Virginia Grace Butterfield

Date of Birth

April 19, 1922

Date of Death

March 4, 2017

Virginia Grace Butterfield, 94, passed away from causes related to pneumonia on March 4, 2017. Virginia was a longtime Santa Barbara resident who moved here in 2003 from San Diego, where she was associate editor of San Diego magazine for seventeen years.

Virginia was born in Brookline, Massachusetts in 1922 to Jeanne Dohen and Joseph J. Grace, a colonel in the army. The family was stationed in many cities including San Francisco and Chicago but her favorite posting was at Manila, the Phillipines, where she lived for three years as a teenager. She attended Mills College, received her BA from Bryn Mawr University and attended both Yale University, where was one of the first female students to have a play produced, and Columbia University where she received her MFA. As a young writer in New York she worked for the Margaret Arlen Show on CBS radio. It was there that she met the love of her life, Richard Butterfield, a soon to be television executive who she married in 1950. Ever creative, Virginia balanced motherhood with a part-time modelling career and becamea proficient potter, selling much of her work in the Portland, Oregon area. After Richard’s untimely death in 1978, Virginia recreated herself as a magazine editor, working for Oregon, San Francisco, and finally San Diego magazine. In San Diego she first took up painting, and upon moving to Santa Barbara she became a successful local artist, creating many works of watercolor, oil, acrylics and mixed media. She was a member of the Santa Barbara Art Association, Goleta Art Association, Printmakers of Santa Barbara and Padres Watercolor Society.

Virginia is survived by her daughters, Catherine, Elizabeth, Darcy and Virginia, her son Richard, Jr., seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren. She was the grandmother of Filiberto Hernandez, the Carpinteria teen who fell to his death on March 12th.

The family will be having a private ceremony to memorialize her death. Contributions in her name can be made to the National MS Society.


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