Family Login:

Virginia Porter Powell Strong
  • Community Hospice of Schenectady
    1411 Union Street
    Schenectady, NY 12308
  • Sally Ride Science
    9191 Towne Center Dr., Suite L 101
    San Diego, CA 92122

Share This Obituary
Message from the Family

Thank you for your support during this difficult time. Please enhance this tribute to Virginia by adding your memories and photos.

Arrangements made by

Jones Funeral Home Inc

1503 Union Street
Schenectady, NY 12309
Get Directions

Profile of Jones Funeral Home Inc

View Phone Number
View Fax Number
Email Us

Send Flowers
 Send Flowers


Memories & Candles

“We lived across the street from the Powells in Orchard Park from 1962 until 1965. Beth and I were classmates at the Craig School and Van Antwerp...Read More »
1 of 6 | Posted by: Don Treat - Kingston, NY

“Dear Nancy and Family,At age 12 my family moved to Niskayuna and began attending the Schenectady Friends Quaker Meeting, of which Virginia was a...Read More »
2 of 6 | Posted by: Kaija Johnson - Burlington, VT

“Dear Nancy and Family: Very sorry to hear about your mom's passing. I didn't know her, so to speak, but we both worked at Hannaford. I grew to...Read More »
3 of 6 | Posted by: Barbara Grant - Schenectady, NY

“In memory of a very strong and oh so kind woman who will be forever remembered fondly. You could be assured of enlightening conversations with every...Read More »
4 of 6 | Posted by: Pegge Strella - Northport, NY

“I was privileged to have seen Mom several to,ea when she was visiting Tracy and Tony. What a lady! She was warm, smart, funny ... And when I think...Read More »
5 of 6 | Posted by: Jan James - Mesa, AZ

“WHAT AN INSPIRATION YOU WERE TO ME AND MANY OTHERS AT NISKAYUNA HIGH SCHOOL. I GIVE THANKS TO GOD FOR YOUR LIFE. MAY HE COMFORT YOUR FAMILY. ”
6 of 6 | Posted by: Pete Sherman - FORT MYERS, FL


Niskayuna- Virginia Porter Powell Strong, age 91, of Niskayuna, NY died peacefully at home surrounded by her family on Tuesdsay, September 11, 2012.

Virginia was born in Duquesne, PA on November 9, 1920 to William and Matilda Porter. After graduating from Wilkinsburg High School, she became an early pioneer for women in the sciences, when she was one of the first women to study chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh, graduating with a BS in chemistry in 1942 as valedictorian of her class. Her love of chemistry and the sciences was an integral part of her life as a scientist, teacher, department chair, mentor and adjunct professor.

After graduation, she married Roger Sherman Powell and they moved to Cambridge MA where she was hired at 22 by MIT's Radiation Lab as one of only a few female staff scientists. She worked on crystal rectifiers and the development of radar, contributing greatly to the war effort in World War II.

Following the arrival of her three children, Virginia returned to college to earn her Masters Degree in teaching from Albany State Teachers College (now University at Albany). Virginia then embarked on a 35 year teaching career in chemistry, biology and physics at Niskayuna High School and Montgomery County Maryland, and finishing her career mentoring future science teachers at Union College.

Additionally, she was a published author of six science text books, written in a programmed learning instruction style that she developed years before the advent of computer programming. She was also a 70 year member of Delta Zeta Sorority that encourages the enrichment of lives through service to others and the world.

Virginia was predeceased by her parents, spouses Roger S Powell and Herbert M Strong, her son William G Powell, and step-sons Steven and G Kirk Strong.

She is survived by her sister, Edythe Duzy of Rock Hill SC, daughters Nancy (Kenneth) Rimany of Niskayuna NY, Beth (Tony) Soto of Chandler AZ, "other daughter" Dede Cummings Andersen of Niskayuna NY, daughter-in-laws Trisha Strong of Anacortes WA and Sohny Strong of Lahaina Maui HI, four grandchildren, Kristen (Keith) Swaney of Niskayuna, Jessica (Jim) Rowe of Glenville NY, Megan (Shane) Cemore of Anacortes WA and Derek Strong of Virginia, plus three great-grandchildren Peregrine and Elanor and her beloved youngest great-grandchild Colin Joseph Rowe who brought her such great joy and many smiles in her last year.

Her family would like to thank Dr Peter Rienzi for his compassionate care over the last 30 years and to Community Hospice of Schenectady for the many ways they cared for Mom and supported us. A special thanks goes to Francine, Lisa, Sue, Kristen and Chris.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend a memorial service to celebrate her Life that has been planned for 2 PM on Saturday at First Reformed Church, 8 North Church St, Schenectady, NY.

Memorial contributions may be made to Community Hospice of Schenectady, 1411 Union St, Schenectady NY 12308, or Sally Ride Science, 9191 Towne Center Dr, Suite L101, San Diego, CA 92122.

"I follow the Light...dost Thou?"