302-478-7100 Wilmington & Hockessin, DE

Virginia “Ginny” Austin Mai Abrams


Ginny died peacefully in her sleep on May 10th after a year-long battle with leukemia. She was born in Ithaca, New York, to Barbara and William Mai. Ginny graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a PhD in organic chemistry from MIT. Upon graduating, she moved to Delaware and began working as a chemist at DuPont. She married Lloyd Abrams in 1971 and moved to Hockessin.

While her kids were young, Ginny worked part-time teaching chemistry at Del Tech and conducting research in the biochemistry department at the University of Delaware. She also volunteered extensively with her daughters’ schools and activities, including helping lead Girl Scout troops, chaperoning band trips, and assisting with Science Olympiad preparation. Sewing, upholstering furniture, gardening (veggies and flowers), and cooking were other endeavors that she poured herself into. Ginny was also a voracious reader, keeping several magazines and newspapers solvent, including Science, Nature, and The New York Times. A lifelong opera lover, Ginny regularly attended Opera Delaware, enjoyed occasional trips to the Met, and introduced her children and grandchildren to the joys of opera. In addition to listening to opera and NPR, her perfect evening in recent years involved sitting in her sunroom, surrounded by plants and watching the birds with her beloved dog Leo on her lap and a glass of white wine and a book in hand.

After the kids left home, she discovered a new passion: dyeing fabric, which combined her background in chemistry with her burgeoning interest in art. In 1997, she started creating art quilts, which, as she liked to describe them, are “not your grandmother’s quilts.” Ginny developed a unique style – her love of nature (recalling her Finger Lakes girlhood), favorite colors of blue and green, and sense of how things flowed together gave rise to a wonderful series of quilts. Her corpus of work included multiple curvilinear pieces inspired by reflections on water (many based on her photographs of Seneca Lake) and more angular pieces depicting what she called “roadside structures,” like cranes, bridges, and cell towers. A high point came early in Ginny’s quilting career when one of her quilts was accepted for the prestigious Quilt National exhibition in 2001. In fact, that quilt was chosen to be on the T-shirt commemorating the 2001 exhibition. She went on to exhibit work locally and nationally in shows including “Quilt National” (2007, and 2015), “Delaware by Hand Masters” (Delaware Museum of Art), “Quilts=Art=Quilts” (Schweinfurth Memorial Art Museum, Auburn, NY), and “River Quilts” (National Quilt Museum, Paducah, KY). She was a member of several fiber groups, including Fiber Dimensions, the Studio Art Quilt Association (SAQA) and FiberRevolution, which forged strong friendships and critiquing and exhibiting opportunities. Most recently, she started painting, taking classes at the University of Delaware’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Her most recent quilts incorporate her painting.

Starting in the mid-1990’s, Ginny and Lloyd began travelling adventures: Europe, Africa, Central America, Hawaii, Alaska, and Japan. This past Christmas, she traveled with her family to Jamaica to celebrate her birthday. During these trips, Ginny always had a camera at her side, recording not only her experiences, but natural and man-made objects that provided inspiration for her quilting.

In addition to Lloyd, her husband of 47 years, Ginny leaves a sister, Elizabeth Mai (husband John Gobrecht), brother, William Mai (wife Marcsa Birkas), daughter Betsy Rich (husband Robert), daughter Laura Abrams (husband Christian Correa), and three grand-children, Quinn, Alexandra, and Damian. She also leaves a daughter in spirit, Lauren Avery (husband Sean and children Drake and Fiona) and a host of wonderful friends.

Ginny wished to be cremated. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any offerings be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, P.O. Box 98011, Washington, DC 20090. Later this year, we will have a celebration of Ginny’s life, featuring her quilts. You can see examples of her quilts at www.virginiaabrams.com.

For online condolences, please visit www.chandlerfuneralhome.com

Funeral Services

Please check back for funeral service information.


    Lois Dow lit a candle and writes,
    A beautiful friend who will be dearly missed.
    05/12/2018 08:29 am
    Hiroe and Katsumi writes,
    We like Ginny very much, because she is a really smart person with humor. She should be an ideal mother for her daughters. Hiroe has a really intimate feeling for Ginny. Tomorrow early moring we will depart and then Hiroe will write after coming back to Japan. When we visited MIT today, we talked that Ginny learned in very nice atmosphere. In our cottage, we exhibited Ginny surrounded with beautiful flowers, when it was taken on our last visiting. Then we can often talk with her hereafter too. Katsumi (Hiroe)
    05/12/2018 08:27 pm
    Linda ad Greg Kanan lit a candle and writes,
    We are sending our sincere condolences to Lloyd, Laura, Betsy, and all of Ginny’s family. We are thinking of you in this difficult time, and know your memories of her amazing professional, creative, and family life and love will be with you always. Peace to you, Linda and Greg
    05/12/2018 10:11 pm
    Kevan R. Lunney writes,
    Ginny was such a kind soul. I shared quite a few memorable times with her through Fiber Revolution. Ginny made a powerful impression on me as an artist, a minimalist, and a microbiologist. I admired her sensitive studies of the effects of plants and light and motion on the surface of the water. She arranged a show for us at the Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts. On delivery day we sat together discussing my swirling thoughts in the early stages of my archeology series. I told her I was concerned with what was lasting, and permanent, what is passed on over the generations and how to portray this. I was thinking about ideas passed on through the ages, but her ideas were about a much longer range of time. She said, the elements are lasting, they will always be here, likely even if the earth blows up. The elements will be somewhere. That is when I decided to put gold metal leaf on my work. The other thing she said was mitochondria is passed down to offspring from their mothers. (this- from an article in the NY Times, Maternal inheritance is what allows genetic testing services like 23andMe to trace our maternal ancestries. You inherited your mitochondrial DNA from your mother, who inherited hers from her mother and so forth. Maternal inheritance also gave rise to the idea that there exists a “Mitochondrial Eve,” a woman from whom all living humans inherited their mitochondrial DNA.) Ginny was so kind and open and sharing. She was so very intelligent and could make any topic easy to understand. She will be missed. I am so proud to have one of her small works hanging in my studio.
    05/13/2018 02:13 am
    Susie Fawcett writes,
    Sending my love and thoughts to the Abrams family, Lloyd, Betsy and Laura for your loss. She was an amazing woman and I’m lucky to have grown up with her in my life❤️
    05/13/2018 11:35 am
    Ashley Tineo writes,
    Dear family of Virginia, I wish to offer my sincere condolences for your loss. This must be a very difficult time for your family. It can be very hard to cope when someone we love deals with such a challenging illness and, even dies. I hope you are able to find true comfort in mourning your loss (1 Corinthians 1:3,4, Revelations 21:3,4)!
    05/13/2018 11:40 am
    Linda Dion writes,
    A beautiful light in this world has gone out. Ginny was a remarkable woman, and a friend. I remember sharing many experiences with her through our children's schooling at Lewis, then H.B. and A.I. She always inspired me. I will always think of her fondly & look forward to celebrating her life. Laura, Betsy and Lloyd, know that your mother/wife made a big difference in our family's world (and that of many others), and be happy for your many years with her; she will always be fondly remembered. You will be passing on her legacy of caring, love, & joy in life to your own children, and they to their children; and so her spirit continues for many generations. Love you all! Linda (& Dick)
    05/13/2018 11:45 am
    Nadia lit a candle and writes,
    I did not know Mrs. Abrams well but can’t forget her passion for kids and teaching science when she helped at our science fair. I’m sure there were a hundred other things she could have been doing on a spring day but she chose to give her time and share her knowledge. Such an amazing person.
    05/13/2018 03:23 pm
    Toni Eaton lit a candle and writes,
    Dear Lloyd, I was saddened to read of Ginny’s passing. I remember meeting her one time while visiting your lovely home in Hockessin. Ginny was very gracious and kind to me. I recall, too, how you always spoke of her so affectionately when we worked together on Red Clay’s Financial Advisory Committee. Please know that I am thinking of you at this sad time. I offer my deepest condolences to you and your family. May you be comforted by the many loving memories you have of Ginny from your 47 years together. With deepest sympathy, Toni Eaton
    05/13/2018 04:42 pm
    Arlene Favreau-Pysher lit a candle and writes,
    Dear Lloyd and family, I want to extend my condolences. Jenny was a very special person. I met her through the Fiber Dimension group and started understanding the value of her quilts. My prayers are with you all and if there is anything I can do let me know. Arlene Favreau-Pysher
    05/13/2018 05:31 pm
    Perry & Terry Mace writes,
    Mr. Abrams: Our deepest condolences in the loss of Mrs. Abrams. Such a nice lady and good neighbor to the Mace family. Our prayers to you and your family. Perry & Terry Mace
    05/13/2018 06:13 pm
    Lise Davis writes,
    We are so sorry to hear about your loss. While we did not have the privilege of getting to know Ginny well, we can see how she has passed on her energy and dedication as a mother, and her love and pursuit of science and knowledge, to her daughter and her grandchildren. Rest in peace.
    05/14/2018 09:18 am
    Rita Armstrong writes,
    Lloyd, I am so very sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
    05/14/2018 10:34 am
    Alan and Dara Allgeier lit a candle and writes,
    Sincere condolences from our family to yours. We remember Ginny as such a warm and lively soul. Attending her art show in downtown Wilmington was a special memory. Both the art and the company of her friends and art admirers were inspiring! May the Abrams family find consolation in wonderful memories and loving support of family and friends.
    05/14/2018 10:39 am
    Dave Rosenfeld lit a candle and writes,
    So sorry to learn of Ginny's passing. It was evident in every story Lloyd told, that she loved her family deeply and was deeply loved in return. Loved her quilt art. It was, as was she, simply amazing. My condolences to her family.
    05/14/2018 11:21 am
    Ritu Seadie lit a candle and writes,
    Our condolences to the entire family. Praying for strength, peace, and comfort at this time.
    05/14/2018 01:31 pm
    Shirley and Peter Rigby lit a candle and writes,
    Peter and I send our love and condolences to her husband and her family. I feel very fortunate to have know Ginny and watch her grow and develop as an artist. She had a special sense of humor and was always smiling. And what a generous spirit she had. When you were around Ginny, you knew you would laugh or learn something new. Her quilting was and is unique, and universal and all her awards were well deserved.
    05/15/2018 02:36 pm
    Mary Maneval-Huntington writes,
    Lloyd, Betsy, and Laura, I am deeply sorry for the loss of such and amazing and beautiful woman. Your family always welcomed me with open arms and Ginny was a surrogate mother to me as a child. From swim meets to trips to Ashland; from sewing to gardening...she was an inspiration. I never eat Cheerios without brown sugar and it’s a tradition that I’ve started with my own son. I never eat okra without thinking of you all and I am so grateful that you have been a part of my life. I never hear opera without thinking about Ginny humming in the kitchen. As I sit here and write this, I am flooded with so many other memories, emotion, and gratitude for being able to experience the wonders of her. With deepest sympathy and love, Mary Maneval 302.547.0010 Maryhntntn@yahoo.com
    05/16/2018 08:54 am
    Brian K Abrams 262/228 Bldg writes,
    Lloyd and family, Sorry to hear about your loss
    05/16/2018 12:03 pm
    Fran Tebbutt writes,
    Lloyd, Thinking of you and your family at this difficult time.
    05/17/2018 08:33 am
    Laurene Gilbert writes,
    I am so, so sorry to hear of Ginny's passing. I came to know Ginny through her sister and brother spending time on beautiful Seneca Lake, NY. Many wonderful hours with Leo sitting on her lap like Velcro! Ginny's smile lit up a room. Her beautiful quilted wall hangings can be seen just about everywhere you turn your head. It makes me so sad that she is gone (only) from our sight. My heart goes out to you, her family. With sincere condolences and warmth, Laurene
    05/17/2018 06:06 pm
    Quinn Correa writes,
    My grandma was a remarkable woman with so many great qualities. I miss her every day and probably will miss her for the rest of my life. She was full of passion and enjoyed everything she did. I can’t ever forget the days we’d spend doing arts and crafts projects while listening to NPR and having Leo curled up on a chair. I’m upset she’s gone, but I know she lived a great life filled with wonderful friends and happy memories.
    05/17/2018 07:44 pm
    Jeff Kregers writes,
    Lloyd, My deepest condolences to you and your family at this difficult time. Keep alive those memories which comfort you.
    05/20/2018 12:16 pm
    Hiroe Kaneko lit a candle and writes,
    Lloyd, I am remembering of Ginny everyday. Her Quilts are just herself, naturally, kindly, clearly, and cheerfully. Please accept my sincere condolences.
    05/20/2018 12:59 pm
    Chuck and Chris Ginnard writes,
    Dear Lloyd, Betsy and Laura, Just finding out about Ginny’s passing. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Ginny was an awesome spirit who left her mark on this earth! Chris and Chuck Ginnard
    05/22/2018 08:16 am
    Gay Fawcett lit a candle and writes,
    Dear,dear Lloyd, Betsy and Laura. I have been so sadden by Ginny's passing. My Love and thoughts are with you at this hard time. Ginny and I had so many adventures and good times together as our girls grew up -- Girl Scout camping trips, prepping for Sci. Olympics, swim meets, many school activities just to remember a few. We also shared our interest in sewing although Ginny was more creative than me! I think of her every time I look at the my quilts where I used the technique she taught me. After moving west, whenever we talked or I returned for a visit, it was as if I never left. Ginny was such a dear friend and I deeply miss her. My sincere sympathy to all the Abrams family. Gay Fawcett
    06/04/2018 02:17 am
    Judy Cuddihee writes,
    I remember Ginny from when we were in Fiber Revolution together....her easy humor....her beautiful quilts. Such nice memories.........
    06/21/2018 09:31 pm

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