Frances L. Darden Musick

Published 9:56 pm Thursday, September 12, 2013

Frances L. Darden Musick, 100, of Williamsburg and Virginia Beach, died Wednesday, Sept. 4. She was preceded in death by her husband, John W. Musick.



The youngest of eight, she was born to John M. and Viola G. Whitley Darden in Suffolk on Nov. 10, 1912. She is survived by her daughter, Connie M. Purrington (Philip P. Jr.) and a son, John D. Musick (Peg). Two sons, Richard M. Musick (Susan) and C. Whitley Musick predeceased her. She was blessed with seven grandchildren, Elizabeth, Philip (Michele) and David (Julie) Purrington, Wren (Lenore) and Aaron (Cameron) Musick, Whitley and Richard Musick. In addition, she treasured seven great-grandchildren: Darden and Parker Purrington, Mara and Alec Purrington, Graydon and Kaylee Musick and Evalett Musick. John M. Jr., Martha, Gertrude, Jesse, George, Antoinette and Claibourne Darden were her siblings. Their children still living include John M. Darden III, Martha Ann Hanson, Roxane Isbey, Bonnie Franks, Darden Carr, Mary Whitley Haycox, George F. Darden Jr., Jane McGehee and Claibourne Darden Jr. There are numerous great-nieces and -nephews and their children, many of whom maintained affectionate contact with her.

A lifelong Christian, Mrs. Musick sought to practice the tenets of the faith in her daily life. She and her husband were deeply committed in their ministries at First Presbyterian Church of Virginia Beach for 45 years, teaching Sunday school and both serving as deacons and elders. Mrs. Musick was very active in both the Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts of America. She and her husband were members of a group that established Friends of Music at Virginia Beach, dedicated to bringing excellent musicians, such as Yo Yo Ma and James Galway, to perform in the city. Her education in the discipline of sociology at Sweet Briar College fostered in her an increased awareness of the circumstances of underprivileged citizens and as a young matron at Virginia Beach, she became a formidable advocate for community improvements, most especially in the then-segregated public schools. Her candid photographs of the sewage-strewn yards of the schools were aired on television to significant improvement. Other civic interests included membership on the School Board and service as chairman of the Virginia Beach Arts and Humanities Commission.


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Her volunteer commitments continued after they moved to Williamsburg when she participated in a reading mentor program at a local middle school and continued in her faith ministries at Williamsburg Presbyterian Church.

Memorial gifts may be offered to the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association,, 1275 K St. N.W., Suite 250, Washington, DC 20005; Hope for the Warriors,, 5101 C Backlick Road, Annandale, VA 22003; Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation,, 26 Broadway, New York, NY 10004.

On Thursday, Sept. 26 there will be a memorial service at Woodhaven, Williamsburg Landing in Williamsburg, at 1 p.m. A second memorial service will be held at First Presbyterian Church of Virginia Beach in the summer of 2014.