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Obituary: Viola Barrett Greenland Pope Dies

Viola Barrett Greenland Pope, an Alexandria native and member of a prominent Virginia family known for its philanthropy and community service, died Aug. 14 at Goodwin House West in Alexandria due to coronary artery disease. She was 96.

Mrs. Pope was the daughter of the late Dr. Robert South Barrett, who in 1907 established the Barrett Press and purchased the Alexandria Gazette, and Mrs. Viola Tupper Barrett. Dr. Barrett built Alexandria’s first public library in 1930. A Mason, Dr. Barrett was instrumental in raising the money to build the George Washington National Masonic Memorial in Alexandria.

Mrs. Pope’s paternal grandmother, Dr. Kate Waller Barrett, founded the National Florence Crittenton Mission, which provided homes nationwide for unwed mothers in the first half of the 20th century. Her brother, the late Clifton Waller Barrett, gave the University of Virginia what is considered to be the nation’s premier collection of American literature, including manuscripts and first editions, establishing the Barrett Library there. Mrs. Pope’s uncle, the late Maj. Gen. Charles Barrett, USMC, is acknowledged to have been a pioneer in the development of the amphibious warfare tactics used during World War II, including the Allied invasion at Normandy and in the South Pacific.

Mrs. Pope was a lifelong member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Alexandria, where she served two terms as senior warden, and also represented Region Four on the Virginia Diocesan Board. She was a 50-year member of the Hunting Creek Garden Club in Alexandria, and a lifetime member of the Colonial Dames of America. Mrs. Pope was also a trustee of Ivakota, a home for unwed mothers near Widewater, Va.

Viola Barrett graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1930, where she was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta, and earned a BA degree. She married Milton Russell Greenland in 1935. They had one son and two daughters.

Milton Greenland died in 1974, and nine years later, she married Loren Pope, a Washington newspaper columnist and author who specialized in education issues. During this time, Mrs. Pope continued her philanthropic work in Alexandria, including Alive Family Emergency Program, a group of 37 local churches providing help to families, as well as earning recognition as an accomplished amateur sculptress.

In 1992, she received the Esther Taylor Burke Award from the American Red Cross for "outstanding philanthropic and humanitarian service to the Alexandria community in the great Red Cross tradition."

The Popes had a weekend home at Marlborough Point in Stafford County, and in November 2003, moved to Goodwin House West.

Mrs. Pope is survived by her husband Loren, of Goodwin House West, Alexandria; and the children of her first marriage, Robert Tupper Greenland, of Richmond; Bruce Greenland Rodenberg, of Alexandria; and Barrett Greenland Dowell, of Warrenton. Also surviving are five grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

A funeral service was held on Aug. 21 – which would have been her 98th birthday – at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Alexandria. Burial followed in the cemetery of Aquia Episcopal Church in Stafford County.

Memorial contributions may be made to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 228 South Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314; or to Alive!, 2723 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22302.