Dr. Virginia (Ginny) Hart died at home on Wednesday, August 23, 2023, following an illness that she braved with grace, compassion, and unrelenting humor. She was born on June 4, 1959, in Wilmington, Del., to beloved parents James Austin Hart III and Anne (Trapnell) Hart. During a life devoted to learning and caring for others, she graduated from Tower Hill High School, Vanderbilt University, the University of Pennsylvania, The Ohio State University, and the University of Minnesota.
She was a nurse and a teacher in the fullest senses of those words, reveling in the opportunity to provide comfort and understanding, expertise and openness to patients and students alike. After years of clinical practice in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Ginny shifted gears to pursue a Post-Master’s certification and Doctorate of Nursing Practice in psychiatric mental health nursing, which subsequently led her to teaching positions at Radford University and the University of Virginia (UVA)—her self-described “dream job.” Her research, focused on promoting self-care and wellness for healthcare providers, affirmed her commitment to holistic, equitable care for all. At Radford, she received the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Faculty, and once she arrived at UVA, she jumped into Charlottesville’s mental healthcare community with her characteristic vim and vigor: she twice won UVA’s Tyson Innovative Teaching Award, collaborated on UVA Health’s Wisdom and Wellbeing program, and joined the board of Partner for Mental Health.
Ginny loved jamming to pop music, catching up with family on the porches at Shrine Mont, shopping with friends, petting fluffy dogs, laughing so hard her whole body shook, leaving exhaustive chatty voicemail messages, and eating chocolate—especially York Peppermint Patties and chocolate buckeyes.
She is survived by her husband, Bill Roelofsen; three children, Emily, Lauren, and Matt (Natalia) Rials; two brothers, including Dr. Richard Hart; three sisters-in-law, Silvia Hart, Sherry Bourgeois, and Mariska Gibson; three nieces, Ginny Hart McAnaney, Katie Hart, and Julia Hart; mother-in-law Anna Roelofsen; two great-nieces; one grandchild-to-be; and a huge array of extended family, dear friends, and cherished colleagues.
A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, September 2, 2023, at Christ Episcopal Church in Charlottesville.
In lieu of flowers, her family asks that memorial donations be made to support the American Cancer Society; the Glioblastoma Foundation; All Blessings Flow, a non-profit that makes medical equipment and supplies accessible to all in the Charlottesville area; or the UVA School of Nursing, which is establishing a Ginny Hart Memorial Fund to support the pre-clinical and crisis prevention program that Ginny developed and led for psychiatric mental health nursing students during her time at the school.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.hillandwood.com.