Virginia Jones Kahn, 1907-2010

My mother was born Virginia Essie Jones in Salt Lake City, Utah, on February 13, 1907. With the help and love of her caregiver and soulmate Clara Morales, she lived until about noon on this Monday, the day of the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. She was 103 years old.

She never had a doctor (except for emergencies now and then) in her life, never took any kind of pills or medication, and – probably mostly due to her Christian Science religion, saw everything through a positive lens. Several years ago, when she was losing the ability to walk and had other physical limitations of aging, she’d say to me on the phone, “Lloyd, I’ve never felt better in my life!”

She lived in the Aegis Assisted Living home in Corte Madera for the last 4 years, with Clara her constant companion and later, nurse. She kept things lively right up to the end, with wit, humor, and insight. And she hung on.

Friday she went to sleep and slept for about 3 days. On Monday, Clara’s son Jorgito (one of her favorites) came to see her; she opened her eyes, smiled lightly, then closed her eyes and stopped breathing. Very peaceful. No diseases, no medication.

She married my dad, Lloyd M. Kahn in 1934 and they raised us 6 kids in San Francisco. We were a lively family and she captained the ship. The stories abound. Camping at a remote lake in the Sierras, summers at the Russian River, Thanksgiving at Grandmas in Santa Rosa with our (all-boy) cousins, dinners with 6 kids a 3-ring circus, corned beef and cabbage, 26 kids on our block of Ulloa Street…it was a vibrant and rich life.

Her great-great grandfather, George Krieger, fought in the The American Revolutionary War in 1779. Her grandfather, Samuel Crager, fought in the Civil War from 1861-1864.

She was a wonderful and beautiful lady.

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

19 Responses to Virginia Jones Kahn, 1907-2010

  1. I am sorry for your loss, what a good life she had. It is great to know your family history as it gives a feeling of connected and continual.

  2. My deepest sympathy for your loss. What a blessing she must have been in your life and the lives of the others that knew and loved (and were loved by) her. I've followed the blog for a few years now and your postings about your mom were some of my favorite.

    My prayers are with you both.

  3. I do not pray, nor would I consider myself a religious man. I do know that when my mother died it was a sad and painful time, regardless of whether it was sudden loss or somewhat anticipated. I am sorry for your loss and your family's loss and I hope the memories you have help in this time of sorrow.

  4. So sorry for your loss Lloyd, she sounded like the sort of person who made life better for everyone around her. Thanks to your words she is now an inspiration to those of us who were unlucky enough not to know her.

  5. I am sorry for your loss. I lost my own Mother in 2004 (she was 94), so I know a bit what your are going through. It sounds as if she had a good long life, and you were a good son. Remember the good times.


  6. Lloyd-

    I think that it's really cool that your mother shared this world for 103 years! What a blessing. I imagine that she had a huge amount of perspective on our world. You are a lucky man!

  7. I very easily empathise with your sadness of loss. My 91 year old mother, the person I had known longest on this earth, died on 7th June in similar circumstances to yours. I feel I have begun a new life. I had a wonderful life with a living mother now I begin a new life without with only the memories of one; it is an odd feeling.

  8. Lloyd, sorry to hear of your mother's passing. She must have seen so many things in 103 years, that I can only imagine.

  9. Lloyd, Thank you for sharing your mother with us.
    My mother-in-law, 93, passed on this last Christmas Eve, going peacefully with family and priest with her as she went.
    Your family life sounds wonderful. I know that you will miss her presence with you, but your time together was certainly well-spent.
    Please don't hesitate to share stories with us as the spirit moves you.
    All blessings on you and yours.

  10. That is a lovely photograph of your mom Lloyd. A wonderful sunny disposition seems to radiate from her. Very sorry for your loss, but clearly she is alive and well forever in your heart.


  11. Thank you for sharing your family with us all. Yes, I am also Thankful for the lovely picture of her at the blog site. Surely you can write a little book of your early life and how she influenced you… would be a way of influencing others with her teachings.

  12. I'm sorry about your mom, Lloyd. She sounds like a wonderful lady, and your family is certainly a blessed one to be made of such wonderful people. Your blog is an inspiration to me (a young aspiring natural builder), and your personal entries always touch my heart.
    Thank you for sharing so much with this online community, and I wish you as full a life as your mother had!

  13. Thanks for sharing this Lloyd. A rich full life well lived, and a peaceful passing; a blessing. Sorry for your loss, and thankful for the ongoing inspiration of you both.
    with love, Michael and Sally

  14. We just got back from spending some time out in New Mexico… now catching up on your blog… So sorry about the loss of your mother. Such a lovely photo of her. Sounds like she was an amazing person.
    Our sympathies,
    Caroline and Paul B.

  15. My father and mother were also Christian Scientists, they had me late in life, because they fell in love when my dad was 49, I was born when he was 50. They were also wonderful and saw the world in such a perfect way, i've struggled with living up to that, but i've started just loving who they were and letting my own world fall as it will, a very special gift we have been given.

    Annie Marie

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