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Remembering Kitty Weaver

photoKatherine “Kitty” Weaver of Aldie, a local author and worldwide traveler died Jan. 11. She was 102.

Katherine “Kitty” Weaver, an exceptional woman in Aldie and Loudoun County: active in local and statewide organizations; died Friday, Jan. 11 of complications from pneumonia.

The 102-year-old was a Russian scholar and author of three books about Russia: “Lenin’s Grandchildren,” “A Bushel of Rubles” and “Russia’s Future.”

She had an insatiable curiosity that led her to travel to 135 countries during her lifetime. Weaver attained a doctorate’s degree in Russian Area Studies at Georgetown University; a bachelor’s degree in arts from The College of William and Mary and a bachelor’s of science degree in agriculture from the University of Maryland.  She even studied at Moscow University for several months.  She was a friend of the world and enjoyed meeting and getting to know people from all walks of life.

Kitty nee Katherine Dunlap was born in Frankfort, Ky. on Sept. 24, 1910. When she was 3 years old she and her parents moved to St. Petersburg, Fla. where her father wrote a daily column for the St. Petersburg Times.  Later while at William and Mary she met Henry Byrne “Hank” Weaver, whom she married.  He later became an established Washington attorney.  Eventually, in 1947, they made their home in Aldie. Mr. Weaver died in 1995. 

Her yen to travel and to learn about the world and its people began at an early age. Weaver loved adventure. That included being the first American ever to visit a small village in China and riding on the back of a donkey in Petra, Jordan at the age of 93. She recalled having dinner with a Polish woman in Uruguay after discovering they both spoke Russian. A lover of animals, Weaver communed with orangutans in Indonesia and kangaroos in Australia. She once said, “I like to travel alone rather than in a group. You don’t get cordoned off that way and you meet people.”

One she met was Winston Churchill – both were on book tours in Denver, Colo. When she asked him where he was going next he replied: “Some little town in Virginia you probably never heard of—Middleburg.” She also met Fidel Castro, knew the Kennedy family and had dinner with Eleanor Roosevelt—whom Weaver said took off her shoes while dining. 
Her world view most assuredly included the local scene. 

She was an active member of the Fauquier Garden Club, the Virginia Garden Club, the Aldi Horticultural Club, Sulgrave Club, Metropolitan Club and theChevy Chase Club. After she passed the age of 90, she attended classes in anthropology in Washington D.C. and took courses in Russian Cinema at GWU.  Her passion for literature never left her as she was in more than one local book club.  Weaver was writing her fourth book when she died: “You Don’t get to 100 Overnight.” She was a steadfast volunteer of the Hospital Ladies Board, a philanthropic organization where she received honors for her work there. 

She was one of Willard Scott’s television centenarians in September 2010.

A friend said that when Weaver was young, as part of the Middleburg Milieu, she engaged in fox hunting and loved to play tennis.

Weaver specified in her will that there would be no memorial service. But all her many friends and admirers have to do is remember her zest for life. That alone is a tribute and a memorial.

She is survived by nephew William Gray Dunlap who with his wife Patsy stayed with Weaver since 2005. 


The following comment was submitted by email by Dr. Shirley McGreal, executive director at the International Primate Protection League:

“Kitty had a boundless love for animals. In 2000 and 2002, she attended conferences at the International Primate Protection League Headquarters in Summerville, SC and befriended a baby gibbon ape. Later in 2002, then 92, she went with me to a scientific congress on primates in China and went with me visiting sites. A truly amazing woman!”

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