Virginia V. " Ginnie" Davidson McNaughton
(January 25, 1931-February 18, 2015)
Virginia V. Davidson "Ginnie" McNaughton
Introduction by Pat Oakes: Virginia Davidson McNaughton was my hero and mentor when I was a teenager—and remained a friend forever. She was the sponsor of our youth group at Plymouth Congregational Church in Coconut Grove, Florida, which was my social life as a kid. My dad was on the church committee which hired her as our Director of Christian Education. He often commented that being part of the group who hired "Miss D.” as we called her was one of the best things he had ever been a part of. She was so smart and funny, and I dearly loved and admired her. In addition to being a devout and liberal Christian, she was a devout Democrat and worked hard to bring about justice in this world. We stayed in touch and saw each other when we could. I remember a long phone visit with her—less than a month before she died so suddenly. I will miss her the rest of my life. Dawn Davis Cram, a friend from Plymouth since the 3rd grade (her dad came to the church to be the pastor), sent me the announcement and program about the opening of McNaughton Hall. Not only is Virginia smiling somewhere, but those of us who knew and loved her are smiling, too.
McNAUGHTON, VIRGINIA DAVIDSON was born in Miami, Florida January 25, 1931, to Robert Mitchell and Dorothy Dean Davidson. Her father was born in Wartrace, TN and grew up in Gadsden, Alabama. In 1915, he graduated with an engineering degree from Vanderbilt University. He moved to Miami and became the first city engineer for the City of Miami Beach. Ten years later, in 1925, he married Dorothy Dean and became the first city manager of Coral Gables. In 1930, he entered the real estate business, opening his own office on Miami Beach in 1932. He was a World War I veteran, a chairman of the President's Council of Miami Beach. In 1950, he formed the partnership of Read, Martin and Davidson. He died in 1970.
Virginia's mother, Dorothy, was the daughter of Simpson Bobo Dean (at right), an owner of The Miami Megropolis which later became The Miami News. Dorothy was a member of one of the earliest pioneer families of Miami. As a child, she moved to Miami in 1904 when her father bought a half-interest in the newspaper. He later became the sole owner. He editorialized against the Florida East Coast Corporation for its attempted political domination and for unfair transportation practices. He also fought gambling and prostitution and favored prohbition and better housing for blacks. Because of his editorials, he had his life threatened.
Dorothy attended Miami Schools, Florida State University for Women and Columbia University journalism school. She and Robert were married in 1925. She was among the founders of the Miami Junior League. She died in 1987 at the age of 89.
Dorothy's brother, S. Dean, followed his father into the real estate business.
Her Education and Career
Virginia attended Chatham Hall, a girls' preparatory school in Chatham, Virginia. She participated in choir, She was Leila in a production of Iolanthe. She graduated in 1949 and enrolled in Smith College. At Smith, Virginia was a member of the house of representatives at Smith and a delegate from the New England division of colleges on a nationwide committee for "Program Planning for Student Council of Churches." She was on the Dean's List and was secretary for the glee club. While at Smith, she served as Director of the Eliot Church of Newton, a Congregational church. She graduated from Smith in 1953 with a degree in religion. She was awarded a fellowship to study at Union Theological Seminary. She earned joint master's degrees from Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary. Upon graduation, Virginia accepted a position as Director of Christian Education at Plymouth Congregational Church in Coconut Grove, Florida.
In 1959, she married Malcolm Donald McNaughton, a widower with a son, Malcolm Donald McNaughton III.. They were married in Plymouth Church. They had three children, Flint, Dean and Margaret and a foster son, Luis León. Flint is CEO/Founding Partner of Suncap Property Group. He serves on the Board of Directors of The Harvest Center of Charlotte. Dean McNaughton is a Senior Director with Cushman & Wakefield Atlanta. Margaret attended Smith College and is an artist. The Reverend Dr. Luis León is the fourteenth Rector of St. John’s Church in Washington, DC. Malcolm III served in the Army in Vietnam and is deceased.
Daughter Margaret married William J. Allen III and they live in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.
At Plymouth, Ginnie had a profound influence on the young people who attended the church.