Virginia Smith Evans Grand, 92, of Venice, passed away Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012, in Sarasota, following complications from a stroke.
Born Virginia Lorraine Smith Aug. 19, 1920, in Chicago, Ill., to George C. Smith and Berenice Humes Smith, Virginia was preceded in death by her sister, Shirley Leonard, and brothers George C. Smith and Raymond H. Smith. She is survived by her son, Keith R. Evans, Park Ridge, Ill.; grandson, Ryan C. Evans, Chicago, Ill.; stepdaughter, Roberta Byers, Eaton, Colo.; stepson, Ian L. Grand, San Fransisco, Calif.; six step-grandchildren; and 11 grandchildren.
Virginia was a graduate of Amundsen High School in 1938 and, in her early years, enjoyed an exciting and fast-paced career that included fashion modeling and entertaining as a World War II USO troupe member.
Virginia married world-renowned ventriloquist and entertainer Robert (Bob) Wesley Evans in 1946 and spent the next five years traveling throughout the country until his death in 1951. Their travels took them to such notable entertainment venues as The Chez Paris, The Paramount Theater and Radio City Music Hall, as well as engagements in Las Vegas and New Orleans.
Virginia married food service executive Lester Grand in 1956 and assisted in the management of food and beverage service for the Western Open Golf Tournament in Chicago, Ill., until his death in 1996. Over the years the couple’s travels included frequent trips to Acapulco, Mexico, Monte Carlo and China.
Virginia first vacationed in El Jobean, Fla., before finally moving to Venice in 1995. It was there for the last 17 years she enjoyed the company of many friends and social organizations and was known for hosting the annual Christmas Open House.
Services: A celebration of Virginia’s life will be held from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3, at the Pelican Pointe Clubhouse in Venice, with a reception for guests immediately following at her “Winter Wonderland” estate.