Virginia M. Van Dongen (Ginny)

Virginia M. Van Dongen (Ginny) - Webster, NY - Rochester Cremation

Webster, NY : Ginny was born in Pittsburgh, PA, on February 7, 1923 and passed away on April 6, 2020 at the age of 97.  She is predeceased by Charles (Chuck), her husband of 58 years, as well as her parents, brothers and sisters. She is survived by eight children: Marc (Marilyn), Palmer, AK; Deborah (Thomas) Kadlubowski, Hilton, NY; Laurel (David) Weeks, Klamath Falls, OR; Craig (Janice), Barrington, RI; Beth (Carlos) Blanco, Tuxedo Park, NY; Paul (Partner Rosa), Churchville, NY; Philip (Ginny), Merry Hill, NC; and Heidi, Raymond, ME. She has seventeen grandchildren: Eric and Kara Van Dongen, Alaina (Mark) Olivieri, Ryan (Jenn) Kadlubowski, Eliot (Olga) Weeks, Colin Weeks, Dan (Marianne) Van Dongen, Monica (Tim) Riegert, Marisa and Nicolas Blanco, Rachel, Gregory and Kevin Van Dongen, Matthew and Kimberly Van Dongen, and Evan and Austin Bergeron; and twelve great-grandchildren: Luca, Julian, Janina, Amalia and Stella Olivieri, Heidi and Alexis Lara, Jacob and Justin Danny Weeks, Jameson and Maxwell Riegert and Madeline Kadlubowski.

During WWII, Ginny enlisted in the United States Coast Guard Women’s Reserve, known as the SPARS, attended Radio School in Atlantic City, NJ for 5 months, and was then sent to Port Angeles, Washington. As a radioman third class, she used teletype and Morse Code to relay messages to aircraft and ships in the vicinity. In May of 2017 she and daughter Beth flew from Rochester to Washington, DC, on an Honor Flight for Veterans.

Ginny’s dream of going to college finally came about when she was sixty years old. Attending on a part time basis, in 1990 she completed her studies at Brockport College in five years and graduated Magna Cum Laude with two bachelor degrees, one in Earth Science and the other in Liberal Arts. She was proud of that accomplishment, as well as her perfect attendance record!

She loved to travel and visited China, Australia, Africa, Europe, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Greece, Patagonia, the upper Amazon, and the Galapagos Islands, among others. She loved the water, boating and fishing, and the family spent many summers on vacation on a number of lakes in Canada.

The family grew up in Greece, New York, in a ranch home that Chuck built. After raising their family and traveling, she and Chuck decided to live in the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountain area. They moved to Connestee Falls, NC, eventually building a lovely home in Brevard, NC. Chuck passed away in May of 2004, and when Ginny developed medical issues, she decided to move back to Rochester. In October 2014, she settled into a two-bedroom apartment on the campus of St. Ann’s Community at Cherry Ridge in Webster. She remained at St. Ann’s until her death on April 6th.

A special thank you to the staff at Cherry Ridge for their compassionate care the last few months of her life.

Due to the current situation, a service to celebrate her life will be delayed. In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution in her memory to St. Ann’s Star Program, 1500 Portland Avenue, Rochester, NY 14621, or the Alzheimer’s Association, Rochester and Finger Lakes Region, 435 E. Henrietta Road, Rochester, NY 14620.

Interment will take place in Brevard, NC, at the convenience of the family.

5 Condolences

  1. Denise Dukelow Baker on May 28, 2020 at 4:20 pm

    I am so very sorry to hear of the passing of your mom. Your mom was a wonderful lady and I have thought of her fondly over the many years since our days as neighbors in Greece. Our paths have crossed so many times in my travels through Brevard NC and visits to relatives at Cherry Ridge, and I wished that we could have connected.

  2. Gary Bauch on May 30, 2020 at 2:23 pm

    I’m sorry to hear about your loss. Every time I drive down Mill Rd. I think about those bowling team parties and clam bakes! Ginny and Chuck have a special place in my heart. They were always so gracious and kind. May you find peace in your grief. You are in my prayers.

  3. Ann Wegman on June 8, 2020 at 10:04 am

    What a gal! When I first met Ginny it was in a birding class that was suppose to teach us about all the birds in the area. Ginny and I were the only ones that could not locate the birds in the trees. We bumped into each other while trying to adjust our binoculars and point them in the direction that the elusive bird was. From that day on, it was a very rich and rewarding friendship. What a gal; what a friend. Her life brimmed over with family, church, friends and amazing experiences. I am glad that she enriched my world.
    Thank you Ginny
    Ann Wegman

  4. Susan Lord-Wetherbee on June 16, 2020 at 8:24 am

    Hello, How very blessed you all are to have had your Mom for all these years. Ginny and my mom, Grace Walsh Lord, now 96 yrs old, (Buffalo, NY) are first cousins. As each moved on with their busy life, age gradually hindered their correspondence. Along with my parents, we brought my grandparents, Arthur and Mary Walsh for a Rochester visit so very many years ago. I met you mother at that time. Every now and then during one of our window visits at the nursing home where my mother now lives, she will bring up a fond memory, most recently she had thoughts of your mother, I told her I would check. She smiled and said “boy she had a lot of kids”. Peace to you all.

  5. Dan and Marianne Van Dongen on August 3, 2020 at 2:04 am

    I have fond memories of my Grandmother (Grandma Van) always a great cook, especially her famous desserts (Molasses cookies and Chocolate pie) Card playing (mexican train, Eukre skip bo and phase 10) Always getting us kids to “get outside” and “stop watching the boob tube” Very kind heart under her thick skin though. We will miss her greatly and my wife and I were blessed to see her before she passed. We thank you for the cremation memorial and look forward to celebrating her next year (God willing)

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