Service Date: 05/09/2019 at 11:00 AM
Location:Holy Cross Catholic Church
Viewing will be begin at 10:00 am Wednesday, May 8, 2019 and rosary recited at 7:00 pm at the Gaffney Funeral Home Chapel. Funeral Mass will be held at Holy Cross Catholic Church on Thursday, May 9, 2019 at 11:00 am
Virginia passed away peacefully and in the comfort of her own home surrounded by her loved ones. Virginia was born in Bristol South Dakota and came to Washington to attend nursing school. It was here she met her husband William.
Virginia is survived by her 4 daughters: Michelle Long, Betty (Scott) Nowasky, Marleen (Stacey) Hobson and Barbara (Greg) Newton. Virginia is also survived by 9 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband William E. and her son William G.
Virginia Mitchell was born to George and Ione Dahlke in Webster South Dakota on May 30th in 1926. Rural South Dakota was a world that most of us will never know. Daily life presented challenges and obstacles that few would have the constitution to overcome. Blessed with generous portions of strength, wisdom and a courageous perseverance; Mom was able to break free from the limitations of life in a small rural community and establish herself as a respected medical professional and, ever so more important to her, a full time mother of five children.
Mom never really spoke much about how frightening it must have been to board a bus and head off across the country as a young woman, or the hardships that came along with her journey from South Dakota to nursing school in Minneapolis and her internship at the Indian Hospital in Tacoma. While hardly ever mentioning her achievement as High School Valedictorian 75 years ago today on May 9th in 1944, she did make sure to credit her aunt for providing her the means to attend nursing school. Perhaps this gratitude was the seed for her life of generous service to others.
It was while working at the Indian Hospital that Virginia met the love of her life William Mitchell. Willie and his best friend Archie spotted Virginia with a couple of other nurses waiting at a bus stop. Being the gentleman he was, dad offered her a ride. Their first date was at Chucks Alabi on Portland Ave. Mom assumed dad was at least the same age as her being that they were meeting at a bar. After several months of dating she found out that dad was a couple of years younger. She used to chuckle at the fact she never dreamt he was younger than her and it did bother her for the longest time. She must have gotten over it though because after all, she did accept his proposal.
Married in 1948, Willie and Virginia built a life and family to be proud of. Working her way up to Head Nurse at Tacoma General Hospital Virginia proved her tremendous ability to care for others. Caring for others is what she has always done best. In fact, mom’s entire salary went to pay off the mortgage on the family home in an unbelievably short three years. By doing so our mother was able to shift her attention to what she found most important in life, her family.
Bill’s birth brought mom into the home full time and allowed her to focus on raising him and us four sisters; Michelle, Betty, Marleen and Barbara.
Mom took raising a family to the next level. The Mitchell kids did not have much of a chance to get away with anything. We couldn’t even play sick because our mom was the Nurse here at Holy Cross where we attended school. She was a leader, equipment manager and the camp nurse for our local Girl Scouts.
Mom was the one we went to for the heavy lifting. Seriously, if you needed something heavy moved, you asked mom. It was mom not dad that was brave enough to teach all of us kids to drive. Mom passed on her love of celebrating special occasions. Always searching for the perfect card and never forgetting to send a gift, she would spend hours shopping for the special people in her life.
Involved and ever watchful mom has been a loving constant in our lives. She made sure all of us could swim so we were safe at our beach property. Mom loved holiday gatherings. She would spend days baking cookies for Christmas and got the nickname Grandma M&M for always having a special treat on hand for each of her 9 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren.
When it came to sports, she was our biggest fan. Never missing a game, mom was often the scorekeeper and knew the rules better than the officials. Her love of sport was lifelong spending more time watching baseball, football and ice skating than anything else. Her love of youth sports never left her either, always being sure to catch the Little League World Series on TV every year.
We are not the only ones to benefit from her generosity. She was highly active in the church and community at large. Attending Mass was an important part of her life and she almost never missed a service until she became ill an was unable to attend in person. She supported the Holy Cross Women’s Club rummage sale for over 40 years donating untold hours of her time, putting on the best sale possible. Never letting her nursing skills go unused she also spent more than 40 years involved in the St. Joseph’s hospital blood pressure clinic.
Mom’s most noble act was to be by her husband’s side during his final four years of life. Not fully satisfied with the nursing care he was receiving she spent virtually every waking and many uncomfortable hours sleeping by his side. An inspiring testament to the sanctity of their union and an unparalleled display of selfless love and dedication. The years that have passed have only been a temporary separation for mom and dad and it is some consolation to our loss today to know that they were together once again on April 30th to celebrate 71 years of marriage.
It is our fondest wish that she had made good on her threat to live to be one hundred. Seven more years would have been great to have before we said our goodbye’s.
Virginia Mitchell leaves us with a legacy of quiet greatness. She never made herself the center of attention, but at the same time it was always about her. She was the person you could talk to about anything. Never judgmental, always thoughtful. When she spoke people would pause and listen, naturally recognizing and respecting the wisdom that comes from the mind of a woman whose life was truly well lived.
We will all miss our dear mother; The selfless, hard-working, passionate figure of strength who never waned in her support or love for her family, and who soldiered on especially during the toughest times when she lost her husband and her only son.
But most of all we will miss her great big beautiful smile.
Viewing will be begin at 10:00 am Wednesday, May 8, 2019 and rosary recited at 7:00 pm at the Gaffney Funeral Home Chapel. Funeral Mass will be celebrated Thursday May, 9, 2019, 11:00 am at Holy Cross Catholic Church. Interment at Calvary Cemetery. Arrangements by Gaffney Funeral Home.