YUMA, Ariz. – On Tuesday morning, May 27, 2014, at Agrace HospiceCare, Madison, Wisconsin, Virginia Stoner Flanagan, 91, our beloved mother, granny, great-granny, “Gigi,” passed from this world to the next to be reunited with her husband, our father, granddad, William “Red;” and her son, our brother, Gary Patrick.
Virginia Charlotte Stoner was born Aug. 18, 1922, in Evanston, to Neely Marshall and Mabel May (Horner) Stoner. Virginia, also known as “Pudy” or “Vee,” was one of a kind, Stoner and Horner mix, a woman who loved life and lived it to the fullest. Her marriage to “the hottest guy and best dancer in town,” William “Red” Flanagan, on Dec. 23, 1943, at Frederick AIr Force Base Chapel, Frederick, Oklahoma, began a love affair spanning 53 years. After World War II, they returned to Dixon, with Mom devoting herself to raising five children, guiding them “to be yourself and love the Lord.” Her life as a talented homemaker was full, and thanks to her interest in braiding rugs, collecting crystal, silver and dinnerware and refinishing antique furniture, our home life was very comfortable. Mom worked at Purity Mills before accepting the librarian position at St. Mary Grade School. After Dad’s retirement, they enjoyed being snowbirds in Arizona, and danced their way through 53 years of marriage. In 2003, Mom made Yuma her permanent residence.
Music played a significant role in our mother’s life. Virginia excelled at state and national contests with bass, snare drums, trumpet, piano and cello. With her first paycheck from Montgomery Ward & Co. in Chicago, she purchased a Wurlitzer piano. She celebrated her 89th birthday with Yo-Yo Ma, receiving his kiss, hug, and encouragement to make more music with the cello. She enjoyed musical productions of all genres, even until her last days.
Virginia was admired for unquestionable honesty and integrity, and her energy inspired many. She enjoyed antiquing, refinishing furniture, outdoor gardening, knitting, cross-stitch, cryptoquote and crossword puzzles. She was an avid reader, politically active, and a member of National Association of Retired Federal Employees. She loved playing cards, pinochle (Arizona style), cribbage, solitaire, and especially enjoyed her many bridge club dates.
Her cooking and baking creations were everyone’s favorites – apple pie “guaranteed to ungrouch a grouchy husband,” not-too-sweet-but-just-right pecan pie, enchiladas, and her green tomato relish used to make the most delicious stuffed eggs ... all so yummy. Virginia enjoyed her small glass of Cabernet Sauvignon with her dinner meal.
As a convert to Catholicism, Virginia was baptized and confirmed, and embraced the Catholic faith as a result of what she had been searching for and found. Through you, Mother, God has richly blessed all of us. You have passed on many of your passions to your children and we, in turn, to ours. Because of this, you will live on in all of us.
Virginia was a parishioner of St. Patrick Church from 1946 to 2003. As a memorial to her beloved husband, Bill, who preceded her in death on March 23, 1996, and her son, Gary Patrick, on Oct. 27,1990, she was the benefactor of the Holy Spirit Dome above the altar and the St. Patrick statue during the remodeling of 1995 to 1997.
Virginia will be deeply missed by her two daughters, Judith (Gary) Conger of Madison, Wisconsin, and Elizabeth (Larry) Nummerdor of Waunakee, Wisconsin; her two sons, Irl John (Cathy) of Geneva, and Michael (Shari) of Eagan, Minnesota; nine grandchildren, Meghan Conger of Fitchburg, Wisconsin, Joshua (Tara) Conger of Waunakee, Gabriel (Abigail) Conger of Omaha, Nebraska, Kelly (Kelly) Flanagan of Wheaton, Kristina (Jason) Garo of Gladbach, Germany, Kyle Flanagan of Geneva, Shelby and John Patrick Flanagan of Eagan, and Matthew (Melissa) Nummerdor of Waunakee; eight great-grandchildren, Isabella and Isaiah Garo, Aidan, Quinn, and Caitlin Flanagan, Sami and Drew Nummerdor, and Cassidy Isle Conger, also known as “little Isle” to Gigi; nephew and godson, Terry (Bonnie) Schroeder; nieces, Cathy Palzkill, Nancy (Bill) Kiro, and Marguerite (Ray) Kusmider; 11 Flanagan and Curran nieces and nephews; and dear cousins, aunts, and uncles.
She also was preceded in death by her parents; a brother, Richard, in infancy; sister, Vivian (Bob) Schroeder; nephews, Tim and Bill Schroeder; great-nephew, Matthew Schroeder; godson, Robert Becker; one sister-in-law; four brothers-in-law; and dear cousins, aunts and uncles.
Visitation will be from 10 to 11 a.m. Friday and the funeral Mass at 11 a.m. Friday at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Dixon, with Monsignor Thomas Bales, celebrant, officiating. Burial will be at Oakwood Cemetery in Dixon. Unger-Horner Funeral Home in Rochelle is handling arrangements.
Visit ungerhorner.com to send condolences.
Memorials may be made to Perpetual Adoration; St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Yuma, Arizona; Loaves and Fishes; St. Patrick Church in Dixon; and Agrace HospiceCare in Madison, Wisconsin.
The family cherishes the help and love that the staffs and volunteers at St. Mary Hospital and Agrace HospiceCare provided during Mom’s brief illness. A special thank you to Stephen Zwettler, Monsignor James Gunn, the Rev. Mark Miller, and the pastoral staff and members of First Presbyterian Church in Waunakee.
When through one woman a little more love and goodness, a little more light and truth come into the world – then that woman’s life has had meaning.
Virginia will be dearly missed and loved forever.