Virginia Gay Hood was born in Los Angeles to parents George and Doris Bly in September of 1942. Most of her growing up years were spent on a ranch in the San Fernando Valley.
At a very young age, her love of animals – especially horses – was evident, and her parents encouraged her natural talent for riding. She became proficient in all areas of horsemanship, mentoring her sister Georgia in riding, as well. Gay had an amazing talent at jumping and was also skilled at western and gymkhana. Gay also developed musical talents at a young age, learning accordion, piano, and singing.
Her career was in the Insurance and accounting field, but her lifelong passion was horses. In her twenties, her riding skills, paired with her sparkling personality, facilitated a membership in the Screen Actors Guild. This allowed her to work as a body double and perform some riding and stunt work for the movies on her multi-talented horse, Slick Pebble, affectionally known as Moose, whom she enjoyed riding for many years.
She moved to Bakersfield, California, where she later met and married Adolph Hood in 1971. Together, they raised his daughters, Tina and Terry. Later, Gay taught Tina’s daughters to ride and appreciate the ranch life. She passed on the love of horses and animals to them, helping her granddaughters attend the International POA show in Oklahoma City and win a world championship under her coaching.
Gay spent several years traveling to horse shows with the girls, as she had also done years before with her niece, Stacy. Gay became active in many leadership roles in the Calif. Pony of Americas’ Association and also served as a 4-H horse leader. Gay and Adolph’s mutual love of outdoor sports, especially trail riding, fishing and hunting, drew them to Jerome, Idaho, where they bought a small ranch to continue raising and enjoying their horses, mules, dogs, cats, even adding cattle, sheep and goats. Gay was active in the Back-Country Horsemen of Idaho Association, and truly lived the Idaho outdoor life with Adolph and family for 25 years.
Adolph preceded her in death in 2016, after 45 years of marriage. In recent years, Gay revived her love of music, by learning to play the mandolin, dancing and singing with the local musical group, Butcher Shop Jam Group, as well as joining the Elks Club, where she donated her career skills and her time for events in support of the community.
She is survived by her sister, Georgia (Bly) Peterman; daughters, Terry (Glynn) Norris and Tina (Hood) Lowder; nieces, Stacy Mendenhall, Paige Johnson and Rebekah Peterman; and many grandchildren and great grandchildren; as well as many, many dear friends who loved her beautiful smile, love of life, and always sassy but sweet nature.
Funeral service will be held at 11:00 am, Thursday, May 23, 2019 at Farnsworth Mortuary, 1343 S Lincoln Ave, Jerome, with a viewing beginning at 10:00am. She will be laid to rest next to Adolph at Hillcrest Memorial Park, Bakersfield, California.
Memories and condolences may be shared with the family on Gay’s memorial webpage at www.farnsworthmortuary.com.