Born to Theora and Daisy (Hawk) Willis on December 30, 1937, in Decatur Co., Iowa. Her family were farmers of the rich southern Iowa soil. Virginia attended a one-room school until the third grade, when it was closed and students sent to grade school in Davis City, Iowa.
The family bought a general store in Davis City and ran it until her father began working as a carpenter for the C.B & Q (Chicago, Burlington and Quincy) Railroad, where he worked until retirement. Virginia attended Decatur County Unified High School. At a very early age she drew pictures to add to her assignments.
She always said her favorite job was being a mother. In March of 1955, son Michael was born. In May of 1957, son Darrell was born.
Again her family were farmers. Her sons began to help on the farm at an early age. Virginia continued drawing and painting. She also made her own clothes, played piano and organ, loved fishing and hunting mushrooms, bird watching and being a den mother for Cub Scouts.
In the mid-1960s, Virginia began attending Graceland University at Lamoni, Iowa, where she majored in art and music. She was elected to be her classes’ student representative to the faculty board and also was given the student Life Award for her work. During her senior year she was asked to be a Preceptor, teaching a class at the University while still a student.
Virginia graduated with honors in fine art and art education, garnering only one B in her straight A’s college career. She continued teaching as a Preceptor at Graceland University while working on her Master’s at Drake University at Des Moines, Iowa. She was also one of 15 students from Drake University chosen for a summer workshop by Jules Kirshenbaum, an artist well-known and published in modern art books.
Virginia moved to Crescent City in 1974, living at what was the Point St. George Apartments out on the point. She soon began teaching at the fairly new College of the Redwoods/Del Norte, which was housed at the fairgrounds.
In 1975 daughter Jermaine was born. She went to class with her mother and became a permanent class fixture.
When Jermaine was a toddler, Virginia owned and ran an art supply store and gallery in Crescent City. Harley Munger was her first partner and sold his half to Rick Bennett.
Virginia taught in drawing, painting, watercolor, art appreciation, intaglio, color theory and design, for which she wrote her own book. She often remarked that she couldn’t believe she was getting paid for what she enjoyed so much. She felt close to many students and considered them family.
During the years, she joined The Daily Triplicate staff in sales and later in design. She also did political cartoons for over 20 years.
Due to ill health, she retired from both jobs in April 2006, after teaching 31 years.
Virginia garnered awards for her work in shows in Southern Oregon and Northern California.
Preceded in death by parents Daisy and Theora Willis of Davis City, Iowa, granddaughter Marlys Scott of Crescent City, brother Harlen Willis of Greenwood, Mo.
Survivors are sons Michael Scott of Jamaica, Iowa, Darrell Scott of Eagle Point, Ore., and daughter Jermaine Brubaker of Eureka, sister-in-law Shirley of Greenwood, Mo., eight grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
In her memory, you are asked to support your local artists.
Services will be held at the artist’s home on Wednesday, Sept. 21, from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. at 461 E Street, Crescent City.
— Submitted by Family