Giles, Mary Wilson Burnette
Mary Wilson Burnette Giles, 78, died Saturday, August 27, 2011 at her home in Airport Acres, in Blacksburg, under the excellent care of her physicians, the Lewis-Gale Hospital-Montgomery staff, Good Samaritan Hospice, and Deborah Corbit and the Caregivers for the Heart of Virginia. She was helped many times by the Blacksburg Volunteer Rescue Squad. Mary had been ill, but in high spirits for many years. She was preceded in death by her parents, Wilbert Burnette and Mary Thigpen Burnette, of Lynchburg. She is survived by her husband, Robert H. Giles Jr.; and daughters, Anne Giles Clelland, of Blacksburg and Margaret G. Galecki, of Radford; brother, W. Gaines Burnette and sister-in-law Peggy Burnette, of Atlanta, Ga. She has three grandchildren, Alan, Benjamin and Mary Wiley; and three stepgrandchildren, Jim, Caroline, and Catherine Galecki, all of Radford. Late in life she gave up explaining her double first name and became known as Mary. She graduated from E.C. Glass High School, Lynchburg, in 1951. There, she had been involved with school drama, honor societies, and was editor of “The Critic,” the literary journal. She graduated from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in 1955 with a double major in Latin and music and performed a graduate piano recital there. She gained teachers’ credentials in Farmville and taught Latin and math in Fieldale and mathematics at Radford High School. During her husband’s officer’s training at Ft. Benning, Ga., Mary lived and parented daughter Anne in Covington, then the family moved to Columbus, Ohio, where Margaret was born. There she taught reading and English at an inner-city church youth program. After her husband completed Ph. D. field studies near Dover, Ohio, the family then went to the University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho for four years. They then moved to Blacksburg. Mary Giles was an excellent homemaker and parent, skilled at sewing, embroidery and cross stitch, and winner of a local gardening award. After the children were mature, she worked with Mrs. Lois W. Patterson in the 1967 Work Incentive Program (WIN, within Title IV of the Social Security Act). Sensing her need to continue productively in that field, she gained a Master of Education degree at Virginia Tech with a thesis topic of “The Relationship Between Level of Anomie and Selected Variables Associated with Low Socioeconomic Status” (1976). Later (1979) she gained a Ph.D. degree in Educational Research and Evaluation at Virginia Tech, working with Drs. L. H. Cross, R.B. Frary, T.M. Sherman, L.M. Wolfle, and W.R. Pirie: “An Investigation of the Relationships of Test Characteristics and Personality Variables to Partial Information in Multiple-Choice Test Scores.” Upon completing her Ph.D., she taught several graduate computer-use classes and an under-graduate psychology of education class at Virginia Tech. She taught herself several computer languages and developed computer programs and databases for the College of Education and other offices at Virginia Tech. For many years she edited papers for faculty members, did statistical analyses and interpretations of enrollments and student and applicant success in many categories of interest to the Provost’s office, administrators, project leaders, admission strategists, and conference attendees at Tech. Since dental care for those in need was a special concern of Mary Giles, in lieu of flowers, those interested are invited to make a donation to the Dental Program of the Free Clinic of the New River Valley, 215 Roanoke Street, Christiansburg, 24073, 540-382-3391, www.nrvfreeclinic.org. There will only be a visitation. The Visitation for friends and family will be Tuesday, August 30, 2011 from 5 to 7 p.m. at McCoy Funeral Home Blacksburg.