After nearly a century of being loved and loving, of embracing life, and of doing what she could to make the world a better place, Virginia Geehan Bigelow passed away on Tuesday, April 8, 2014. Virginia ("Ginny" to many and "Nana" to her 25 grandchildren and great grandchildren) was born on May 31, 1914, in Tenino, Washington, at the home of her maternal grandparents. She spent her first nine years living in Tacoma with her sister Kay and her loving parents, Virginia Mary LaVictory Geehan and John William Geehan, a grain dealer. When she was nine, the family moved to Ellensburg where she lived until she left for Washington State University. After obtaining her bachelor degree in 1935, she became a reporter at the Spokane Press where she met John Bigelow, her husband-to-be.
Before and during the war, Virginia and John lived in various locations on the west coast. After the war, they moved to Seattle with their two young sons. Virginia settled into being a mother and homemaker but always sought a sense of purpose outside of family. While raising the boys and her two daughters, she served on the local and state boards of the League of Women Voters and was involved with the school levy campaigns and PTA. In 1966, she became Coordinator of Volunteer Services for the Seattle Public Schools. After her retirement, she and John traveled the world and spent many wonderful days at their summer home in Freeland on Whidbey Island, where she enjoyed taking long walks with her dog Bogie, swimming in the Sound, flower gardening, baking pies and long visits from grandchildren.
Virginia lived an intentional life. Unconditional love of family was central to her. She was a lifelong Democrat and passionate about helping others. She had close and enduring friendships and was an avid reader of poetry and fiction. She said the luckiest day of her life was the one when John Bigelow walked into the city room at the Spokane Press. During their sixty-nine year marriage, they showed all of us how to create a loving and nurturing home. Virginia, beloved mother, grandmother, great grandmother and friend, will be deeply missed but we take comfort knowing that the life she lived will guide us and future generations.
Virginia will be sorely missed by her four children, John (Michelle), Peter (Fran), Teresa (Eric), and Ann (Michael); her thirteen grandchildren, John (Erika), Kimberley (Steve), Hannah, Dylan, Andrina (Mark), Colleen, Ian (Cheyenne), Duncan, Sarah (Steve), Becca (Whit), Ben, Lily, and Annie; her two step-grandchildren, Molly and Sarah; and her ten great-grandchildren, Aoife, Jack, William, Lauren, Colleen, Quintin,Taylor, Liam, Anya, and Noah. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, John, her sister, Kay, and her son-in-law, Bill Robertson.
A Memorial Service will be held at the University Unitarian Church on June 7th at 3pm. Memorial donations to The Safe Crossings Foundation.
Published in The Seattle Times on Apr. 13, 2014