March 12, 1921 to June 17, 2011
Virginia Clark Vandell passed away June 17, 2011, of congestive heart failure, at Anna Maria Creekside in Medford, Ore. She was 90.
She was born and reared in Concord, Neb., and earned her undergraduate degree from Wayne State College in 1943, majoring in home economics with minors in English and chemistry.
Before starting her teaching career, Virginia moved with a girlfriend to Chicago, and worked as a customer service representative for United Airlines from 1943 to 1945. Commercial air travel was a luxury in those days, and she met many celebrities, including Bob Hope.
In 1945, Virginia began her teaching career in Primghar, Iowa, and for over 30 years taught in the Iowa towns of Mallard, Emmetsburg and Clarion.
While a young teacher in Primghar, the vivacious redhead met a dashing former college hockey star and naval lieutenant, Clement G. Vandell, then working with the agricultural extension service. Virginia and Clem wed in April 1949, in Concord. They often laughed about how their early courtship survived her inadvertently sending him to the wrong town many miles from the school football game where she awaited him in growing irritation.
The delight of Virginia's life was her sons, Clark, Scott and Dan, a brood born in a space of 30 months. She was best friend and partner with her husband, who swept the family into numerous outdoor activities such as camping, gardening, and fishing. During the family's annual pilgrimage to Lake of the Woods in northern Minnesota, Virginia often turned an apparent snag into the largest walleye of the trip.
After retiring in 1980, Virginia and Clem traveled widely, often through the Elderhostel program. They ventured to Africa, and into China when that country was opening up. The former teacher was thrilled to be invited to see a school, and was amazed by her celebrity treatment as the children performed for her and showed her their work. They in turn were fascinated by her still naturally bright red hair.
Clem and Virginia moved to the Rogue Valley in 1988, to be closer to son, Dan, and his young family. While there, they both became master gardeners, and Virginia pursued her lifelong love of bridge, reading groups and coffee conversations among her many new friends.
Virginia's beloved Clem died of cancer in 1991.
She is survived by her three sons, Clark (Nancy) Vandell, of San Ramon, Calif., Scott (Pat) Vandell, of Laurel, Mont., and Dan (Carol) Vandell, of Medford, Ore.; her three grandchildren, Dan's daughter, Gretta, and son, Russell, and Clark's son, Perry; her brother, Charles (Joanne) Clark, of Cherokee, Iowa; and several nieces and nephews.
A family memorial service is planned at a later date. Memorial contributions can be made to Asante Hospice, 2960 Doctors Park Drive, Medford, OR 97504. For checks, in the memo area enter Virginia Vandell memorial and include a return address with the contribution.