Virginia Stewart Anderson, 97, Topeka, passed away on May 8, 2017, at Brewster Health Center in Topeka, Kansas.
Virginia was born on January 27, 1920, in Mer Rouge, Louisiana. She grew up on a farm during the heart of the Great Depression, the daughter of George T. and Jimmie Lee Stewart. She had two brothers, Charles Stewart and Billy Stewart, and a sister, Juanita Sibley, all of Louisiana and all who preceded her in death. Her sister Maribel Ellender of Sulphur, Louisiana, survives.
Virginia graduated from Mer Rouge High School at the age of 16. She then attended Northeast Louisiana State University in Monroe, La., for two years, after which she moved to Little Rock, Arkansas, where she worked for the Farm Security Administration and also Dun and Bradstreet. While working, she met her future husband, Paul W. Anderson, who was then stationed in the Army in Little Rock during World War II. Paul was later transferred to San Francisco, where he and Virginia were married on October 27, 1942.
In 1945, following the war, Paul and Virginia and their first son moved to Topeka, which became their permanent home. In the years that followed, they had four more children and devoted their lives to the raising of their family.
While Paul was a printer for the Topeka Capital-Journal, Virginia decided to complete her education to be of additional support to their family. She majored in elementary education and graduated from Washburn University in 1961. In 1968, she received her Master of Science degree in Education from Kansas State Teachers College of Emporia, KS.
Virginia taught for a total of 21 years at various schools in U.S.D. 501, including Rice Elementary and Highland Park North Elementary.
After Virginia's beloved husband, Paul, died suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack on November 24, 1978, she carried on with her teaching until she retired in May of 1982.
Virginia gave to her community in a variety of service roles. She was an energetic volunteer for the Topeka Public Library and the American Lung Association. She served on the local board of Child Evangelism and enjoyed leading a ladies' weekly Bible study in her home for many years. She was a member of the local women's Philomethean Club, too.
Virginia was a devoted member of Brookwood Covenant Church in Topeka for over 70 years, where she was active in many capacities. She looked forward to going to church every Sunday, greeting her friends there, and growing in her walk with the Lord.
Throughout her years, Virginia used the strong foundation her parents provided for her to live a life of service and purpose. Her example of determination and integrity built upon her Christian faith was an inspiration to everyone who knew her. She was a kind, resourceful, faithful woman.
She is survived by her children: Paul Woodrow, Jr. (Charo) of Seville, Spain; Tom (Mary) of Santa Barbara, CA; Sara of Topeka; Mark (Cynthia) of Monument, CO; and Phil (Gloria) of Topeka; 11 grandchildren, one step-grandchild, nine great-grandchildren and two step great-grandchildren.
Virginia loved being a mother and a grandmother and will be deeply missed by all of her family.
Her family will welcome guests from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, May 19, at Penwell-Gabel Mid-Town Chapel, 1321 SW 10th Ave. in Topeka. A memorial service for Virginia will be held Saturday morning, May 20, at 11:00 a.m. at Brookwood Covenant Church, 3601 SW 33rd. Private graveside services will be conducted at West Lawn Memorial Gardens in Topeka.
The family extends their warm thanks to the wonderful staff at Brewster Health Center and also Grace Hospice, who took such good, loving care of their mother.
Memorial contributions may be made to Brookwood Covenant Church, 3601 SW 33rd, Topeka, KS 66614 or to the Topeka Rescue Mission at PO Box 8350, Topeka, KS 66608.
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