Virginia Monroe of Topeka died on March 5, 2019. Virginia was born March 19, 1933 in Auburn, Kansas; the daughter of Kenneth M. and Hazel Widau McConnell.
She grew up in Topeka and attended Lafayette Grade School, Highland Park Junior High, and graduated from Highland Park High School in 1951. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Washburn University, where she majored in art and history-political science. While at Washburn she was a member of Alpha Phi Sorority, which she served as president and first and second vice president. She was also active in debate, Washburn Players, Kaw Staff, and Modern Dance Club. Honors Mrs. Monroe received at Washburn included induction into Tau Delta Pi, honorary scholastic fraternity, Pi Gamma Mu, honorary social science fraternity, Delta Phi Delta, honorary art fraternity, Pi Kappa Delta, honorary forensics fraternity, Who’s Who in American Universities and Colleges, and NONOSO, women’s honorary society, which she also served as president. She was designated a MacVicar Scholar 1951-55, and was awarded the NONOSO Outstanding Sophomore Award in 1952-53.
Mrs. Monroe also received a Masters of Arts in Education from the University of Kansas in 1967 and a Masters of Library Science from Emporia State University in 1976, where she was inducted into Beta Phi Mu, professional honorary Library Science Fraternity.
On August 29, 1954, she married James Arthur Monroe, who preceded her in death in November 2005. She is survived by two daughters, Erin Monroe (Sergio Delgado) of Cincinnati, OH, and Elissa Monroe of Prairie Village, KS. She is also survived by sister, Peggy Blain (Russ) of Overland Park, KS.
Virginia spent 31 years in public education. She served as a classroom teacher three years at Highland Park High School, teaching art, American History, World History, and Government. She taught art, world understanding, and problems of democracy at Shawnee Heights High School for 7 years. She was the Library Media Specialist at Jay Shideler Jr. High for 4 years, and finished her career at Shawnee Heights Middle School as Library Media Specialist, from which she retired after 17 years. She was the Shawnee Heights District 450’s nominee for State Teacher of the Year in 1987 and1997.
Mrs. Monroe was active in community affairs for many years. She was a member of the Board of Directors of the Topeka Jazz Workshop, an organization that her late husband helped create, and which he served as president for 28 years.
She was a charter member of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, where she served on the Executive Council and many committees. During its early years, she created a mosaic of Jesus which hangs near the entry.
Mrs. Monroe loved to travel and she and her late husband had visited most major areas of the world.
The family will receive friends during a visitation beginning at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 16, 2019 at Our Savior's Lutheran Church, 2021 W. 29th St. Topeka, KS 66611. A funeral service will follow at 1:00 p.m. Burial will follow at Shawnee Center Cemetery, Wakarusa.
Memorial contributions may be made to Our Savior's Lutheran Church 2021 W. 29th St. Topeka, KS 66611 or Topeka Jazz Workshop Scholarship Fund, PO Box 452, Topeka, KS 66606.
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