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Resident Spotlight: Virginia D.

History handed Virginia D. an opportunity in the guise of a great worldwide tragedy and she seized it. She was 16 at the start of World War II. Born on a farm in eastern Kansas, Virginia was the fourth of eight children. Opportunity knocked when a local Kansas City cookie and cracker factory switched to making vital parts for Allied warplanes. The factory bosses looked for volunteers at the high school nearby to hand out sandwiches on the factory floor to keep workers on the job. Virginia volunteered and never went back to the farm.

Her older siblings joined the Navy and shipped out to ports in California. Still too young to join the military, Virginia followed them westward and found a job at a millenary shop in downtown Los Angeles. She returned to Kansas City briefly at the end of the war but soon met a man who was studying to be a Foreign Service Officer. It was a chance meeting at a Halloween party and they were married just 19 days later. Before long, Virginia found herself living in Bonn, West Germany and attending and hosting suave cocktail parties and chic sit-down dinners with the cold warriors who were working to contain the Soviets behind the Iron Curtain.

Before her career was over, she raised four children in elegant homes in Hamburg, Stockholm, Berlin, Munich and Vienna, with frequent returns to home base in Washington, DC. She learned to speak German and Swedish, and studied the lifestyles and cultures of all the diplomatic families she came to know in those European capitals. Along the way, she indulged her passion for flowers and blossoming trees and became an accomplished landscape architect. In retirement, she and her husband John designed and built an elaborate goldfish pond in the backyard, complete with a cascading brook.

Virginia has been at Kensington Park for several years and enjoys the many activities and music that fill her days. Three of her four children live nearby. Her caregivers say they welcome her sunny smiles and call her their “sweetheart from KCK.” Virginia has traveled a long way from Kansas City, Kansas – via California, DC, and western Europe. We are so grateful that Virginia made her way to Kensington Park!