Remembering and Sharing

From right to left </br> Mike, Ginny, Eli, Leah, Frank, Noelle

Mike and Ginny Spevak with their children and their spouses. From right to left Mike, Ginny, Eli, Leah with Zyggy, Frank, Noelle

Dear family and friends,

We are comforted and uplifted by the tremendous outpouring of love and support we have received over the past few days. We are truly blessed to have had such wonderful parents who touched so many people with their love.

To help celebrate their lives, please share stories of experiences you’ve had with Mike or Ginny that touched you or someone you know. This site will allow us to gather our stories and special photos together, keeping their spirit strong in our hearts.

Also, we would like to thank all of you who joined us at the memorial service on Saturday, November 29th in the sanctuary of Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church (

In lieu of flowers the family is preparing a request for donations to a charity in Mike and Ginny’s memory.


– Leah and Eli

Contribute to this website: Click on the ‘comments’ link below to type in your story. To share a photo, e-mail it to and we will get it posted.

Send a private note to family:

Regarding media inquiries: We have no comments to make at this time. We are grateful for the positive and compassionate coverage of our parents lives. Please contact us through our press liason Prue Hoppin at 202-986-6251.


63 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Becky D. F. Sheinbaum said,

    I liked Ginny and Mike as soon as I met them, back when I was thirteen and Leah and I were new freshman in high school. They were the kind of mature hippies I hoped I would be one day. I marveled at their gardens, their solar home, the loft in Leah’s room, and how welcoming they were. They had a Mac classic which Mike had outfitted with a Dvorak keyboard, which he assured me was infinitely simpler and quicker to use. I could barely type with a qwerty keyboard, so I had to disagree. Mike also tried to introduce me to many new foods that he insisted would be delicious or at least interesting, but with Eli and Ginny shaking their heads “no” and Leah telling me I really didn’t have to and probably shouldn’t, I never dared to sample whatever strange comestibles he offered. I was glad, though my parents would have been appalled, that I dared to whip around Chevy Chase Circle along with Leah in the back seat of Mike’s Citroën, standing up with our heads poking out of the sunroof. That wasn’t Mike’s idea, but he did let us do it, and it made me feel really cool and special.

    Ginny was always tremendously supportive of me when I was in the throes of adolescence and young adulthood, but she never let me get away with simply complaining. She insisted that I take multiple perspectives on my problems, primarily so I could see where my own no doubt beleaguered parents were coming from. Ginny was caring and immensely thoughtful, to the point of sacrificing her own best interests. Last winter, my husband and I were meeting Leah at her parents’ house before going out to dinner, but when we parked we realized that our rental car had a flat tire. Rather than let our evening be ruined, Ginny insisted that we go out and she would wait for roadside assistance to arrive. This would have been generous enough, but you should know that this was the night before she and Mike were to leave at 4:00 the next morning for a trip to Guatemala. Ginny shrugged it off, and said she would be tired anyway, so why shouldn’t she help?

    I will always be grateful to Ginny and Mike for inviting me for many years to trim their Christmas tree with them, which I had never done before; I was delighted to learn their traditions and history through hanging the ornaments together. My husband and I think of them every time we use the wok they gave us for our wedding and whenever our son snuggles down beneath the quilt Ginny, Leah, and Janet made together for him. Mike and Ginny’s warmth, humor, compassion, and love have made my own life better, and they gave me strong and admirable examples of the kind of person I still hope I can become. I love them and miss them.

    – Becky D. F. Sheinbaum

  2. 2

    Kelly Robinson Painter said,

    I was a student at Green Acres and my mom has worked there for 25 years. Ginny was my 5th and 6th grade science teacher. I remember all of the time I spent in her class in room #5 at Green Acres. She was an amazing teacher. One of the things I still remember is a lesson we did where we had to get into groups and build bridges made out of different materials. After we made the bridges each group got to see how many bricks their bridge would hold. It was such a fun class and it clearly made an impact because I remember it all of these years later. Ginny was an amazing person. I never knew her husband, but if he was anything like her then he must have been wonderful. Ginny taught me and she was a wonderful friend and co-worker to my mother. She was a part of a great generation of women who made Green Acres such a great place to be. My family and I are very sorry for your loss. You are in our thoughts and prayers.
    Kelly, Mike & Jack Painter

  3. 3

    Donald Thompson said,

    Leah and Eli,

    I’d like to express my condolences to the two of you and the rest of your family for the loss of your parents. I first heard the news on the television and reacted, like most people familiar with Virginia and Mike, with shock.

    My relationship with your parents developed through my job with the CFSA foster care Placement Unit. Although I hadn’t had contact with them for some time I have a very strong recollection of the first time I talked to them. They had just been licensed as a foster parents and I called them to see if they would help provide placement for a 14-year-old Hispanic female, who spoke little or no English. Like most of what occurs at CFSA, Ana was going to be discharged from the hospital on short notice and the Placement Unit was scrambling.

    I spent considerable time on the phone with your mother, providing her with information about Ana, before it became clear that your father was on the line listening. Neither hesitated when a decision was needed as to whether Ana would be placed in their home. They weren’t even daunted by the possibility of a language barrier. If I remember correctly, they said that one of you spoke Spanish and could be called on for assistance if necessary. Both were excited about the possibility of helping a child and I don’t know if it was during this phone call, or a subsequent follow-up call, that your mother talked about the possibility of taking Ana for a visit to her hometown in El Salvador.

    Ana entered their home two days after that June 2001 phone call. I know the placement had its up and downs over the next few years due to Ana’s behavior issues, however I recently spoke to Ana’s former Social Worker who related that your parents had maintained a continuing relationship with her even after she left the foster care system, when she was most in need of shelter from the storm.

    First impressions make lasting ones. In that sense I always had a very positive opinion of your parents as compassionate and caring individuals. I’ve learned a lot more about them from reading the paper and I’m sorry for the world’s loss.

    Donald Thompson

  4. 4

    Mike and Vana O'Brien said,

    Vana and I met Mike and Ginny here in Portland at Eli and Noelle’s wedding. We could see immediately where Eli gets his sharp mind, generous spirit and can-do attitude. His mom and dad were open, welcoming, friendly, thoughtful, and really excited and interested in new ideas for living sustainably–just like Eli! Meeting them for the first time had us wishing that they lived here, so we could get to know them and enjoy the vibrant life energy that radiated from them.

    We have known Eli and Noelle for several years, as do many Portlanders; they are bright stars in the firmament in our community. They energize us to move towards the vision of a healthy place that embraces everyone, by the way they engage, nurture and model ideas that combine practicality with delight and fun. They are our legacy from Mike and Ginny, and we are very grateful.

    With love,

    Mike and Vana O’Brien

  5. 5

    Thor Hinckley said,

    Like Mike O’Brien my wife Alison Wiley and I met Eli’s parents at his wedding to Noelle last summer. I remember bicycling down Mt. Tabor from the wedding to their reception and finding myself talking about cycling and renewable energy with the guy on the bike next to me who it turns out was Eli’s father Mike.

    He explained to me how he traveled around D.C almost entirely by bike, which quickly earned my admiration, then when he mentioned the solar panels on his home I knew this was someone I wanted to learn more about. During the rest of the ride he told be about the struggle he had had with his local utility and how they wouldn’t credit him for any of the unused electricity generated by his solar panels that was put back into the local power grid, and about commuting around D.C. by bike.

    Our impromptu discussion about the coming energy revolution was only halted when we arrived at the reception and went off to park our bikes. Later at that event, I met his wife Ginny and found her to be a wonderful woman.

    Clearly these were very special individuals who left our world a much better place for having lived in it!

  6. 6

    Gary Rubin & Deirdre Weiss said,

    We first met Ginny when she taught our son, Andrew, at Green Acres. She loved what she did, and the kids loved her in return. I (Gary) first met Mike about 5:30 a.m. on a cold morning many years ago when I was out running and I noticed this fellow race-walking in the opposite direction. We nodded to one another, as we would nearly every morning for about ten years, occasionally stopping to chat briefly about how the neighborhood was changing (and how for a time the new construction denied us what we both considered our right to some of the sidewalk. I complained to no one in particular; Mike, as was he wont, tried to do something about it!) One day, we saw Ginny in the neighborhood (we live about two blocks from their house) with none other than the race-walking gentlemen. And thus we first knew about the force that was “Ginny and Mike”. Coincidences being what they are, this began what would be a many-years neighborhood friendship with two terrific people. After Ginny retired, we would see her on the Metro or walking purposefully through the neighborhood. And, most endearing of all, we would the two of them walking hand-in-hand. We will miss them, not only for what they were as people but also for what they suggested we could all be as people . . . . Our condolences to the family.

    Deirdre Weiss and Gary Rubin, and Andrew

  7. 7

    Carrie Hubbard-Owens said,

    Dear family members of Ginny and Mike,

    I too am among the many, many students who Ginny shared her life with while at Green Acres. Green Acres was my stepping stone and helped me to reach goals that I never would have thought possible and Ginny will always be one of the teachers I feel like I owe a ton to. I remember in 5th grade science we had a group project to build rocket ships and our final task of the project was to name our rocket, which should have been the best part, right?! My group had the most difficult time coming up with an appropriate name, so we named ours EMANON. Ginny was mystified at first and then when we told her what it was backwards (NONAME), Ginny laughed so hard it was contagious. I can’t remember how well our rocket ship did, but I know Ginny at least supported our creativity 100%. I am so terribly sorry for the loss of Ginny and Mike. May you and your family find comfort and solace in one another and even though it will never bring them back, it will keep them living on. Godspeed, Carrie.

  8. 8

    Shawn Busse said,

    I don’t know Mike or Ginny well, but I do know Eli.

    Based on Eli’s kindness, dedication, honesty, and commitment to the community, I can only imagine what wonderful people his parents were. I’m sorry for your loss, my friend. I’m at a loss for words, but part of me is consoled knowing that their spirit lives on in you.

    Shawn Busse

  9. 9

    Andy Mott said,

    The word “good” seems so weak, but Ginny was the epitome of true goodness. With humbleness, lack of self-consciousnes, and quiet passion, she stepped forward on issue after issue at Chevy Chase Presbyterian and in the community. Her passion about the injustices faced by previously incarcerated people convinced us at CCPC to create a task force and work with others in the DC community on issues of justice and rights. Ginny and Mike’s passion about the environment and energy use inspired many others to work seriously on those issues. Ginny’s thirst for justice was matched by her commitment to service and ministries of compassion, and by her joy in helping create community wherever she went. Quilting a notice board, knitting in groups and in meetings, taking in foster children and going the second, third, fourth and many more miles with them, being so proud of Mike’s work with kids at risk — all these were knitted together in the pure goodness which was the fabric of Ginny’s life.

    How very sad it is that the world has lost Ginny and Mike, and how unfair it is that they suffered that awful ending. We are all praying for their family and friends and for the state of the world they did so much to repair. How lucky we are to have been touched by their grace.

  10. 10

    Arnie Cohen said,

    Leah and Frank –

    I had the joy of being the Head of School at Green Acres from 1993 – 2000. Some of my favorite memories of the school center around your mother and the science program. Not only did she truly live what she believed about the environment and social justice, she had a knack for inculcating those values into the students that she taught. Her passion for science and the environment, her sense of caring and justice and her love of her students and colleagues were apparent each and every day that I worked with her (and before and after we worked together). In Ginny’s class science was not only interesting, it was both fun and important all at once!

    I knew your father far less well, but I did know that he, too, worked hard for social justice. I remember him as very supportive of your mother and her work atGreen Acres. I enjoyed talking to him at faculty functions and Green Acres events. Not only has your family suffered a tragic loss, but DC has as well.

    I am sorry for your loss and all of our loss.

    Arnie Cohen

  11. 11

    David Sweet and Rosemarie Cordello said,

    It is our great good fortune to live in a beautiful, environmentally sound house that Eli built, in a wonderful community that he developed. We are further fortunate to count Eli and Noelle among our friends, and we feel most fortunate that we got to meet Mike and Ginny on two of their visits to Portland.

    It was a joy to see their obvious pride in their son as we showed them around our house and community. In conversation, their intelligence, good humor, and relaxed easy rapport were unsurprising, knowing Eli as we do. What fun to share stories of green building with two of its pioneers.

    On their next visit for Eli and Noelle’s wedding, we joined Mike and many others on the eight-mile bike ride from the ceremony to the reception. Later we reconnected with Ginny, and shared her enthusiasm for their new solar panels. She was especially pleased that Eli’s newest project included solar. She said she had been encouraging him to do that all along.

    We are feeling this loss most deeply. Our tears join yours.

  12. 12

    I had the special fortune of spending a Wednesday afternoon with Mike & Ginny two weeks ago. I arrived at their home around noon, greeted with hugs and a bowl of bean & veggie soup Ginny had cooked on the wood burning stove that morning. After lunch we set out for a walk among the late fall colors. Particularly brilliant were large ginkgo trees with clouds of golden leaves above and a stunning carpet beneath our feet. All three of us, former botany majors, agreed this was delightful. Mike & Ginny told me how they met in a botany class at Cornell. The field trip was cancelled, but they did not get the message, so they spent a couple hours walking around a natural area together.
    On our walk we talked about how the kernel within the pungent ginkgo seed is edible, but none of us had ever tried it. Back at home Mike researched how to prepare the nuts and disappeared. He returned 20 minutes later with a plastic bag of stinking seed which he shucked in the front yard, then brought in the house to wash. Then he steamed the seed and Mike, Leah, and I began cracking the thin shells. Mike insisted that using one’s teeth is far superior to pliers. (remember the smell) Ginny just chuckled to herself and kept knitting by the fire. I stuck to pliers and finished the shelling. Then Mike put the soft kernels along with about 1/2 cup of salt in a cast iron skillet in the oven. (Mike was not known for his kitchen skills.)
    It turned out to be a worthwhile labor-intensive culinary project in the end. We all gave the ginkgo nuts a try. They had the texture of roasted chestnuts, the size of pistachios, with a taste that had a little bit of a kick. Mike was a fan and ate a great deal of them for dinner along with Ginny’s delicious chicken pot pie. That’s botany in action. So like Ginny & Mike in every way. Curious, experimenting with new things, connecting with the living world around them, enjoying life. These are two very dear ones in my heart and I’m eternally grateful to them for raising my best friend, Eli.

  13. 13

    Robin Boyce said,

    I am writing from Portland, having worked with Eli for over eight years. I met Ginny and Mike at Eli and Noelle’s wedding in August. Their delight in Eli was so vivid, and their pleasure in his new wife, Eli’s happiness and the community he has built showed on their faces. I only met them briefly, but it was wonderful to see a bit more about Eli’s roots. I knew they must be special, because Eli is so special – an incredible combination of brains, effectiveness, community and environmental consciousness, and caring. In the first year I met Eli, he played chess with my young sons, delighting in their determination, but not giving in to them. I thought, wow, I wonder who his parent’s are because he seems like such a natural. I am so sorry to be learning more about them in this way.

    There are so many of us (in Portland) that care about Eli and Noelle. We have shed many tears in our office. Our thoughts and prayers are with Eli, his sister and the rest of the family. Ginny and Mike’s life work will continue here, and they will be an inspiration for me and many others.

  14. 14

    Molly Borders said,

    My daughter, Cynthia Grimes, who is now 22, was a student of Ginny’s in 5th and 6th grades at Green Acres. This was a time of great loss for Cynthia and me; her dad had died suddenly the year before, and her aunt (my sister) died the spring of Cynthia’s 5th grade year. Ginny sensed her student’s individual needs, and in Cynthia’s case it was a need to talk, and talk, and talk some more, about all that was happening in her life. A couple of days ago Cynthia commented that she wouldn’t be the person she is now had she not been a student of Ginny’s. I am overwhelmed with gratitude, and brokenhearted.

    Eli and Leah, you are walking a dark path now. I have come to know that while loss and grief are universal and inevitable, they are individual and sometimes isolating. But there are lights on the path. That seems unlikely, if not impossible, now, I know. But the path will s gradually broaden and brighten.

  15. 15

    Cecily Bullock said,

    I first met Ginny when my daughters attended Green Acres School and, later, I had the privilege of working with her there. Like everyone else who knew them, I am terribly saddened by this tragic loss of your parents. Thinking about your mother, I appreciate the strength and sustainability of her life lessons and academic teachings. Her sense of justice and fairness, love of learning, environmental responsibility, and respect for all will continue on through so many of her students and colleagues. As you continue to hear stories from students who remember one special moment or know that their adult values where partly shaped by Ginny, you will know that her positive impact will never die. This is something that nobody can steal from your family or from the rest of us grieving with you.

  16. 16

    Nan Shapiro said,

    Dear Eli and Leah,

    Your mother meant so much to me that it’s hard to know where to start. She is one of the few people I know who truly lived her convictions, and although I did not know Mike as well, I know that he was equally committed to living in an ecologically responsible and socially compassionate way.

    As for Ginny, she was my colleague, friend, fellow quilter, and the teacher of two of my sons. I have saved the poster that my son, James, made with his friends in Ginny’s science class. Their assignment was consumer product testing, and they decided to test hair gel. How wise of Ginny to teach scientific methods by tapping the interests of adolescents.

    As I looked at photos of Ginny this week, I thought about what it felt like to be with her. The hours we spent quilting, cooking and teaching together nourished my soul. She was kind, gentle, warm – a wonderfully patient teacher; yet she had tremendous energy and determination, and she did not shrink from difficult tasks. She had a wonderful sense of humor. I remember Leah’s wedding cake, covered in all kinds of flowers, butterflies, insects – with gummy worms crawling inside.

    The world has lost two wonderful people, and my heart goes out to you and your families.


    Nan Shapiro

  17. 17

    Mary Beth Jacobs said,

    I was fortunate to have Ginny and Mike as my neighbors. They were remarkable in their commitments to the environment, energy conservation, quilting for babies, foster care, and helping ex offenders, in addition to their deep love for and commitment to their own children. All these activities were carried out with a light touch, with generosity and kindness to others. Ginny and Mike were educational in their approach, never strident or self righteous. Some years ago, during their most active foster parenting years, Ginny and I talked at length (over the back yard fence) about their responsibilities and efforts. I come from a faith tradition in which, if we think really highly of people, we call them saints. A few days later, I saw them on the sidewalk and just said spontaneously “I don’t know if you believe in saints, but you are saints”. I will treasure their memory.

  18. 18

    Joe Rowe said,

    Noel and Eli, Leah and Frank,

    From the Peninsula Park Commons we send you love from Portland. Nothing but love and hope. Your parents are a natural wonder of the world and they will live through you and us. I wanted to share one short memory of Mike. He borrowed Eli’s bike on a visit to Portland and suffered a pretty bad injury to his arm. When I saw him after the tumble and he was so positive about the whole trauma. It did not affect him on any level. You don’t forget moments like that, when you meet someone who seems a bit fragile but in reality is so young, strong and alive. Ginny gave off the same glow. We can go on in peace knowing their whole lives were dedicated to peace and service of others. Love, Joe, Kristen and Caroline.

  19. 19

    Karen Buglass said,

    I did not know Ginny or Mike, but I see the inspiration that Ginny was–and still is-to my colleagues and friends at Green Acres; I see the admiration and love they have for her, and hear the stories they tell about kindnesses over the years. She had such a sustained and positive impact on those I know she touched.

    I grieve for your loss, and the loss to the larger community. Please know I admire your parents from afar, and know the way they led their lives will continue to inspire me.

  20. 20

    Roberto E. Rojas said,

    Leah & Frank,
    You have my deepest sympathy and condolences in this truly terrible time in your lives.
    My heart goes out to you both, Ziggy as well your brother Eli. Our family will be praying for you as you get through this very difficult time.

    With Much Love,
    Roberto, Tereza, Leanna & Hugo

  21. 21

    Before waking Sunday, the name of the Spekak’s on the radio pierced through a deep sleep.
    The name and man we had come to know through his fanaticism for biking could not be the one. I thought the one we know was from Takoma Park.
    Would he have come all the way from Chevy Chase to College Park so often to chat about and look at bikes? Would he accompany friend Mary all the way to Mt Airy to help her find an a very special one for herself? and last month would he some to western Howard County on four Wednesday nights to take my bike repair class?
    whether anyone knew it or not, Mr Spevak was passionate about bikes – their engineering, their history, their fantasy- and riding them. Weeks ago we and a company in the UK were having a special one imported – he was so excited – it was a dream bike for him.

    in early November Michael showed up for the Moonlight Memorial ride from Tenleytown – lit up like a constellation – and had a great time on the ride.
    Next year this ‘memorial’ ride will have extra meaning – we will honor his involvement with our community on this ride.
    We are thankful for the inspiration he and his wife have bestowed.

  22. 22

    maggie meenehan said,

    I had the honor and privilege of working with your mom Ginny at the Chevy Chase Community Center many years ago. She was an inspired teacher, the campers loved her and enjoyed her innovative projects. I loved the one where the kids, collaboratively had to create as many colors as they could from just three colors. The tables were covered with these pill containers-hundreds of therm! The bubbles from different shaped bubble makers was a big hit as was the paper airplane festival. The camp had its’ fair share of summer time drama and your mother simply glided above the fray. Leah was a much love counselor at the camp and I always suspected that Ginny teaching at the camp was no coincidence.

    We would see Ginny at the Georgetown Pool, or CCPC, or on the street. We shared parenting tips and laughs.

    I am so sorry for your loss. Unimaginable. My prayers are with you at this time.

  23. 23

    Judy Riggs said,

    As Eli was a mentor and role model to our sons in scouting, Ginny was a mentor, role model, and wise counsel to us, their moms. I recall with fondness those post-Thanksgiving Saturdays almost two decades ago, gathered around Ginny’s table making hundreds of red bows for the wreath and tree sales that kept the Scout troop going. It wasn’t just the children she was teaching!

  24. 24

    Joyce Morton said,

    Hillary Clinton wrote that it takes a village to raise a child. Mike and Ginny Spevak lived that ideal. Long before they became foster parents, Mike and Ginny were auxilliary parents to many young people, including my daughter, Janet, who considers herself to be a part of the Spevak family. Janet and Leah spent many, many hours together when they were growing up, much of that time in and around the Spevak home. The Spevaks provided a welcoming, nurturing and mentally stimulating atmosphere that helped to instill the qualities my daughter embodies today—critical, sometimes unconventional thinking, social and environmental responsibility, empathy for and eagerness to help people less fortunate than herself. Mike and Ginny were truly special people with both the capabilities and the commitment to enrich their community. We are all diminished by their loss but enriched by the example they have set for us and the impact they have had on our lives.

    To Leah and Eli and your extended family, our hearts go out to you in love and sympathy.

  25. 25

    Karen Gallant said,

    Dear Leah and Eli,
    There is no way to make sense of this tragic loss, and I struggle to find what words to say. I taught with Ginny for many of the 22 years that I was at Green Acres, and bonded with her as a fellow “special”- that group of GAS teachers who weren’t homeroom teachers. For a number of years, the art room and the science room shared a common door, and so Ginny and I shared ideas, materials, joys on the good days and commiseration on the hard ones. Her room was as lively as the art room; like myself, she loved a class humming with activity, and was usually monitoring a purposeful level of chaos when I’d pop my head in. “Can I use the “c-clamps?” “Sure- over there,” was a typical exchange. I still have some of the handmade paper leftover from one of her fun, creative, paper making lessons. I also remember how she helped me resolve the “Is black a color?” question which which had perplexed me and my art students. In science, black is the absence of color. In art, black is the combination of all the colors. How could this be? She solved our problem quickly: the science definition is different than the art definition. One is based on light, the other is based on pigments. It made it so simple!
    I didn’t know Mike as well, but together they made an impressive couple, as people who lived the kind of ethical lives we all aspire to. They were proud of their children, and it is good to remember that through you, the legacy of their fine lives will be carried forward.
    With love and compassion, Karen Gallant

  26. 26

    Ina Morgan said,

    Leah and Eli,
    I have come to know your parents over the years as participants in the DC voting process. We shared the same Precinct #32 and for many, years I have worked the elections. I have been the Precinct Captain for approximately 15 years. In fact, your mother had a part in getting the location changed from Wilson High School to Wesley United Methodist Church. It was always a joy to see them, they were cordial, asking how we were doing and always said thank you for working the elections. I saw them in the neighborhood walking sometimes together and also separately. Your father introduced me to speed walking by watching him. I would get tickled as I saw him move so quickly and with determination to get to where he was going! Whenever I saw them they always returned my greeting. I knew they were special! Your mother couldn’t work the September primary as she was going to be in California to help her mother celebrate her birthday. And Leah, when I asked her about setting up for the November election, she told me that you were coming over and the two of you were going to bake cookies, and she was really looking forward to it.
    As I read previous comments I felt a special warmth inside, of how much they lived their convictions without hesitancy. I also wished I had gotten to know them better. The world is certainly a better place and also blessed because of them! My heart and prayers go out to you and your families as you journey on a new path. I can imagine your Mother and Father being as busy and loving everyone in heaven as they did on earth. I believe that God isn’t finished with them yet.
    God Bless You. Ina

  27. 27

    Ina Morgan said,

    A letter from the Acting Executive Director of the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics has been sent to you via the Church.

  28. 28

    Jim Waigand said,

    Ginny and Mike taught gentleness and humor to their children. Eli & Leah now share what their parents demonstrated, and inspire others to be compassionate as well. The kind way that Ginny and Mike lived now spreads to a wider community and will change the world.

  29. 29

    Lindsay Robinson said,

    I was a student at Green Acres for many years and my mother still works there. I was able to have Ginny as my 5th and 6th grade science teacher at Green Acres. I also had her as a homeroom teacher in 6th grade and one of the things I looked forward to the most was coming into her classroom in the morning and observing her pet snake. She always let us watch as she fed the snake live rats and I thought it was the most fascinating thing. I also remember learning how to make paper in her science class. She taught us how to take old scrap paper and blend it in a blender to turn it into a recycled piece of paper ready to be used. She always was showing us ways to reuse objects and things in many different ways. I was privileged to have Ginny as my teacher and I will always remember what an impact she has had on me and my family. I am a teacher now and I try to use and apply the skills that Ginny and Green Acres have taught me in my own classroom everyday. I did not know Mike but I know he was a great person. I will miss Ginny and Mike very much and will keep the whole family in my thoughts and prayers.

  30. 30

    Eden Eig Santa Cruz said,

    Dear Eli and Leah,

    I was at the service today until my daughter started having a coughing fit so we left early. When I picture your mother I am always looking up at her. Probably because I was so young when I first met her. I remember her as a sweet, gentle lady who was always at the school. She was just one of the moms who everyone knew. I did not know your father as well, but from the words his friends spoke today I know he was a wonderful man, too. Congratulations on your child, Leah, and on yours to Eli! How exciting!

    My thoughts are with you.


  31. 31

    Athar Abbasi said,

    Michael, your’s is the most useful life I know of, your passing is the most useless I know, I will miss you, my friend, and pray selfishly that my spine will stay straight now that you are not there to be a rock for me to lean on, I know wherever favored, special place you are now you and Ginny will be the same selfless persons who helped me become whole again when I was sinking, a debt I can never re-pay fully, but I will try. What a difference you and Ginny made in the lives of so many, especially mine.

  32. 32

    Beth and Mike Shepherd said,

    Eli, Leah, Margie and families,
    Mike and I were neighbors of Sid and Molly on New Hampshire Ave. They were so kind to us and our young children during the 15 years we lived there. Sid and Molly helped to make our street a neighborhood. We knew of Michael, Ginny, and Margie from Sid and Molly’s stories; and we remember the kind care they gave their parents as they grew older. We learned of this horrrific tragedy from another former neighbor, the Crowders. We share your grief and saddness. We know what decent people Michael and Ginny were, in part because of the goodness of Sid and Molly. Please accept our condolences.

  33. 33

    Mike Riggs said,

    Dear Eli,

    You were one of those larger-than-life older boys when I joined Troop 666. In fact, you weren’t just one of them; you were their uncontested leader, both formally and by force of your generous personality. On long hikes when I was a whining brat, you showed by your example that there was actually some fun to be had out there in the woods. Your example won out in the end.

    Though I barely knew your parents — in fact, at the time, it probably didn’t even occur to me that you HAD parents — they must have been people with beautiful minds and exquisite spirit.

    All my sympathy to you and Leah.

  34. 34

    Ken Hung said,

    When I think of Mr. and Mrs. Spevak, I think of pie. Mrs. Spevak had this great pumpkin pie she would make during the holidays— with a graham cracker crust, and a creamy chiffon topping. Even after I went away for college and settled in Philadelphia, I remembered that pie. Whenever my sister or I would come home for the holidays, we would inevitably ask my father: Are we going over to the Spevak’s for dinner? Are we going to get some of that pie?

    I first met Mr. and Mrs. Spevak when I was in 6th grade. For the several years after, we would visit their house often, and I got to know Eli and Leah over many endless games of Dungeons and Dragons. At the time, I don’t think I fully appreciated the amount of warmth and kindness the Spevak family displayed when they opened their doors to us. At the end of my 6th grade year, my mother had died suddenly of cancer. Mr. and Mrs. Spevak welcomed us into their family at a time when my family was shattered with grief, at a time when my family needed to heal.

    As I look back on their lives, I realize that for the Spevak’s, a family is not just a mother, a father and children. Rather, it is like a slice of that pumpkin pie I looked forward to every holiday season. It is taste. It is smell. It is the sense of togetherness, that feeling of community that makes dinners during the holidays complete. I thank them for letting me have a seat at their table.

    This week I have been filled with a deep, deep sadness. However, as I reflect on what Mr. and Mrs. Spevak have meant to me, and as I read about the ways that they touched so many lives, I am emboldened with the knowledge that the seeds they planted in me have taken root. Like Mrs. Spevak, I work as a grade school teacher, trying to build a sense of family within my classroom. Like Mr. Spevak, I work as an organizer in my adopted neighborhood of Philadelphia’s Chinatown, where immigrants struggle to build a sense of community amidst racism and economic hardship. I can only hope that my work will make a fraction of the difference the Spevak’s have made in this world.

    Perhaps I will never taste that pie again, but I thank Mr. and Mrs. Spevak for teaching me how to bake.

    With love,

    Ken Hung

  35. 35

    L.A. said,

    I did volunteer work with Ginny and met with Mike at Politics and Prose. In a nutshell…………Mike and Ginny were (2) SAINTS !

    They still are saints……….as well as angels !

  36. 36

    Carole Heffron Mingus said,

    Dear Family,

    I was a 1959 grad of Ventura Senior High with Virginia. A couple of years ago, Virginia, myself, and several other grads spent a wonderful afternoon having lunch together on the pier. We began at 11:30 AM and spent the next 6 hours, before we realized the hour, laughing about old times and talking about serious topics of the day, too. Of course we shared the accomplishments of our lives and most importantly of our families. It was memorable afternoon for all of us. I will keep that laughing, smiling picture of Virginia in my head.

    I send prayers for strength to all of you in the family, especially Eli and Leah, and all of their extended family and friends.
    Love and hugs for you all, Carole

  37. 37

    Marta Ferro said,

    Dear Eli & Leah:

    It has been years since we have spent almost every day together at Green Acres but I wanted to let you know that you are in my thoughts every day as are your parents. I find myself thinking of them on multiple occaisons every day and hope that somehow all of our collective, positive thoughts are making a small difference for them and you.

    Most of my memories are of Ginny including all of the time we spent in the car together carpooling. I can vividly remember how cold it was in the winter yet the warmth in the car, including your mother’s spirit, was evident. I also remember how tall and strong Ginny always seemed along with the fact that she was so approachable, creative, energetic, and engaged with life. She truly made an impact on the Green Acres community and we are all lucky to have known her.

    I am not surprised to have read all of the amazing stories about your parents’ lives these past 20+ years. They clearly lived incredibly enriched, thoughtful and happy lives both together and in their own endeavors. The community that they helped build and lead, and the people they touched on a daily basis, will hopefully sustain you as you remember them.

    No words can express how I feel but please know that more people than you know are supporting you and thinkiing of you.

    Love, Marta

  38. 38

    barbara gallinger gates said,

    Dear Leah and Eli, I was one of those high school classmates who was surprised to see that we ladies had laughed and talked away a whole afternoon in the corner of a restaurant on the pier in Ventura. It was a remarkable and happy time for us all. I’m glad that I have it in my memory and can remember Virginia as such a joy-filled, useful, and serene woman. My love and prayers to you as you continue with your lives, raising your own children in the strength of the legacy left by your inspiring parents. Go with God. Barbara Gallinger Gates

  39. 39

    Janet Morton said,

    Before their deaths, I never questioned who your parents were to me or what role they played in my life. I’m not their child – we never took the same vacations, or visited the same relatives. But your parents opened their home to me and for so many years it was my home too. It was not just the doors of your home that were open to me; it was their hearts and their willingness to be there for me if I asked. To know now that they would have given me as much support as my troubled self needed is profound. They were both so quiet and unassuming, but their generosity and caring was immeasurable. I am so lucky to have known them, and to have you, to whom they passed on so many of their values, as my family. Leah, I love you so much.

  40. 40

    Barbara Andrews said,

    Dear Eli and Leah – I am a previous administrator from Green Acres. Your mother retired the year I arrived. Last Saturday I was thinking of Green Acres and the memory that popped into my head was the last time I met your parents (I met your mother once or twice over my 5 years at Green Acres). Ginny went out of her way to cross a room to tell me something nice she’d heard about me and my work at the school. Green Acres is a very strong community, but I never knew before this week just how much of that strength came from Ginny. She started the quilting, she started the soup making for homeless shelters and she helped develop an amazing science program that continues today. I didn’t work with Ginny, but I knew her through all of the colleagues she taught! I have a quilt from Green Acres staff hanging on my wall, which always makes me think of my colleagues. Now it will make me think of your parents and their home as well. Your service was beautiful and a very fitting tribute. I hope that Ziggy continues to keep it real for you – I’m sure that’s what Mike and Ginny would want.

  41. 41

    Philip Brown said,

    When I heard last Sunday the awful news that the Chevy Chase couple referred to in the morning paper had been identified as Ginny and Mike Spevak, it truly hit home. “I know Ginny,” I thought. And well I should have known Ginny. We both joined Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church in the 1970’s, she and I were born in the same year, our spouses were born in the same year, we both had two children, I often saw Ginny after church and would frequently exchange a greeting. Surely, I knew Ginny.

    But after a week of news reports and shortly into Saturday’s never-to-be-forgotten memorial service, it became clear to me that I never came close to knowing Ginny. What a remarkable woman. What a role model. What an inspiration both to those who knew her well and to those, like me, who are poorer for not having gotten to know Ginny better.

    Ginny and Mike have left a rich legacy. For me, it will be a reminder that it is often the most humble, quiet-spoken among us — the people whom we really don’t know — who will have the most important, long-lasting impact on our world.

  42. 42

    carol wilner said,

    I was out of town and unfortunately could not attend the memorial. I knew Mike well in college and we spent many wonderful hours together. He spoke Russian and taught me a Russian song that I still know. I knew him when he studied micology (the study of mushrooms) and since my mother knew Russian and had collected mushrooms in Europe, he presented her with a Russian book about mushrooms. He inscribed it to her “to a real mushroom collector from a student.” I still have and treasure the book. Our lives went in different directions, but he and Ginny were wonderful and I feel so fortunate to have known them.

  43. 43

    Hilarey Kirsner said,

    Frank and Leah-
    I just wanted to send my condolances to you and your family. I heard about the tragedy and wanted to send my love.
    Hilarey Kirsner

  44. 44

    Edwin Monono said,

    I was their foster parent support worker for many years. So I know their commitment to help their foster children. I found in them sincerity to fostering yet unparalled. They gave fostering a unique mantra that is praiseworthy, noteworthy and worthwhile. While fostering gave me the opportunity to know them, my admiration to them included the unique architectural energy saving home they built. They were compatible and inseparable in life as in death. They exhibited more, knowledge, integrity and an unflinching commitment to be exemplary and serve others. I remain privileged to have known them but dumbfounded that their demise is associated with the one I know they were helping. I found no fault in Ginny and Mike.

  45. 45

    Howard Smith said,

    Dear Eli,

    I am so saddened.

    I have fond memories of your mom as a quiet leader at Troop 666. She guided the troop committee with patience and grace. We all learned from her, she (and your dad) will be missed.

  46. 46

    Sterling Newberry said,

    Dear Eli,
    I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I can only imagine how this has been for you. I didn’t know your parents, but they sound like incredibly loving people. I know you, and their love of life shines through you in the work you do here in Portland. My thoughts are with you and your family in this difficult time. Love, Sterling

  47. 47

    Joan Adler said,

    What a team. pioneers in spirit and action. Models for us all. I wonder if your parents had a clue of the impact they had on so many lives – not only those they reached out to help but friends, neighbors and colleagues who learned by Ginny’s and Mike’s example to be a notch more responsible, involved, resourceful, and giving.

    Sorry Ginny, I was a lost cause with starter dough and I sewed one of my first quilt squares onto my skirt but I wouldn’t have tried it had it not been for you. When you wrestled with the idea of teaching I hope I was equally encouraging.

    Sorry I could not join the family at the service on Saturday – we were visiting Justin, Barbie and Ava Belle in LA. Thank goodeness for the comfort afforded by Zyggy. These kids (grandkiids) keep us tethered. Love to you Leah and Eli. I see and hear so much of your parents in you – in that regard life is fair. Joanie Adler

  48. 48

    Jeanne Fitzpatrick/Robert Minnich said,

    We hold your entire family in our hearts and prayers. I lost my mother in August and Bob lost his dear sister in April. We wish you strength and peace. We had the privilege of attending the lovely and moving service for Ginny and Mike on Saturday. The day before, I posted the following on the Chevy Chase Listserv and I wanted to share it here:

    We, too, had the pleasure of meeting the Spevaks, but in a totally different context – on the soccer field. They were interesting, engaging, committed, and very smart. Ginny was, as has been reported, passionate about giving back to those less fortunate, especially those in the Latin community. That is how we came to meet them on the soccer field. Our daughter and a child the Spevaks were fostering at the time, played on the same team. My husband and I always sought Ginny out for conversation along the side lines during the matches. We witnessed the way in which she provided positive reinforcement to her foster daughter as she helped her assimilate into a group of teenage girls with whom she had little in common, including the language. Ginny often spoke about her past experiences as a teacher, the environment, our local government, all with a gentle sense of humor and an eagerness to hear your point of view. What a sad shock it was to learn about their untimely deaths. I was touched to hear the many tributes to the Spevaks that came from others. They – and their contributions to this community – will be dearly missed.

    Jeanne Fitzpatrick
    Robert Minnich

  49. 49

    Dear Eli and Leah,

    My thoughts are with you. I have such fond memories of Cub Scout meetings conducted in the backyard of your parents’ house — even before we all attended GDS together. I found myself so attracted to their (and your) spirit of independent thinking, curiousity and social responsibility.

    I got to thinking about how I ended up in the job I’m in now — working for the Drug Policy Alliance on criminal justice reform — and how many people go into influencing our development and helping us form into the adults we grow up to be. Michael and Ginny’s carbon footprint may be small but the impression they left on so many people’s lives — by deed and example — is incalculably vast and deep.

    I am grateful to have known them.

    With love,

  50. 50

    Jessica Keimowitz said,

    Leah and Eli,

    I wanted to pass along my condolences to you both. I did not know your parents well, but it is clear from the comments here that there were tremendous individuals who had a profound impact on the lives that they touched. May you find solace and strength in your communities and amongst your friends and family. I am so terribly sorry for your loss.

    Jessica Keimowitz

  51. 51

    Nancy Wischnowski said,

    My heart skipped a beat when I heard the house number mentioned in the earliest reports of a tragedy on Belt Rd. I know that number, I said to myself…and sure enough, later as the news reports were published, I was saddened to learn it was the Ginny and Michael Spevak. I was so
    upset that the couple I knew just slightly, but meaningfully, through my years as office director of ANC 3G, had been cruelly murdered.
    I extend my heartfelt sympathy to the Spevak children, Eli and Leah
    at this sad time and forgive my not being able to attend the memorial service at the Presbyterian church to extend my sympathies to you both in person.

  52. 52

    Dear Leah and Eli,

    Ginny’s former students and their parents have been contacting the Green Acres alumni office with memories and anecdotes from her storied teaching career at the school. I wanted to share some of these lovely tributes:

    “She was one of my favorite teachers–from Green Acres and even overall in my scholastic career–and I hope that something will be organized to honor her and her love of the community.”

    “I have very fond memories of Ginny’s classes. I remember gathering around the glass tank that belonged to the snake, Happy Camper, every time he got fed a live mouse. The students were routinely polarized–either fascinated or disgusted, while Ginny held firm in her purely scientific outlook on the process. She shared so much with us.”

    “Ginny greatly influenced my childhood, and consequently my adult life as well. I am so said and horrified by the circumstances of her death, but mainly I will continue to be inspired by the life she lived.”

    “I’ve found myself dumbstruck by this unimaginable crime, unable to imagine who would want to hurt someone so kind, so caring, and so incredibly dedicated to all the people and causes she cared about, I believe that Ginny had a profound impact on who I am today, and in particular, my commitment to a life of social justice. She was one of the only people I ever knew well who actually lived the social justice mission they believed in.”

    “Ginny was always such a calm and steady presence as a teacher. In her 7th grade science class we were each responsible for carrying out an experiment or research project on a topic of our own choosing. I still remember this ‘independent science project’ as one of the most challenging things I did at Green Acres–and it was because Ginny trusted us and gave us the freedom to explore our own ideas. She saw only the greatest potential in people–even a group of giggly and endlessly distractible 7th graders. This was obviously an outlook she and her husband carried through into every aspect of their lives. Their passing is a great loss.”

    “Ginny was a true Green Acres character with a sense of calm and grace. She and Mike were so ahead of their time and led in a way that all of us can admire. Ginny was instrumental in sculpting me into a champion of the earth.”

    “Ginny was my older son’s science teacher and she was the best of Green Acres…My Ginny memories are of her small-scale, unsung goodness…This is Thanksgiving week and we give thanks for Ginny’s presence in our lives. Her soul is undoubtedly wherever the souls of the good reside. I send condolences to her family. It is so sad that they are deprived so early of what she and her husband had to offer. May their memories be a blessing.”

  53. 53

    Anim Steel said,

    Dear Leah and Eli,

    My heart goes out to you. I didn’t know your parents, but I am really moved to learn about the beautiful way they lived their lives. And I think I understand how you two came to be such thoughtful and interesting people. That’s what I remember, even at a distance of 18 years.

    My fiance called while I was writing this note, and I spent some time telling her what I have just learned about your parents. A lot of what I admire in her is what Michael and Ginny Spevak seemed to embody–in spades. Thank you for sharing them with us even in the midst of this tragedy. I really cherish what I learned about them, and I am so, so sorry for your loss.

    Thinking of you,

  54. 54

    David Kramer said,

    Upon hearing the news, outside of incoherent expressions of pained disbelief, I immediately tried to find solace in my normal home-time routine. Later, however, I found myself quietly crying while reading my son a bedtime story (thankfully he was already asleep). Just a visceral reaction to something I couldn’t bring myself to comprehend, yet couldn’t bottle up.

    I then found myself lost in personal reflection, and as the memories flooded back, the impact was much more than I realized. Ginny baked bread for meals, so I learned how to bake bread (albeit badly) at home. Ginny taught me to sew on a sewing machine for the first time, and now I can just about successfully sew on my own buttons. I learned to compost from them. I even ended up taking botany classes in college, largely because they made me realize how little I knew about the plants around me. I, as other folks have mentioned here, also took great joy from rambling around in Mike’s fabulously quirky Citroen. It went on and on, as I imagine it might have for so many. Memories inspiring both giggles and profound sadness at the same time.

    While I really only knew them for a few short years (almost 20 years ago now), the more I read of their accomplishments, pursuits and passions, I was awed at the sheer volume of things I didn’t know about this truly extraordinary couple. My love goes to Leah, Eli and the whole Spevak/Sager family with the hope that the time comes quickly when the joyful celebration of Mike and Ginny’s lives will overcome the grief of this wrenching loss.

    Much love,
    Dave Kramer

  55. 55

    Amber Mehresh said,

    My deepest condolances to Leah, Eli, and all those whose lives Mike and Ginny have touched. This is the most horrible thing, I can’t even wrap my mind around that anyone would want to hurt these most loving, caring, kind, and generous people. It is truly a loss. I will miss them so much.

  56. 56

    Martin P. Brooks said,

    To the family: I attended the memorial service on November 29, but had difficulty getting myself prepared to speak, so I want to share a few thoughts now. First, I offer my deepest condolences to you.

    From November 2004 – August 2008, I worked at Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church in DC as the youth minister. For the past two years, Ginny worked as a regular volunteer at our weekly programs for 6th-grade – 12th grade youth. She led games, facilitated discussions, came to New Orleans on a work trip with us in 2007, and helped us in much of the planning for those two years. As someone who had often had trouble getting adult volunteers to help with youth programs, Ginny was literally an answer to prayer for both me and my successor, Jennifer Griffin (who spoke briefly at the November 29 service), the current youth minister who is a close friend of mine.

    On November 30 at Emory United Methodist Church (where I have served as senior pastor since July 2008) in Upperco, Maryland, I spoke about Ginny and Mike, and how much they had positively affected my work and my life.

    Ginny was an unsolicited volunteer almost every week with the church youth. She proved that age is no barrier to working with young people, and she developed a close rapport with several of them, many of whom are having difficulty in the grieving process. There is no one I can think of who could serve as a more positive role model for youth and adults than Ginny did. All of us are better people for having known her and for having been supported by her.

    I did not know Mike as well, but I remember the graduation dinner he attended with Ginny for one of our 2008 high school seniors. He was a wonderful presence for the event.

  57. 57

    Susan Dentzer, Chuck Alston and Family said,

    One of the first faces we ever encountered the first time we walked into Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church nearly 15 years ago was Ginny Spevak’s. I (Susan) remember, Sunday after Sunday, how she greeted us as we walked in and handed us that day’s order of worship. For a long time, that is what she was to us: a smiling face and steady presence at the door of the sanctuary. Little did we imagine how much more she would become.

    As Steve Robertson said so eloquently in the meditation he gave at the memorial service, the example of Ginny’s life calls us all to a higher order of existence, a deeper commitment to live lives of love and caring for our fellow beings. This is not an a reproachful way; after all, as Paul wrote in Corinthians, love is never boastful. Ginny’s extraordinary gifts, and the example of her and Mike’s service to those so much less fortunate, are rather to us as Christ was to his disciples — saying, in effect, “Come — follow me.”

    God bless all the Spevak family, and please know how fervently we hold you in our hearts and prayers.

  58. 58

    John Macgregor said,

    Eli, Leah, Frank, Noelle,

    I chair a community group called Climate Action Project that got started at Politics and Prose bookstore early in 2006, and I met Ginny and Michael through it. They were among the staunchest core members. Ginny had been to meetings at my house, and was planning to invite the group to tour her house as an example of how to reduce one’s carbon footprint.

    There are not words to express the shock and loss we feel now. Words can’t do justice to it. But I believe they would both prefer that we look ahead and keep trying to take actions for the causes they dedicated themselves to.

    We are thinking about setting up some sort of living, ongoing memorial – perhaps an annual award in their names to the DC person/group that has done the most to promote sustainable energy or (more generally) environment. The group will meet next on December 13 and we’ll talk then about this.

    We don’t want to duplicate what others might already be doing, though. Can you tell me if there are any other plans for any such thing? Or if not plans, at least ideas? Perhaps your thoughts would help us move in the most appropriate direction for this sort of thing.

    Thanks and warm wishes,
    John Macgregor

  59. 59

    Dave Weinstein said,


    We haven’t seen each other in 18 years, and I did not know your parents. But, having read the article in the Post and these comments, I can see what wonderful people they were and how big an impact they had on those around them whose lives they touched. While their passing was tragic, their living was an inspiration.


    Dave Weinstein

  60. 60

    Anne Fretz said,

    Dear Eli and Leah,

    My heart goes out to both of you and your families as you try to make sense of the terrible atrocity that befell your parents. I taught with your mom for many years at Green Acres and have been to their home a number of times for quilting, and so I knew her better than your dad, though I saw him off and on over the years.

    I knew that they were both involved in good works but did not realize the full extent of their community commitments until the recent Post articles and the beautiful service last Saturday. What a wonderful tribute it was to two people so dedicated to living their values every day. And they went about helping others and caring for the environment in a most unpretentious, gentle way, never bringing attention to themselves. Truly, they were beacons of hope and light in a dark world- and role models for us all.

    I have been the recipient of your mom’s quilting endeavors on two occasions. When my husband died seven years ago, your mom made a square for a group quilt made in his memory. This quilt, placed in my living room where I can view it everyday, is a symbol of caring friendship that has meant so much to me during the healing process. Then two years ago upon my retirement, I was presented with a gorgeous applique quilt commemorating my time at Green Acres. I particularly cherish square your mom made for me of a beautiful butterfly, linking our mutual interest in nature.

    A month ago, I had lunch at your parents’ cozy home when the Sage group from Green Acres gathered. Your mom served lovely soups, homemade breads and delicious desserts. I was impressed that some of the vegetables in the soups came from their summer garden. In the midst of all her other endeavors, she found time for cooking and friendship.

    And then I saw her more recently with you, Leah, at the Needle Chasers quilt show. I was so pleased to have a chance to chat with you and meet your little cutie, Ziggy. You all looked so happy and contented. She was definitely thrilled to be a grandma.

    Your parents were the most selfless, nonviolent people imaginable, constantly showing their love for others by giving to the community in myriad ways. You will continue to grapple with this incredibly tragic loss to your lives for some time to come. I ask, as I have in the past, why do bad things happen to such good people? We just don’t know; it is part of the mystery of life. Perhaps these words, which I think describe your parents, will be of some comfort to you:

    “Death is not life’s goal, only life’s terminus. The goal is to live in such a way that our lives will prove worth dying for. This is where love comes into the picture. The one thing that can’t be taken from us, even by death, is the love we give away before we go.” – The Rev. Forrest Church, “Love and Death”

    Please know that my thoughts are with you during this difficult time of loss.

    Much love,
    Anne Fretz

  61. 61

    Anne Salemme said,

    Eli and Leah,
    I knew your parents when they were living in the house on Military Road, when there were a number of group houses on the block, and we used to have a lot of pot luck dinners and impromptu socializing. Your parents jumped right in to our little community as soon as they moved in. I lived in the big green house across the street. I moved away almost 20 years ago, but remember you and your sister as little kids, and I remember your father wearing some sort of Polynesian skirt-like garment, walking barefoot around the tiny front yard looking for the Sunday paper, all happy and totally un-selfconscious, the sun shining and the traffic on Military Road whizzing by.

    Be strong, your parents live on in you.


  62. 62

    Mary Ellen said,

    Leah, Eli & Families,

    I’m getting ready to leave for Quilting for Good at G Street. This is where I met your mother almost two years ago. I am a new quilter and Ginny helped me complete a “pillowcase” quilt — my first quilt! I am a regular there, and though I have yet to “complete” my first real quilt, I have been part of a legacy Ginny and Prue began making & donating baby quilts to Mary’s Center in DC. I now also make premie quilts for the NICU at Holy Cross Hospital, along with crochet caps (tiny ones).

    The last time I saw Ginny we compared hand-made shopping bags — her’s an older one and mine was one I had just made; and talked about the tiny caps we both make.

    Please know that many thoughts and prayers are being shared on your behalf. The legacy that your parents have left will continue to touch the lives of others through the lives that they had touched.

    Sharing the Journey,
    Mary Ellen

  63. 63

    Emily Baldwin said,

    Dear Eli and Leah,
    I have been wrestling with the news of your parents death since I first heard it from Snuller Price back in November. My story is not directly of your parents — I was never fortunate enough to meet them — but of their legacy. Eli, I suspect you have no idea how fondly and often Seth& I recall our visit with you in Portland several years ago. It was before we had children, and in the time since our sons were born we have frequently brought up your family as an example — of hope, of inspiration, of how a family can be. When we stayed with you, you told us about your parents’ work in the foster system, we saw your own dedication to social justice and equality in Portland, and the way in which all of you seemed to live with an unswerving commitment to the forces of good. This is how we want to raise our own children, we have said to each other in the years since that visit. I can’t say we have always succeeded, but it helps to have role models to guide the way. Eli, Leah, please know that your family’s enormous legacy reaches even farther than you know, that because of your parents — and yourselves — so many of us are reminded again to rededicate ourselves to those causes and beliefs we hold dear and to reach out in love. Please know, too, that all of us here in the Swarthmore-in-the-Bay-Area collective are thinking of you all the time and trying more than anything to bring a little more peace and goodness into the world, in the hopes that it will touch you somehow. We are here for you, we would love to see you, and even from a distance we would all do, quite literally, anything to help you in this time.
    Much love,
    Emily & Seth (and lots of other Swatties in the Bay Area)

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