ANDERSON _ Virnetta 1920 - 2006 Our most dearly beloved Virnetta Anderson passed away on Saturday, February 11, 2006 surrounded by a loving circle of family and friends at the age of 85 years. Born Virnetta Nelson in Monticello, AR, on October 29, 1920. She received her public school education in Hot Springs, AR, and later attended A.M. and N. College in Pine Bluff, AR, and the Metropolitan School of Business in Los Angeles, CA. Virnetta's health faded in recent years but her spirit never did. She always remained a warm and loving woman of faith - full of wit and character: honourable, elegant and stylish. Her social and oratorical skills bore a distinct stamp of southern charm. She was a woman of action - known for committing time and providing leadership to get things done. "V", as many old friends called her, was celebrated in the community for her many years as a tireless and enthusiastic volunteer, leader, and colourful contributor to her adopted city. Though her roots were in the U.S., she came to love the foothills of Alberta. Virnetta came to Calgary in 1952. She was unique as a woman of colour. Undaunted, she quickly became involved in the type of church and community service that would be her hallmark for nearly four decades - and establish her as a role model for men and women of all races. She became President of the Calgary Presbyterial, United Church Women; was a member of the executive of the Alberta United Church Women; and a Lay Commissioner to the United Church of Canada's General Council (1968 to 1970). Virnetta also was a member of the Mount Royal College Ladies Auxiliary; served as the President of Meals on Wheels (1971 to 1974); served on the Board of the City Core Senior Citizen Centre and Calgary Welcome and Recreation Centre; sat on the Board of the United Way (1974 to 1978); the boards of Trinity Lodge, Aunts at Large, Calgary Metropolitan Foundation, Calgary Tourist and Convention Association, and the Calgary Centre for the Performing Arts (1975 to 1980). She has been both a board member and Chairman of the Calgary Committee for the Civic Centre, Chairman of the Calgary Family Services Bureau, and a member of Mayor Klein's Advisory Committee. Virnetta was elected to City Council in October 1974 and served until October of 1977. After Civic politics, Virnetta undertook a career in real estate and served as President of the Calgary Seniors Showcase Society. She also continued an active association with the United Way of Calgary. Virnetta was named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Calgary Rotary Club in 1988. In 1992 she was a nominee for the YWCA Women of Distinction Lifetime Achievement Award - their first such award in this category, as well as the Canada 125 Commemorative Medal. In later years she began to take time for herself, enjoying outdoor recreation at her vacation trailer in parks around Okotoks and Sundre and intimate moments with friends and family around home. Virnetta is survived by her sons, Barry, John and Vaughn Anderson; her former husband Calgary football great Ezzrett Sugarfoot Anderson; granddaughters, Camille, Desta, Sonja, Jacqui and Nikki; her loving dog Shiloh; and a large circle of friends and family who never tired of hearing her stories nor ceased benefiting from her liberally dispensed wisdom. Virnetta was predeceased by her parents, Samuel David Nelson and Amanda Nelson; and her brother John. Funeral Services will be held at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY'S Park Memorial Chapel (5008 Elbow Drive S.W.) today, February 17, 2006 at 2:30 p.m. Forward condolences through www.mcinnisandholloway.com . Her latest illness came on suddenly and the family would like to express their thanks to the caring staff at the Rockyview General Hospital for making a valiant effort to save her; the staff at the Foothills Medical Centre, Dr. Terry Groves, Dr. Peter de Vos Meiring, Calgary Health Region Home Care Services, Comcare Health Services, Britannia Pharmacy, and many others for helping her through many years of medical challenges. In living memory of Virnetta Anderson, who so enjoyed the outdoors, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Park Memorial Chapel, 5008 ELBOW DRIVE S.W. Telephone: 403-243-8200.
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Published in The Calgary Herald from Feb. 14 to Feb. 17, 2006