The family of Gail Beverly Crisp Matheson is saddened to announce her passing from pancreatic cancer after a graceful and stoic battle of over 20 months that drew deeply on her strong Christian faith, her constant sense of humor while comforted by great confidence in the life she lived and pride in the way she lived it. She died peacefully at her home, The Tannery, in The Plains, Virginia surrounded by her loving family on December 15, 2016, shortly following her 79th birthday embraced by her views of the Virginia Piedmont. She is survived by her beloved husband of 57 years, Malcolm Matheson, III, a retired local builder and real estate developer of three generations, and her four children Malcolm IV of The Plains, VA; Colvin T. (Mary Ellen Chandler) of Arlington, VA; Heather M. Ryus (Michael Denslow Ryus) of South Hamilton, MA; and Jeannette M. Lussi (Craig H. Lussi) of Gibson Island, MD; and her 12 grandchildren: Angus and Duncan; Emma, Marguerite, and Lochlan; Olivia, Cyrena, Lily, and Gaylan; Hunter, Tyler, and Morgan, who will miss the presence of their dear “Bamá” and the infinite love she bestowed on them. Her unflappable and wily spirit will be missed by dozens of nieces, nephews, cousins, godchildren, in-laws and the circle of wonderful and faithful friends of all generations that embraced Gail for her generosity, compassion, commitment, humor, stewardship, bravery in the face of adversity, and ever present grace.
Gail was born December 8, 1937 as the fifth child of the late Dr. Thomas B. and Marguerite Vernon Crisp, Jr. and was raised in Chevy Chase, MD where her oldest memories included watching two of her three older brothers go off to World War II and her mother and sister support the war effort at home. She graduated from the Holton-Arms School in 1956 and studied at Wellesley College through her junior year when she fell in love with and married Malcolm in June 1959 and started their family soon after that. Determined to secure her college degree before her four teenage children left the nest, she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in History, from the American University in 1976 able to walk to and from campus from their home in Wesley Heights, where they lived for 20 years until 1984 when they moved full time to The Plains.
Beyond her family, friends and community involvement, Gail’s greatest passions included her gardens at their rustic, historic and panoramic home; her eye for antiques and collectibles; her love of theater; and her extensive world travels. In the late 1970s, Gail joined Water’s Travel Service (now Frosch) and for over 40 years developed a remarkable talent for creating memorable and often exotic trips for friends and discerning clients while also enjoying a platform for Malcolm and her own adventures into all regions of the globe–world travels that shaped and bonded their shared memories together. Closer to home, in the 1960-1970s she was actively involved with The Junior League of Washington, DC and was dedicated to the growth and success of The Washington Antiques Show, founded in 1955, the second oldest charitable antique show in the United States, where she was a long-standing Trustee and a Founding Board Member of the Washington Winter Show, formed in 2009. In Virginia, Gail was a longtime member of Grace Episcopal Church in The Plains, serving on the vestry multiple times; a member of “Music in the Country” through the Washington Performing Arts; a member of the Fauquier and Loudoun Garden Club, the Middleburg Tennis Club, and a neighborhood book club, while also trekking after the Orange County Hounds of which her husband is a master. Gail also enjoyed her long memberships with The Sulgrave Club of Washington DC and the Chevy Chase Club.
Services were held at Grace Episcopal Church, 6507 Main St, The Plains, VA 20198 on December 29, 2016 at 11:00 AM. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in Gail’s memory to Grace Episcopal Church at 6507 Main St., The Plains, VA 20198 or The National Pancreas Foundation at 3 Bethesda Metro Center, Ste. 700, Bethesda, MD 20814.