Virginia “Gini” Anne (Packard) Erwin, 73, of Westborough, passed away peacefully on Friday, May 1, 2020 at the Beaumont Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center in Westborough after a courageous battle with Glioblastoma. She is the beloved wife of Thomas Erwin.
Born in Framingham and raised in Southborough (Fayville), she was a daughter of the late Joel and Ruth (Uhlman) Packard. A 1965 graduate of Algonquin Regional High School, Gini obtained her bachelor’s degree from Framingham State University in 1969 and her master’s degree in education from Cambridge College in 2003.
Prior to retirement, Mrs. Erwin was employed as an elementary school teacher and was the former 3rd Grade Team Leader at Armstrong School in Westborough. She also taught at the Hastings Elementary School in Westborough as 3rd Grade Teacher and Title I Math Tutor, and the Center School in Hopkinton as a 1st Grade Teacher. She dedicated her life to educating children. She was adept at utilizing and adapting technology in her classroom, and was particularly skilled in making a positive difference for children with serious learning or behavioral issues. She made creative learning fun and interesting, and excelled at engaging her students and developing their social and personal skills. Gini was very well respected by her students, their parents, her peers, administrators, and other school personnel. She was deeply involved in ensuring a worthwhile experience for her students as they were learning about Westborough history, especially walking tours and cemetery visits. During her tenure with the Westborough Schools, she co-authored an alphabet book of factual information on the history of Westborough entitled “W is for Westboro”. Photos of her and her students in the classroom were also featured as the main illustrations in “Let’s Talk About Needing Extra Help at School”, a children’s book designed by her daughter. In 2009 she was recognized as Teacher of the Month by the radio station WSRS, after a nomination from one of her students. For several years she was the representative from Armstrong School on the contract negotiations team of the Westborough Teachers Association.
Mrs. Erwin was a devout and active 48-year member of the Congregational Church of Westborough and its English handbell choir, Festival Ringers. She was formerly the assistant director of the Festival Ringers, as well as the director of the children’s handbell choir at the church. She was also a founding member of the handbell quartet, Reflections. Among her church activities, she was a chairperson for the annual Women’s Fellowship fair, an organizer of the annual inter-faith vacation bible school, member of nursery school oversight committee, Sunday School superintendent, and director of the annual Christmas pageant.
Gini loved to sew, bake, garden, make crafts, do home improvement projects, and spend time with her family and friends. She was well organized, no nonsense when being serious was called for, a proponent of common sense, earnestly collaborative, adaptive, artistic, musical, and often would spontaneously sing in the classroom or other school setting when reminded of a song during a discussion. At Armstrong School, from time to time Gini demonstrated playing handbells to the student body. As a middle and high school student, she played bass clarinet in the bands, and played clarinet with the Southborough Fire Department’s band. In high school, she was selected to participate in an art program at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, was a major character in the senior class play, and was a member of the National Honor Society.
Gini was a friend and supporter of nature and the environment, and enjoyed bird and wildlife watching. Loving and caring, Gini was wonderful at being a mom, daughter, sister, wife, friend, neighbor, and human being. Family was paramount to her; she will relish being reunited with deceased loved ones, including pets. Well informed, level-headed, proponent of common sense, and strongly opinionated, she was always fair and shared her abundant worthwhile insights. Gini loved public television, a good cup of coffee in the morning, some tea and dark chocolate after lunch, and a scoop of Uhlman’s ice cream to end the day. She enjoyed the escape of certain TV game shows, and solving math and word puzzles. She was a passionate collector and connoisseur of children’s books, among her favorites were Ezra Jack Keats and Eric Carle. In retirement, first thing in the morning daily she walked with close friends and ended the activity by gathering for refreshments and socializing at Panera Bread.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by her children, Felicity Erwin and her husband Ryan Murphy, of Cold Spring, NY, Amanda Grundmann and her husband Michael, of Kirkland, WA, Nathaniel Erwin and his wife Jillian, of Framingham; four grandchildren; her siblings, E. Barbara Wright of Ashland, Douglas Packard of Texas, and Donna DiRado of Worcester; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Due to the current restrictions on public gatherings, Mrs. Erwin’s memorial service details will be announced when restrictions have been lifted.
In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be sent to the American Brain Tumor Association (www.abta.org) or PBS (www.pbs.org).
The family invites anyone who is interested to submit their fondest memory of Gini at: https://forms.gle/GSUhE1jiMqMS2h12A
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Virginia A. Erwin, please visit our floral store.