Virginia Brooks Ambrose

Published 4:09 pm Thursday, January 6, 2022

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Virginia (Ginny) Brooks Ambrose was born a long time ago, one Friday the 13th during WW1, and in the faraway setting of a remote farm in East Tennessee. She attended schools in Ooltewah and Chattanooga, where her main interests were in activities that could use and develop her urge to be beautiful and sophisticated: she learned deportment and refined her accent, she was proficient on the violin, gaining selection to the District Orchestra, and she read books which took her to worlds that stimulated her imagination.

She married Bill Cole, a young navigator on an oil tanker, and their first son was born in 1944. This baby was Jim Cole, a late resident of Tryon where he came when he retired from founding and running a business based in Florida, and whose obituary appeared here is May. The couple moved to Memphis after the War, and she took up her real career, which was as a homemaker. Her second son, Steven, was born there in 1948.

In 1954 she married Lewis Davis, a dentist, well, the dentist, in Winchester, Indiana, and he became the very dear stepfather to her boys. She took on the role of a person of status in a Midwestern town, with an active social life, and plenty of the game that bewitched her, bridge. Her obsession with that game stayed with her for the rest of her life, and she drove herself to her last game at the Foothills Bridge Club when she was over a hundred.

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On his retirement, the family sought to escape the harsh winters of Indiana and took the brave step of moving to a broken city called Savannah.  Passing through Tryon in 1979 on their way somewhere, they liked the place, and decided to seek a quieter life in North Carolina. During the following years, Virginia owned various nice houses around the town, and she worked at The Bookshelf and at the Orchard Inn in Saluda until well into her 80’s. She was a member of the Congregational Church, and in later years she often joined her son and his wife Elaine at the Methodist Church. She also travelled widely, and frequently visited Florida, and her younger son who lives with his family in England. Her 6 grandchildren were a delight to her.

In 2005, she married Jim Ambrose, a distinguished and philanthropic member of this community, and she helped Jim remodel his magical house in the woods, where they entertained lavishly. She continued to join every bridge game on offer at Foothills.

Ginny’s100th birthday party, organized tirelessly by Elaine, was an impressive social event at Sunnydale, but Jim’s death shortly after brought about a curb on her activities. She suffered several falls (she had always scampered about quickly, in the way that she probably learned as a youngster on the Tennessee hills, but which was not so wise for such an old lady), and she had to reluctantly give up her cherished dream of finishing her days independently in her woodland house. She settled at Ridge Rest in Columbus, where she became a special resident, certainly a character. During these last years, she engaged Jan Horton as her companion and caregiver, and the strong bond they formed sustained her through some hard times (it isn’t easy piling on the years after 100), while also they had many laughs together.

An online guest register is available at


McFarland Funeral Chapel

Tryon, North Carolina