Virginia  Kraft

Virginia Ann Kraft

1928 - 2022

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Virginia

Obituary of Virginia Ann Kraft

November 26, 1928 - July 29, 2022 Funeral service will be held on Sunday, August 14, 2PM at Cumberland Funeral Home, 207 Maybee Avenue, Monteagle TN. Visitation at 1:00 PM. Funeral service at 2:00 PM. Burial to follow at Monteagle Cemetery, 701-751 Laurel Lake Drive, Monteagle After a long full life, Virginia passed on to the next life as she had hoped, at home in the company of her daughter Carole. Virginia’s love for her family and friends was the most important thing in her life. She loved to be with people and she loved to laugh. Virginia loved music; she sang and played piano, guitar and dulcimer. She was a lifelong Christian and enjoyed singing hymns in church. She loved teaching young children and making music with them. Teaching a first grade class at Elmhurst IL, she had to reprimand one talkative student; the little girl told Virginia “I wish you’d have a baby!” At that time, it was usual for women teachers to stay home once they started having children. Virginia loved to read, read aloud to her children and became a children’s librarian. She enjoyed the beauty, imagination and humor of illustrated children’s books. Virginia loved nature, gardening and flowers. She went for a walk every day until late in her life. She liked to travel and explore new places. And Virginia loved pets; she was a cat lover and owned her first dog later in life, beloved Bailey who was her companion for 16 years. She was born Virginia Ann Roberts in the rural community of Zumbro Falls, Minnesota, growing up on a farm during the Great Depression. Although Virginia was an only child, there was a large family of cousins, aunts and uncles headed by her Schlasner grandparents. Life on the farm was one of chores, good food and many animals. Virginia, called GeeGee, attended a one-room schoolhouse with the other farmers’ children. She told stories of playing in the fields and woods with same-age cousins Maury and Bud, leaving her girly hair ribbon behind in a bush. She had a pet lamb to feed and a cranky pony to ride. Out-of-work “hands” came to the farm asking to be hired. At the age of twelve, GeeGee’s Aunt Laura taught her to drive in a Model A Ford on a country road. Church was in the nearby town of Zumbrota. During World War II Virginia moved with her mother Violette to Winner, South Dakota where Violette taught school on a Native American reservation. Virginia attended Ideal HS. Facilities were rustic; Virginia remembered pumping water, breaking ice in the bucket. Mother and daughter heard far-off drums and singing of tribal ceremonies. The end of the war was announced during high school assembly. After graduating from Mosinee HS in Wisconsin, Virginia attended Miss Wood’s School, Minneapolis MN for one year; she earned a degree in Education, class of 1950, from National Louis University in Normal IL.. Her mother ran a boarding house in Chicago, where Virginia’s stepfather taught at the Chicago Art Institute. Virginia met Ralph at a dance and said she “knew he was The One”. Not only handsome and educated, he liked to make her laugh; she looked around one day to find Ralph “walking” on his knees mimicking one of Virginia’s other beaus, a much shorter man. Ralph and Virginia were married in June 1950 at Chicago Methodist Temple. Virginia and Ralph raised a family of four girls and one boy, the first child born in Champaign-Urbana IL. They moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin when Ralph got a job there. After living in the neighborhood of Whitefish Bay, a house in Bayside WI became the family’s home. Her mother Violette and stepfather Ray Wakeland had a beautiful bluff-top property in Monteagle, Tennessee; Virginia and Ralph took their children on many fondly remembered summer vacations there. Ralph and Virginia attended and took comfort in their church together celebrating Sundays, Easter and Christmas holidays there. Virginia loved singing the old traditional hymns. She valued art and craft, giving her children music and art lessons, also teaching them to sew and cook. Visits to art and history museums were a favorite activity, As the children grew older, Virginia went back to work, getting a teacher’s certificate from Cardinal Stritch College. She taught at University School in Milwaukee WI. Next came a move to Colorado Springs, CO. Virginia loved the warm dry climate and magnificent Rocky Mountain scenery, enjoying hiking and skiing. She worked as a substitute teacher. Another move to Cary IL, where they spent several years and where Virginia found a job that really suited her talents and interests: she became the children’s (singing) librarian at Barrington Library in Palatine IL. Virginia and Ralph retired to Monteagle, joining Violette and enjoying many good times and trips together. They built a house of their own on the mountain, made many friends and were a part of the community for many years. They loved the natural beauty of the landscape and the gentle pace of life. Virginia is survived by daughters Deborah Kraft Knetzger (Robert), Carole Joan Kraft Manganaro, Heather Kraft and son Richard Ralph Kraft; grandchildren Amanda Brown, Reed Knetzger, Laura Knetzger, TianTian Kraft and Juliane Kraft; two great-grandchildren Anneke Brown and Logan Brown. Virginia was predeceased by her husband of 59 years Ralph Glenn Kraft, by daughter Barbara Jean Moore, by her stepfather Ray Wakeland and her mother Violette Schlasner Roberts Wakeland. Funeral service will be held on Sunday August 14, 2:00 PM at Cumberland Funeral Home, 207 Maybee Avenue Monteagle TN. Visitation at 1:00 PM. Funeral service at 2:00 PM. Burial to follow at Monteagle Cemetery, 701-751 Laurel Lake Drive, Monteagle In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Cowan Fellowship Church, Cowan TN. St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis TN. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal (ASPCA) Washington DC