Virginia Dunford Rosser
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Virginia Dunford Rosser

Knoxville - Virginia Dunford Rosser, age 95, passed away on October 22, 2020, joining her beloved husband, Harold, in glory. Born April 3, 1925, she was the second of six children of the late Clarence Ray and Ethel Buck Dunford of the Armathwaite community in Fentress County, Tennessee. Known early on for her beautiful singing voice, on at least two occasions while in high school she sang for Tennessee governors at school assemblies at York Institute in Jamestown. When the family had to move to Oneida during the great depression in order to find work, she met her future husband, Harold, at Oneida High School, with whom she graduated in 1942.

While Harold joined the Army Air Corps on his way to becoming a WWII fighter pilot in the Burma/China theatre, Virginia attended Tennessee Tech University for a semester, but then took a job at NCR in Dayton, Ohio, in order to help support her family. She returned to Armathwaite and taught second grade at the local elementary school during the 1943-44 school year, before moving to Oak Ridge where she worked for a year as one of the "Atomic City Girls" until shortly before Harold's return from the war in the summer of 1945. They married on September 3, 1945, and remained in love until his death in March of 2014.

Virginia and Harold settled in Knoxville in 1949, raising their five children and where for at least 25 consecutive years there was a Rosser attending Bearden schools. While Harold settled into his career at East Tennessee Natural Gas Company and eventually authored three books, Virginia helped raise their children and settled into her own writing career, writing weekly columns for newspapers in Jamestown and Oneida, as well as articles for a weekly paper in West Knoxville. She extensively covered the Knoxville Billy Graham crusade in 1970 with articles for the News Sentinel and other papers, and had articles published in Graham's Decision magazine. Years later she also penned a Christian novel, Angelina's Triumph.

Virginia loved being a hostess, and through the years there were innumerable gatherings at the Rosser home on top of the hill on Dick Lonas Road, whether Sunday School and other groups from Central Baptist Church in Bearden (where she and Harold were long time members), Campus Crusade for Christ gatherings during its early years in Knoxville, high school and college friends of their children, or her large extended family and relatives. These gatherings were always filled with lots of food, laughter and music. Harold and Virginia led weekly worship services for many years for the senior citizens at Cagle Terrace Apartments, and thereafter Virginia led and participated in musical events for many senior citizen facilities in West Knoxville. Even until the last year of her life she helped with music programs at Windsor Gardens, where she lived for her last five years.

Besides her parents and husband, Virginia was preceded in death by her older brother, Corwin Dunford (and wife, Ruth), younger brother, Bob Dunford (and wife, Juanita), and special in-laws Linda Dunford, Allen Marcum and Dorothy Dunford. She is survived by her five children, Margaret Jones (and Johnny) of Halls, Richard Rosser (and Debbie) of Jackson, Tennessee, Bill Rosser (and Linda) of Jefferson City, Mark Rosser (and Robin) of Knoxville and Lynn Yates of Nashville, as well as 12 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her sister, Jean Marcum of Oneida, and brothers, Harold Dunford of the Honeycreek community and Gerald Dunford (and Mary) of Maryville and Florida, as well as sister-in-law, Lola Jean Rosser of Powell, along with many nieces and nephews.

Due to Covid-19 concerns there will not be an indoor funeral service, but a graveside service will be held for family and friends at Lynnhurst Cemetery on Adair Drive at 3:00 p.m. on Monday, October 26, 2020. Special thanks is extended to the staff of Windsor Gardens Assisted Living for their gracious care these last five years. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to Knox Area Rescue Ministries (where Harold was an early board member) or the Central Baptist Church of Bearden music ministry.

Berry Lynnhurst Funeral Home 2300 W. Adair Dr. Knoxville, TN 37918 (865) 689-8888. Condolences may be offered at www.berrylynnhurst.com.




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Published in Knoxville News Sentinel from Oct. 22 to Oct. 25, 2020.
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