Harrell, Virginia "Ginny"

February 19, 1948 - June 7, 2021

Virginia “Ginny” Lea Manypenny Harrell of Tyler, TX was born February 19, 1948 in Westchester, PA. She was the middle child of three children, her older sister was Carol Ann Manypenny (deceased), and a younger brother Joseph (Joe) Manypenny of Monterey, KY. As a child, the Manypenny family moved many times around the New England area. In 1965, the family moved south to Arlington, TX. This is where Ginny finished high school and attended Arlington State College. She met and married her first husband, Dana Rittiman (deceased) while attending ASC. Ginny began working at the campus library as a student assistant, under Mayling Barcroft, who would soon become her lifelong best friend. She would later work under the direction of Charles Harrell. Charles and Ginny were married in June of 1981, and their only child, Amelia (Amy) Elizabeth was born in 1984.

Ginny worked for more than 40 years in various public libraries in the state of Texas. After finishing her Master’s of Library Science, she worked as a children’s librarian and law librarian in the 80’s and 90’s. She also worked at the Frito Lay library. In the late 90’s she moved with her daughter to the Houston area where she worked in management roles at Baytown Municipal and the Fort Bend County library system, as well as the Holocaust Museum Houston. She was active in the Texas Library Association (TLA), and she was passionate about adult learning and literacy. Ginny loved to travel, and went on many trips both solo and with travel companions. Her favorite travel companions were her dear friend Meredith McMannis and her daughter Amy.

An adoring and nurturing mother, Ginny has been described as “whimsical,” “indomitable,” and “independent” by loved ones. Her interests were diverse and talents numerous. She was an avid reader of mystery novels. She was an accomplished seamstress, making many Halloween costumes and Easter dresses over the years, and obligingly hemming articles of clothing for Amy. There was a period of time when she crocheted just about anything that stood still. She also taught herself to play the piano. While living in Sugar Land she was very involved at the Senior Center, where she spent many hours a week teaching and attending line dance classes. Her retirement in 2012 and the period that followed was a happy time, enriched by book club, line dancing, wine tasting, visits to MFA Houston, and quality time spent with her friends and Amy.

She was a freelance editor, wrote entries in her blog, wrote poetry, and even wrote and bound a memoir of her life, which was a cherished college graduation gift to Amy. She liked rescuing kitties, especially those hanging around the back door of the library. Her adventurous side took her to many destinations including most of the UK and European countries, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada as well as many trips to various wine regions around the U.S. She loved all things heart-shaped, festively decorating her home for holidays, Michael Buble, and British drama and crime shows.

She is preceded in death by her parents and sister, and survived by her brother Joe, her daughter Amy, her son-in-law, Stephen, and her grand-dog, Teddy. She also leaves behind her in-law family, the Holloways and Cantrells, lifelong friends from UT Arlington, colleagues and friends from her time in Tyler, TX, and a slew of friends and colleagues in Missouri City and Sugar Land. She is greatly missed. The legacy she leaves is one of unconditional love and acceptance. She demonstrated these attributes in her daily life, to the extent that all who knew her felt supported and cared for. Contagious joy and kindness, and a warming smile were her signatures. To honor her memory, please consider rescuing a stray, taking a trip, toasting with a nice glass of wine, and showing grace and kindness to others.

A special nod to those who were involved in her caregiving during her final months. Stephen Holloway, Amy Harrell Holloway, Meredith McMannis, Suzette Hicks, Susan Cantrell Holloway, and Mike Holloway worked in harmony with each other to keep her company. Caregiving takes a village, and there is no doubt she felt very loved.

There were countless physicians and nurses at Texas Oncology, Christus Trinity Mother Frances Hospital, Encompass Home Health, the T. Boone Pickens Cancer Hospital at Baylor University Medical Center, and Faith Presbyterian Hospice. A special note of gratitude to the dozens of blood donors who made it possible for Ginny to receive blood transfusions.

Open to all, a reception in Ginny’s memory will be held at the Dallas home of Amy & Stephen Holloway on Saturday, July 10th from 11 am-1 pm. Email [email protected] or contact Amy at 281-635-3851 for an e-invitation. Her ashes will be scattered at a later date.

Donations in memory of Ginny can be made to the Texas Library Association or the Sugar Land Senior Center. Alternatively, please consider donating to your local blood bank, if you are able.


I love you forever,
I like you for always,
As long as I’m living,
My mommy you’ll be.

From Robert Munsch’s children’s book,  “I Love You Forever”


5 replies on “Harrell, Virginia "Ginny"”

Beverly Harrison says:

Ginny was a dear friend that I could count on during our Tyler years. Our daughter Charlotte and Amy were very close friends until we moved to Austin.
We laughed and played together, telling daily stories about our girls’ mischief and creativeness after school or at church.
Ginny was a kind and dear person, and I have missed her for many years with our miles that separated us.
I’ll never forget our Halloween parties together.

Linda Simpson says:

Please accept
my sincere condolence.
It sounds like Ginny had a life well lived and made an impact on many. RIP Ginny.

Carmen Endicott says:

I’ll never forget the time at work (Cinco Ranch Branch) when Ginny put microwave popcorn in for 2 hours instead of 2 minutes! It stunk up the whole building! So funny! She was a fun lady & will be missed by many. Amy- you & your family will be in my prayers…

Susan Cantrell Holloway says:

It was a delight to get to know Ginny, though toward the end of her life. Our mutual love for our children, Amy and Stephen brought us together. She was gracious and vivacious. We shared meals, long walks, wonderful conversation about all issues of the day. But mostly we shared our hopes and dreams for Amy and Stephen. She loved them both so well. We will never forget dear Ginny. Her spirit lives on in her wise, beautiful, loving daughter, Amy.

Mike Holloway says:

I met Ginny in the last few years of her life as I got to know my new, and first ever, daughter in law. We had a special trip to Nebraska to watch Amy receive her hard earned PHD, and the pride Ginny felt at this momentous occasion was special to see. We had a lovely Thanksgiving at her home, and then got to know her better during her last illness in Dallas. She was challenged by this hard experience, but was loved through it by Amy and Stephen and surrounding Dallas peeps, and, of course, “Ted-man”, as she lovingly called him.
Ginny is justifiably proud of her daughter. Although she did not live to see the family expand, she will be there in spirit when and if it does. I am grateful to have known Ginny, and am especially happy she parented such a special person as Amy, who we have been privileged to know and now love.

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