Obituary: Virginia Lee (Lambert) Caraway

Virginia Lee (Lambert) Caraway, RN BSN PhN CDDN CADE

ONE OF THE THOUSAND POINTS OF LIGHT. America was fortunate to have the spirit and light that Virginia brought to every task she loved. When President Bush talked about “Points of Light,” he was referring to Virginia. May her memory always be a blessing. – Engels family.

Virginia Lee (Lambert) Caraway 1939-2018

Virginia Lee (Lambert) Caraway

A Memorial Service for Virginia Lee (Lambert) Caraway, formerly of Woodlake, Calif., will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, June 15 at Woodlake Presbyterian Church, to celebrate her life.

Born on Oct. 26, 1939 in Exeter, Calif. to Lucile and William (Bill) Lambert, Virginia attended school at Elderwood Elementary and Woodlake Union High School. She went on to attended College of the Sequoias and Fresno State where she received her Bachelor of Nursing Degree with credits toward her master’s degree at Andrews University.

She worked at Porterville State Developmental Hospital as the Training Officer for over 2,200 personnel, nursing home charge nurse, taught nursing to state and local colleges including DD/ID/MH Dual Diagnosed Psych Tech College level classes. 

When she retired she moved with her husband to Florida where she volunteered her time as Parish Nurse and Food Bank with the Methodist Church in Yulee, Fla., on the Board of Directors of local County Mental Health Department and as a Nursing Administrator at Barnabas Crisis Health Center, Amelia Island, Fla. She was also a Court Certified Victim Witness Advocate on Domestic Violence and founding member of Board of Directors of Florida’s only non-profit for Families of Children with Disabilities. 

She was a co-States Coordinator for California and Florida with VOR, a national non-profit for the DD/ID/MH Dual Diagnosis as well as a delegate to Congress. As a result of she was the International Ambassador of the National Disability Party and the Communications Coordinating Committee of the United Nations (CCCUN) Mental Health Panel. She was voted as a panelist and organizer to the NGO Communications CCCUN of Women Gender Issues on Genital Mutilation, where her presentation received a standing ovation; a panelist to the Disability Convention, (CPRD), Governors appointee to California’s Olmstead Committee, Calif.; and Forensic Mental Health Association and past co-vice president of the California Association of State Hospitals (CASH/PCR). She was one of only 500 nurses nationwide with Certification in Developmental Disabilities Nursing (CDDN) (CADE), which is often used for giving lectures on care for indigenous children. 

During her 12 years as International Ambassadorship of the NDP to the United Nations General Assembly, she was an original panelist and organizer on a treaty signed by 172 nations. She felt one of her greatest failures in life was not being able to encourage enough of the US Senate to ratify protocols for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) Platform based on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

One of her proudest accomplishments was putting her psychiatric technician teaching credentials to use as a training officer for the very first forensic facility where those with disabilities were sent for rehabilitation instead of a mainstream prison due to their vulnerabilities. With the motto REHABILITATION not INCARCERATION, Virginia, along with her husband who was a forensic social worker, was able to reduce the Recidivism Rate to a paltry 9% in just 12 years, while mainstream prisons rates were hovering around 55%. Even at 9%, her team felt there was great room for improvement. 

Virginia is survived by her husband Edward A. Carraway; daughters Sonja Carraway Beebe, Kim Carraway McKinnon and husband Dan McKinnon, and Christina Lane Carraway Hickey; sons, Richard Carraway, Martin Carraway and wife Tammy Blaze; four granddaughters, four grandsons, a great granddaughter and a great grandson. She is survived by two brothers, William (Bill) and John Lambert; four sisters, Patricia Reese, Margaret Afonso, Martha Nelson and Cynthia Hewlett and their spouses; as well as nine nephews and three nieces.

In lieu of flower please make donations to, her passion, your local Food Bank Agency. Arrangements by Smith Family Chapel in Exeter, Calif. Condolences may be made at

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