Published in The Washington Post on Mar. 15, 2020
VIRGINIA BRILL HALLAM (Age 95)
August 15, 1924 – March 4, 2020
Beloved wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend, Virginia Hallam
passed away peacefully on March 4, 2020 at her home in McLean, VA.
Born in Honolulu, Hawaii on August 15, 1924, she grew up in the
Washington DC area and graduated from McKinley Technical High
As a young woman she worked at the National Bank of Washington and married John Frank
Hallam on February 13, 1954. John and Virginia raised three sons while residing in Fairfax, VA
and Rockville, MD. Virginia and her husband were world travelers. They took trips to such
interesting places as Papua New Guinea, Myanmar, Botswana, and the Galapagos Islands. For
a number of years, they wintered on the tiny island of Bequia in the Caribbean. When they
first started visiting Bequia, the only means of transport was a mail sailboat, which often had
live animals lashed to its deck.
Virginia and John lived in the neighborhood of Old Farm in Rockville, MD for over 40 years.
While residing there, they made many lifetime friends amongst their neighbors. Of note, the
women of the neighborhood formed a bridge club that did not play bridge. The highlight of this
bridge club was an annual trip to Virginia’s apartment in the Irene condominium in Ocean City,
MD. Again, bridge was not the main activity.
Virginia was an amazing mother and grandmother. Raising three rambunctious sons was not
easy certainly. To her five grandchildren, she was known as “Nana” and played a central role in
In her later years, Virginia suffered from memory loss and resided at the Sunrise facility in
McLean, VA. While her health declined, Virginia maintained her style and dignity and was a
favorite of the Sunrise staff. While it was not overly difficult convincing Virginia to use a walker,
getting her to wear flat shoes or shoes without heels was another matter. Virginia’s daughter-in-
law, Margaret, took great pleasure in her weekly visits and established a close bond with
Virginia. Virginia’s sister, Patsy, (Tech 1943), would drive from Berkeley Springs, WV
frequently to visit, often bringing a lifetime friend of both sisters, Louise Pike.
She is preceded in death by her beloved, husband, John, her dear sister Patricia Hickock, and
her parents Albert and Helen Brill.
Virginia is survived by her three sons: John, Mark (Margaret), and Danial (Paula), who reside in
Austin, TX, Washington, DC and Seattle, WA respectively. Virginia is also survived by five
grandchildren: Matthew (Shannon), Andrew, Caroline, Luke and Emma.
Visitation will take place on Saturday May 2, 2020 at Gawler’s Funeral Home at 5130
Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Washington, DC from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM.
A private family burial service will take place the next day. The family would like to express their
gratitude to the staff of Sunrise of McLean, who provided wonderful and devoted care to
Virginia for almost 8 years.