Obituary for Virginia Lucille Carlton

Gina died at peacefully at home on October 2, 2017. Her sons were by her side as she passed away. Gina leaves behind son Roy Carlton and his wife Susan Williams of Greenville, son Jim Carlton and his wife Linda of Clarkston Michigan, son-in-law Dean Broz, grandson Alex and granddaughter Jackie of Chapel Hill and sister-in-law Carolyn Hollowell and family of Richmond, VA.
Virginia Lucille Gray was born on September 8, 1929 in Toledo, Ohio to Roy Burton Gray, an engineer, and his wife Nora May Beech. A week after Gina’s birth, her mother Nora died. Baby Gina was then brought to England and raised by her grandmother, Ellen Elizabeth Beech (née Finson) and her aunt, Muriel Beech.
Shortly after her 7th birthday, Gina left Southampton on the S.S. Washington with her remarried father to return to the United States, arriving in New York on September 17, 1936. She is said to have been seasick during the voyage. She finished her childhood with her father, stepbrother Jack Skilton, and stepmother at their home at 3162 Key Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia. Her stepbrother George’s wife Jean Skilton was a favorite relative.
After graduating from Washington and Lee High School in 1948, Gina worked as a clerk and typist, first for the Civil Service Commission and then for the Department of the Air Force. In 1949, ready to get away from home, Gina enrolled at Flora MacDonald College in Red Springs, North Carolina. There Gina served as President of the Spanish Club, and participated in chorus and the Highland Players. She was Sophomore Class Attendant to the May Court during the May Day celebration, where they danced the Highland Fling. She graduated in 1953 with a major in Spanish and a minor in Education.
For the next five years Gina taught the seventh grade general curriculum and Spanish for the Washington, North Carolina school system. There Gina met Herb Carlton, a high school social studies teacher and football coach. Gina and Herb married on April 6, 1955 at Eagle Eyrie in the Mountains of Virginia. Herbs father, Rev; Herb Carlton, Sr was the pastor at their wedding. Herb nicknamed Gina “Gooney Bird”, after the birds on the beach that run back and forth with the waves.
In the summer of 1957 Gina and Herb spent three months and took the trip of a lifetime. With support from Herb’s Uncle Olie, they arranged to attend a summer program at the University of Guadalajara, Mexico. Gina and Herb drove, first to see sights in Colorado, then to Oley’s home in Douglas, Arizona, where they were joined by Herb’s sister Carolyn. Together they drove onward to Guadalajara, and after the program was finished to Mexico City and back home. Driving in the heat entailed hanging a radiator bag over the front of the radiator to help with cooling, and sometimes they chose to drive at night to avoid the heat.
In 1958 Gina flew to spend a month in England and to see her mother’s sister, Muriel, for the first time since she was seven. On this trip she found out she was pregnant with her first child.
Gina’s son Roy was born in 1959, followed by son Jim in 1960, and daughter Nora Elizabeth “Beth” in 1963.
Her first love after Herb was Bing Crosby, and she especially enjoyed his song “Swinging on a Star”. On at least one occasion she went to see Bing Crosby sing against the wishes of her father.
Like her father, Gina loved gardening, and her home and garden abounds with all manner of plants. When leaving the house she often became distracted and went to pull a weed or two.
Gina tended to cook out of duty rather than enthusiasm. However, if there was a particular dish someone liked, then she made it eagerly and often. For her grandchildren, Alex and Jackie, she enjoyed making blueberry cobbler, which was very popular. They also enjoyed making gingerbread houses together at Christmas.
A service will be held on Saturday, October 7, 2017 at 11 a.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Greenville, North Carolina. Her ashes will be interred there and also later at her mother’s grave in Toledo Memorial Park, Sylvania, Ohio . In lieu of flowers the family asks that you consider making a donation in her memory to the St. Paul’s Food Pantry, 401 E. 4th Street Greenville, NC 27858, or the Humane Society of Eastern North Carolina, 3520 Tupper Dr., Greenville, NC 27834 (
We trust Gina is swinging on a star somewhere with Herb, her daughter Beth, her mother Nora, her grandmother, Nellie, and all her dogs.

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