Shawn (Nowik) Smith. We love you Gram/Honey/Nana/Ginger/Ginny/Virginia. We will miss you.