|Virginia Wilhemina Wesner Whitehead
— Matt Schudel Published: April 7, 2012 The Washington Post
Virginia Whitehead House staffer
Virginia Whitehead, 95, a retired executive secretary at the White House who
volunteered for many community and church groups, died March 6 at Shady Grove
Adventist Emergency Center in Germantown. She had a heart attack, her daughter
Virginia W. Beach said.
Mrs. Whitehead worked as an executive assistant at NBC Radio in Washington in the
1930s and early 1940s and also acted in radio programs and made commercials.
She was a staff aide and executive secretary on Capitol Hill and with various federal
agencies and later with the private Development Corporation International.
She worked as an executive secretary at the White House during the administrations of
Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford before retiring in 1977.
Virginia Wilhelmina Wesner was born in Chicago and grew up in Minneapolis before
moving to Washington in her teens. She graduated from Western High School in 1933.
She attended George Washington University and took courses at American University
and Catholic University. She graduated from the old National Academy of Stage Training
Mrs. Whitehead was a volunteer at Sibley Memorial Hospital and with the Girl Scouts and
Boy Scouts and was a youth camp counselor. She was a past officer of a local chapter of
the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists and of PEO, a women’s
She was a member of the Hawaiian Club, a group that studied Hawaiian culture and put
on dance programs. She entertained at nursing homes into her 80s.
Mrs. Whitehead was a garden docent at the Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens and
also volunteered for 30 years at Washington National Cathedral, where she was a lay
Mrs. Whitehead, who lived in Washington for many years, was a longtime member of St.
Patrick’s Episcopal Church in Washington and led Bible study groups. After she moved
to Germantown, she was a member of St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Damascus.
Her husband of 40 years, M. Leyden Whitehead, died in 1980. A daughter, Diane V.
Whitehead, died in 2008.
Survivors include three children, Virginia W. Beach and Frances M. Whitehead, both of
Germantown, and Michael J. Whitehead of Tucson; five grandchildren; and a great-