Virginia McBrien Collier, of Irving, Texas, died at the age of 97 on March 31, 2015, at Woodridge Nursing in Grapevine. She leaves her daughter Kathy Collier Koda, and son-in-law Majid Koda, of Grapevine; and three grandchildren: Michael Collier and Sara Koda of Ft. Worth; and Alan Koda of Austin. Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1917, Virginia was the daughter of J.H. McBrien and Julia Peters McBrien, and resided on Lookout Mountain, Tennessee. She graduated from Chattanooga High School in 1935, and from Brenau College in Gainesville, Georgia in 1939, with a B.A. in music. Even at an early age, she was a gifted vocalist and musician, studying voice and piano throughout her childhood and teen years. After her college graduation, she also studied classical music and voice in New York City. During World War II, she was an employee of Eastern Airlines, both in Chattanooga, and then later in Atlanta, Georgia. After the war, she married Herbert Tarpley Collier, who was also employed by the airlines after returning from his wartime post in Italy. They had a daughter, Kathy, in 1950. In 1954 Virginia moved back to Chattanooga, where she was a music educator, an elementary classroom teacher, and a high school guidance counselor for the Chattanooga Public Schools. She retired from the public school system in 1979. Virginia always had a passion for music and performing. During her high school and college years, she performed in many school musicals and productions, usually in leading roles. Upon returning to Chattanooga to teach music, she was active in Chattanooga Opera productions, the Chattanooga Symphony Chorus, several church choirs, and other choral groups over the years. She also became a member of the well-known First Presbyterian Church choir. After her retirement from the school system, she joined a square dance club in the Chattanooga area. Although new to square dancing, she became a very active and enthusiastic member there as well. When she moved to to Metroplex in the late 80’s to be closer to family, she settled in Irving. She continued her square dancing, and also joined the Irving Swingers, a group of performers affiliated with the Senior Center there. She participated in the Ms. Mature Pageant, which was sponsored through the Senior Center. She also became a member of the Silvertones, an Irving-based chorale. Virginia was an animal lover throughout her life. Over the years she had many pets, and became an advocate for animal welfare, supporting various animal relief groups, most notably the Humane Society. She also contributed annually to several charities for underprivileged children. Virginia will be especially remembered for her talent, determination, and pursuit of musical excellence; and for her love of animals. The family would like to express its heartfelt thanks to all the staff at Woodridge who took care of Virginia, and to the staff from Freedom Hospice who cared for her over time, and literally never left her side the last few days of her life. A memorial service will be held on Friday, April 10, at 5:00 p.m., at the Lucas Funeral Home, 700 W. Wall St., Grapevine, Tx. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to the Humane Society are welcome.
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