Viola Frances Wentworth Legere, 93, of Alexandria, Virginia, died peacefully at home on March 10, 2021. Vi was born in Sanford, Maine on March 3, 1928 to Mildred English Wentworth and Louis Almore Wentworth - she was the eldest of four children.
She spent her childhood in Sanford performing piano and tap dance concerts with her neighbors, singing in her church choir, playing the mellophone in the marching band, and graduating from Sanford High School in 1946.
Vi set an energetic pace in her youth that she maintained her whole life. She worked high school afternoons as an office assistant at York Utilities Bus Company. Her senior year, she worked on the town square at the Sanford Pharmacy with an interesting high school junior, Dick Legere, who happened to be the envy of all the students with a record player at home. When he asked Vi if she could bring over her records and teach him to dance, their first date was set in December of 1945.
Three months later tragedy struck at home when Vi’s father died after an accident at work in the local textile mill, so at 18 years old Vi graduated and took a full-time office job at the Sanford Mill to help her mother with her three younger brothers, then 4, 8, and 11 years old.
Vi and Dick remained sweethearts through high school and beyond while he went to college in Orono, Maine then enlisted in the Navy and had several tours at sea. They were married in Sanford, Maine on July 28,1951 and, after a honeymoon tour of Boston restaurants and sightseeing, together they boarded the train to move to Washington, D.C. where Dick was on tour for Navy training, and Vi took a job in the typing pool at the Department of Labor. They moved back to Maine just before Dick’s tours at sea, then moved to New Hampshire together while Dick finished his Bachelor of Science in 1957 and landed his first career job, back in Arlington, VA. They moved to Arlington and celebrated the birth of Jay Francis Legere in 1958, an event which brought them for the first time to Grace Episcopal Church, where Dick and Vi were confirmed into the Episcopal church by Bishop Frederick D. Goodwin.
The young family moved to Annandale, Virginia where they lived for almost fifty years and where Vi discovered her tireless love of physical fitness through gardening. She could spend every afternoon working in her yard, and sunrise to sunset every single weekend. Indoors, Vi surrounded herself with her favorite things: daisies of any real or painted or porcelain sort, a love of anything pink, and her menagerie of stuffed lambs and other small “cunnin’ creatures.”
While Dick and Vi were devotedly inseparable their whole marriage, Vi worked for twenty years at the Four Seasons Tennis Club, punctuated by annual long summer driving trips to Maine to reunite with parents, family, and friends. The day Vi retired, Dick was diagnosed with cancer and she nursed him through that journey until his death in December of 1993. The next year she began volunteering at Hospice of Northern Virginia that had cared for Dick, then spent 15 years working there before retiring a second time.
In 2007, Vi’s life was filled with blessings as she welcomed her granddaughter Caroline Grace Legere into the world and as she moved to a new home -- an apartment at Goodwin House Alexandria, named for the bishop who confirmed her in the Episcopal church years before. Her fourteen years at Goodwin House were filled with music, art studio time, swimming, meals with friends, and the most uplifting, caring community.
Vi will be remembered as a non-stop energetic soul, loving wife, mother, mother-in-law, and grandmother, always humming a toe-tapping tune and always quick to reply “Fine and dandy!” when anyone asked how she was.
She’s survived by her son Jay Francis Legere (Elizabeth) and her cherished granddaughter Caroline Grace Legere of Alexandria, VA. She was predeceased by her parents and her three younger brothers Lawrence Edwin Wentworth, Leighton Almond Wentworth, and Kenneth Millman Wentworth.
A funeral service will be held on a future date at Grace Episcopal Church with inurnment in the parish columbarium.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that contributions be made to either:
Grace Episcopal Church
By mail: 3601 Russell Road, Alexandria VA 22305
Goodwin House Foundation
By mail: 4800 Fillmore Avenue, Alexandria VA 22311