VIRGINIA ANN WEHNER, 84, of Charleston and formerly of Chester, West Virginia, died July 25th, 2020, at Hubbard House West Hospice in South Charleston, of complications related to Alzheimer's disease.
A daughter of Stanley Stoy and Pauline (Kurish) Stoy, Virginia was born on November 10, 1935, at her family's home in Middle Run, West Virginia. Virginia's parents emigrated from Poland, and she grew up in a Polish speaking household as the youngest of eight siblings. Virginia attended school in nearby Chester, where she met her husband Thomas, when both were in first grade. Tom and Virginia were married for over 50 years and raised two children.
Virginia received a B.A. in education from Steubenville College, and later completed an M.A. from Dayton University, taking night classes while teaching and raising a family. Virginia was an elementary school teacher for over 30 years. Early in her career she served as principal and lead teacher in a one room schoolhouse in Bull Run, West Virginia. Subsequently, she taught first and second grade in East Liverpool, Ohio, until her retirement. Virginia was a gifted and creative instructor. Her students made giant papier mache dinosaurs and learned to read amidst a jungle of trees, vines, and their own drawings of toucans and monkeys. She wrote grants to enable her 'kids," many from challenged backgrounds, to attend plays, zoos, and museums, and she developed a curriculum based on early research into multiple learning styles.
Virginia had a lifelong love for the visual arts. She taught decorative art in Chester for several years, and in retirement she studied and pursued painting. She was invited to exhibit in regional art shows and galleries, including two one-woman shows: an abstract series centered on her experiences as a cancer survivor, and a set of portraits of strong older women.
Virginia was a lifelong member of the parish of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Chester and was active in parish life. Since relocating to Charleston in 2015, she was warmly welcomed at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in South Charleston, where she attended as her health permitted.
Virginia's greatest joy was her family, and her strength and courage grounded her children's lives. While she never moved far from where from she was born, she avidly encouraged her children to travel in pursuit of education, opportunities, and experiences. She shared her love of literature, theater, music, and art with her offspring, and later on with her grandson, Thomas. She leaves behind friends. colleagues, fellow artists, and former students in Chester and East Liverpool Ohio, and beloved staff and residents at the Charleston Gardens retirement community.
Virginia is survived by her children, Elizabeth Wehner and her husband, Ken Ward Jr. and their son Thomas, of Charleston, and Patrick Wehner and his wife, Dana Walker, of Philadelphia. During her five years in Charleston, Virginia loved seeing Thomas, reading with him, and following his adventures.
Virginia is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great nephews. She stayed especially close through her life with her nieces, Susie and Christine. In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by her five older brothers, Thomas, Andrew, Carl, John, and Stanley Stoy, and her two sisters, Rose Biela and Genevieve Franczek.
Virginia's family would like to thank Pam, Carol, Letari and the other staff at Hubbard House West Hospice, for their kindness during Virginia's peaceful final days. Father Charles, Father John, and the staff at Blessed Sacrament are also appreciated for their compassion and assistance. Additionally, the family thanks Sam and his staff at Fruth Pharmacy, and the Brookdale Charleston Gardens' staff who provided loving, supportive care to Virginia during her time there. In particular, the family thanks Katie for facilitating weekly video calls during suspended in-person visits, Kim for her friendship and skilled nursing care, Carol and Betty, Virginia's wonderful and patient table mates, and Dinace, Virginia's much loved resident aide.
A memorial Mass for Virginia, limited to immediate family, will be held at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in South Charleston on the evening of Monday, August the 3rd. Virginia will be buried with her husband Tom at the Columbiana County Memorial Gardens in East Liverpool, Ohio, at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, and in accordance with Virginia's wishes, the family would request donations to Hospice or a charity of the donor's choice, or memorial Masses in Virginia's honor.
Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.hardingfamilygroup.com.
Harding Family Group is honored to be serving the Wehner family.