Virgina June Kessner
Jun 13, 1920 – Dec 1, 2017
Virginia June Kessner, age 97, was welcomed into the arms of her Lord and Savior on December 1, 2017, at home in Seattle, WA. During her nearly 100 years on this earth, she amazed us all with her limitless energy, wit, and fierce appetite for life.
Virginia was born June 13, 1920 in Kent, WA to Edward and Mary Givens (nee Schultz). Her name was chosen because her father came home from World War I on the battleship Virginia in the month of June. She was the second of three children, brother Edward, sister Mary Jo. Her time as a girl in Auburn was spent going to baseball games, dancing, and reading every book she could get her hands on. Her trips to the big city of Seattle by bus with her grandmother, Laura Givens, instilled a love of travel that lasted her entire life. Virginia had a razor-sharp mind, and skipped two grades at Rainier Valley’s Franklin High to graduate in 1936 at the age of 16. She loved to say she had read every book in the Hillman City library. She never stopped reading.
When living in Auburn she went with her parents to Saturday night dances and roller skating at Lake Wilderness, and when a young man named Charles (Chuck) Kessner found out she didn’t have a ride, he took her to the skating rink, along with everyone else on the hill (he was the only one with a car). Virginia noticed Chuck a few years before when she went to school with his brother Ed, and she joked that she married Chuck because he was the only one with a job. He was a brilliant and industrious young man, and they were married on February 24, 1939, at the home of Edward S. Givens Jr. Virginia wore a simple blue dress and a corsage of gardenias.
They settled in Seattle, and had three children of their own: Carla Virginia, Charles Edward and Joseph Gary. After the death of her younger sister in 1967, the two families merged, and Virginia was influential in the lives of her nieces and nephews: Mary Ann Dress, Jill Rinke, Virginia Stansbury, Matt Gregg and Mark Gregg.
Virginia worked for the Highline School District, overseeing the Satellite Kitchen until her retirement. She mentored troubled kids who were sent to work in her kitchen, and was proud of all the young people who were transformed by the experience and eventually went into the food service industry. A devoted Catholic, she lived by the Prayer of St. Francis, which stood framed on her dresser, and was a parishioner of more than 60 years at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Seattle. A tireless servant, Virginia went into thousands of homes serving the needy by giving food, money, and furnishings through the St. Vincent de Paul Society.
Virginia spent her retirement days with Chuck indulging her lifelong passions for reading, square dancing, quilting, and visiting her large and devoted family. Together they visited Europe, Hawaii, and drove all over North America. After his death on August 7, 2008, at the age of 93, Virginia continued to have adventures with her children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Virginia enjoyed a 3-week road trip to California this past August.
She was drawn to children her entire life and could be counted on to tease, tickle, and share an array of fantastic toys and costumes she collected. To those she leaves behind, the magnitude of her loss is surpassed only by our gratitude for the gift of her presence and example.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Edward and Mary Givens; husband Charles Kessner; brother Ed Givens; and her sister Mary Jo Gregg.
Virginia is survived by her three children, Carla Janes of Seattle, Chuck and Sharon Kessner of Oro Valley, AZ; and Joe and Jan Kessner of Isleton, CA; grandchildren, Laura Janes, Renee Janes, Sharon Jakel, Carla Borgaila, Tim and Todd Christianson, Tina Moran, Tracy Hopper, Tom Kessner, Shara Perkins, Tony Kessner, Danny Kessner; 28 great-grandchildren and her many devoted nieces and nephews, including the Mirly Clan in Missouri, Carol Skinner of Auburn, Diane Saenger of Canada and Karen Morriset of Mukilteo.
A memorial service and luncheon will be held at 11 a.m., Sunday, December 17, 2017 at Bonney-Watson Funeral Home in SeaTac (166th and Hy.99) WA. All are welcome. Memorials may be sent to Society of St. Vincent de Paul in care of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, 10240 12th Ave. S. Seattle, WA 98168. Please sign the online memorial guest book at www.bonneywatson.com.
This obituary is provided by Bonney-Watson, providing caring and compassionate funeral, cremation and cemetery services since 1868. We have a professional staff, four funeral homes, two cremation facilities and one of the largest cemeteries south of Seattle, as well as a comprehensive grief support program.