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Virginia Herrmann

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Virginia Herrmann
Virginia Marie VanDreal Herrmann was born in Harvey, Illinois, on 31 July 1941 and was raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Virginia was the youngest of four children born to Dutch immigrants Harry and Martina Kapteyn Van Dreal. She attended Calvin College and Grand Rapids Junior College and met her husband William (Bob) R. Herrmann at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI. They were married on September 17, 1966, in San Diego, CA. She and Bob, an aeronautical engineer, lived in Schenectady, NY; Marietta, GA; San Diego, CA; Fort Worth, TX; and Hopatcong, NJ, before settling with their three children in Rome, NY, in 1974. An avid reader and writer, it was in New Jersey that Virginia began her career in journalism, working as a reporter for the News-Leader in Netcong. She also wrote a personal opinion column for the weekly newspaper. In June 1988, the month her youngest child graduated from high school, she began work as a reporter for the Rome Daily Sentinel. A year and a half later, she became the newspaper's Librarian and Editor of the Family Living Page, before retiring in 1997. Volunteering her time and talents were always important to her and her contributions to the community were many. Virginia was active in several organizations including serving terms on the board of the Rome Salvation Army from 1983 to 1988; member of the Board of Managers of the Rome Home from 1984 to 1988; a member of Rome Rotary and the Wednesday Morning Club where she served as President. An enthusiastic feminist, Virginia did everything she could to empower women, individually and collectively, to be the best they could be. She served as a victim's advocate for Rape Crisis Services from 1977 through 1981, and as coordinator of the agency for three years. From May 1984 to May 1987, she was a member of the Board of Directors of the Utica YWCA, which became the parent agency of Rape Crisis Services. Many people regarded her as a giver of wise counsel and sage advice. Virginia had a passion for politics. She was a member of the Rome Republican Party, serving as second ward chair from 1982 through 1986. In 1978, she became a special officer at the Oneida County Sherriff's Department, working part-time doing prisoner transport and corrections officer duty at the Female Unit of the Oneida County Jail. She also served on the Jail Advisory Board as a representative of Legislative Majority Leader Robert Julian. Virginias parents instilled in her a strong faith in God. Since she was young she has been interested in spirituality, especially as the gifts of the spirit inspire individual growth. She participated in several Bible and spiritual study groups in the various cities she lived in. She was particularly involved in the group which fosters the work of Edgar Cayce, the Association for Research and Enlightenment. She has been a member of the Trinity United Church of Christ since 1978, serving there as a Sunday school teacher, choir member, and President of the church council. In her last several years, Virginia had endured Crohn's disease, bladder and lung cancer. Her extraordinary attitude through every up and down has been an amazing testament of her faith. Many times after receiving discouraging results, she would simply lift up her hands, smile, and peacefully say "It is what it is". She expounded gratitude for the love and support of her family and friends, especially for her husband who was her #1 caregiver every step of the way. Surviving along with her beloved husband are a daughter and son-in-law, Andrea and Scott Gwilt, Whitesboro; a son and daughter-in-law, Robert and Crystal (Cameron) Herrmann, Groton, MA; and a son, Peter, of Rome. Virginia is also survived by her five grandchildren, Alexandria and Kaitlynn Belmont and Evangeline Gwilt, Whitesboro, and Liam and Max Herrmann, Groton, MA. Also surviving are her brother and two sisters, Paul and Mary (Gitchel) Van Dreal, Chuckey, TX, Janet Watson, Johnson City, TN, and Barbara DeWitt, Grand Rapids, MI, along with many nieces and nephews. Plus, special family friends, Jerry and Frank Gulla. Funeral services will be held on Saturday at 11 AM at Trinity United Church of Christ, 215 West Court St., Rome. Arrangements by Strong and Burns Funeral Home, 401 N. George St., Rome. In her cherished memory, please consider making a contribution in lieu of flowers to the YWCA Domestic Violence and Rape Programs, 1000 Cornelia Street, Utica, NY 13501 or Hospice and Palliative Care, Inc., 4277 Middle Settlement Rd., New Hartford, NY 13413.
Published in The Observer-Dispatch on Mar. 20, 2013
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