Lavinia Lyles Peltosalo, born November 25, 1921 in Winnsboro, SC, died Monday, September 7, 2020. Lavinia, affectionately called Vin by those who knew and loved her, was the daughter of James Morris and Louise Gantt Lyles. She was one of four siblings.
Vin was educated at Mt. Zion Institute in Winnsboro and graduated from the University of SC in 1942. To the amazement of her family and classmates, she promptly joined the U.S. Marine Corps and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Women’s Reserves. Stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC, she served as a Drill Instructor from 1943 to 1946. During this time, her drill squad was officially honored as the premier drill unit at Camp Lejeune.
Following her Marine Corps duty, Vin married Edwin Grenville Seibels and lived in Columbia for many years, nurturing their three children, Lavinia, Robert, and Grenville.
In 1964 she married Arthur Peltosalo of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Art also brought three children into the marriage: Eric, Andrea, and Charles. He was a senior executive with General Electric Company and for the next 30 years, Art and Vin lived in many locations, including Fitchburg, MA; New York City; Paris, France; and finally, Gibson Island, MD. After Art retired from GE the two travelled the world for more than 20 years, regularly including one or more of the children and their families on the excursions. They particularly loved Provence in southern France and St. Barthelemy’s Island in the Caribbean. Despite having traveled to these exotic and foreign shores, Vin and Art were nowhere happier than at Vin’s ancestral farm, “Vinsburrow,” in Fairfield County, SC.
Here Vin and Art embraced the country life, hosting oyster roasts as soon as the first “R month” arrived, Thanksgiving feasts at the barn in the meadow, and old-fashioned picnics at Skull Hole Creek on an adjacent piece of the old Lyles farm. Vin was an avid gardener and often wandered the woodlands searching for bloodroot, hepatica and other native plants. She loved nothing more than reading in the hammock on the porch and watching birds at the nearby feeder.
A life-long Episcopalian, she served on the altar guild at Saint Christopher’s by the Sea in Gibson Island and in the choir at Saint John’s in Winnsboro. She is survived by her children Lavinia Dowling (Roderick A.), Robert (Eugenia), Grenville (Bettie Anna), five grandchildren, six great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
Because of the dangers of Covid 19, a memorial service will be held in the future.
Memorials may be made to St. John’s Episcopal Church, 301 West Liberty Street, Winnsboro, SC 29180-1423.
Pope Funeral Home is serving the Peltosalo family.
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