Virgina June Kessner

Jun 13, 1920 – Dec 1, 2017

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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






Sharon Jakel
Maricopa, AZ
Dec 15, 2017

Grandmas are Gods gift to children and Grandma Kessner was that and more. She taught me to love others, help those in need, contribute to society in a positive way, learn as much as possible, be responsible, and do your best to enjoy yourself while doing it all.

Cherished memories include learning to quilt, iron sheets, mushroom hunt, going to the ocean/Downtown Seattle/Space Center/Bubbleator/Monorail/Disneyland/canning/watching Disney and Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom/Costumes/pot lucks at Our Lady of Lourdes/Christmas Caroling/and witnessing first hand how much they helped others with loving hearts.

Grandma Kessner was ahead of her times in ways I did not realize until I was an adult. She was a smart woman who had opinions and a brain which she shared with all. She was a working woman and mom/grandma. This she instilled and encouraged in each of her grandchildren along with a respect for everyone. Grandma and Grandpa Kessner were respectful of one another and loving. They were partners in every sense of the word and more. One of those couples we tell others about and strive to be like in our own marriages.

They were brave too! They would take each of us out collecting newspapers to earn money toward train fair to CA and back. They would take my sister and I and cousins on a train to CA and back visiting other cousins and going to Disneyland and SeaWorld. No parents, just them and occasionally Cousin Mabel.

I hope to be like her as a grandma one day and to pass along so much of what she taught me to my own children/grandchildren/and other children.

I will always love you, Grandma Kessner, and carry you in my heart

Guillory Family
Covington, LA
Dec 15, 2017

To the loved ones of Virginia Kessner,

We extend our heartfelt condolences to each of you. Please be assured of Godís enduring love for you, his concern with your well-being, and his willingness to help you endure this difficult time. (1 Peter 5:7) We pray that Godís promise at Revelation 21:4 will provide you comfort in the days to come. For further comforting thoughts, please visit

The Guillory Family

Covington, LA

Diane & Brendan Gallagher
Tacoma,, WA
Dec 14, 2017

Dear Carla and family,

Virginia certainly did have a zest for life as well as a compassionate and huge heart for those in need. Am sure she and Chuck are square dancing amongst the angels in heaven. Brendan and I always enjoyed your visits...Virginia always coming with a huge smile and wonderful sense of humor. Bless you, Carla, for your many years of care and advocacy for your mother...providing her with many additional quality of life years. I'm truly sorry I can't attend the memorial luncheon...but know I am with you in prayerful spirit. God bless!

Love, Diane

John Michaud
Seattle, WA
Dec 13, 2017

Till the next time we meet.

Theresa O'Brien and Tyler and Glory Jones
Burien, WA
Dec 13, 2017

We were blessed to have Virginia for our neighbor and friend for over 18 years. She was a wonderful caring person and we will miss her laughter and smile. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Carla and the whole family. Rest in Peace sweet Virginia. Love, Theresa, Tyler and Glory

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.