Mildred Dunn Wilson, 95, of White Post, Virginia, died on November 30, 2017 of heart failure in Charlottesville, Virginia, where she had traveled three days before to be with her daughter, Elsie Wilson Thompson.
Mildred, known as “Midge,” was born in Paris, France on July 17, 1922 to Mildred Eddy Dunn and William McKee Dunn, a decorated American Army officer and combat veteran who had been serving in occupied Germany following World War I. Midge’s family later lived in Washington, D.C. and Hot Springs, Virginia, where she and her three sisters grew up.
Kind, generous, honest, loving and fiercely independent, Midge lived alone on the family’s cattle and thoroughbred horse farm in White Post, Virginia for over 26 years following the death in 1991 of her beloved husband, Orme Wilson Jr., a retired United States Foreign Service officer, to whom she had been married for 41 years. She proudly served alongside him during his three-decade career in the Foreign Service, which included posts in Greece, Germany, England, seven years in the former Yugoslavia, the U.S. Missions to the UN in New York and NATO in Belgium, as well as assignments at the State Department in Washington, D.C. and the Air War College in Montgomery, Alabama. After her husband’s death, she continued his thoroughbred breeding and racing business. Over her lifetime, she loved all her animals, especially her dogs (many of them rescues), farm cats and racehorses. She reveled in her thoroughbreds’ successes, and, after their productive careers had ended, made sure they could live out their lives in safety and contentment.
A 1940 graduate of Foxcroft School in Middleburg, Virginia, Midge joined the American Red Cross during World War II and saw service in the United States and Europe. After crossing the Atlantic on the Queen Elizabeth, packed with thousands of American troops and hunted by German U-boats, she was stationed in England, Belgium and France. An avid reader, Midge followed current events carefully and never failed to vote. Intensely patriotic, she believed in American greatness and decency, and our country’s role in the world. She felt it was important to try to understand the world and learn foreign languages. She spoke French, German, Serbo-Croatian and a little Greek. She hated cruelty, belittling and bullying. A lifelong Episcopalian, she taught her children to pray, have faith and be kind to others.
Above all, Midge was devoted to her family and they to her. She had recently celebrated her 95th birthday, surrounded by her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and other close relatives, and, just one week before her death, held a festive family Thanksgiving at her farm. A natural storyteller with a wonderful sense of humor and great common sense, all her life she imparted wisdom, advice and “cautionary tales” to those she loved—often delivered over excellent meals. She adored strong coffee, good food—especially desserts—and considered chocolate one of the three major food groups and a key to longevity. Her favorite restaurant was L’Auberge Provençale in White Post, where she treated her family and close friends to countless terrific dinners.
Midge was preceded in death by her beloved parents, husband, and two sisters, Lanier Dunn Poland and Frances McKee Dunn Cox. Midge is survived by her daughter, Elsie Wilson Thompson (William McIlwaine Thompson Jr.) of Charlottesville, Virginia; her son, Orme Wilson III (Mary Hilliard Wilson) of Louisville, Kentucky; and her stepson, Marshall Wilson (Meg Mathes Wilson) of Houston, Texas, as well as her sister, Hildreth Dunn Burnett of Cambridge, Massachusetts; five grandchildren: William McIlwaine Thompson III (CeCe Barfield Thompson), Alice Haven Thompson Boothby (Willard Boothby), Anne Claiborne Thompson and Orme Wilson Thompson, all of New York City, and Caroline Wilson McDonald (Ryan McDonald) of Portland, Oregon; two great-grandchildren; and nine nieces and nephews and their families—all of whom she loved greatly.
Midge will be buried next to her beloved husband, two sisters and their husbands, a granddaughter and a niece in the family cemetery at Gramercy Farm in Hot Springs, Virginia on Friday, December 8 at 2 pm. She will also be remembered in a simple memorial service the next day, Saturday, December 9th at 2 pm at Christ Church, 809 Bishop Meade Road (Route 255), in Millwood, Virginia, near her farm in White Post. Funeral arrangements are being handled by McLaughlin & Young Funeral Home of Hot Springs, Virginia.
In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made either to the Foundation of the State Arboretum of Virginia, 400 Blandy Farm Lane, Boyce, VA 22620, or to Bath County Christmas Mother, P.O. Box 292, Hot Springs, VA 24445.
Her family would like to thank all her loyal employees and others who either worked for or provided farm services to her, as well as her doctors and caregivers over the last few weeks of her life, as she slowly weakened.
How I wish I had known her. The obituary in the Washington Post was riveting. I think of all the window treatments she had to arrange each time her residence moved, how many ways she learned to ask “How much is the cabbage?” at the local market. Her loss must be overwhelming to those who knew her, and I send my condolences
Growing up on Blandy Farm I met Midge when I was still a child. I got to know her much better through the Foundation of the State Arboretum. Her obit brought back many memories and although her passing is sad, the obit brought a smile to my face, She was a joy and she and her family has been most supportive of the State Arboretum. I will miss you Midge. My sincere condolences to her family.
I knew Midge and Orme years ago. They were good people who cared for their animals even the baby deer that stayed in their pasture one year. Mary Brune DVM
We are deeply saddened by the loss of MS. Wilson; sending healing prayers and comforting hugs of love to her family. When we lose a loved one, we gain an angel that is always in our heart.
From the Shenk family