As a young woman of 19 who had never been far from home, Virginia Winters took a train from Missouri to California to meet her new husband, Jerry, at the U.S. Navy base on Coronado Island. It was the year of the Great Flood of 1951, and her train was endlessly delayed. With no way to communicate, Jerry took the ferry to the San Diego train station every day for nearly two weeks until she finally arrived safely. They were married 51 years. Virginia died 12 January 2020 at age 87, almost 17 years to the day after Jerry died.
Virginia Ann was born 30 January 1932 in Grain Valley to Lucile (Simpson) and Ernest Dodson. She excelled at academics and women’s basketball, and after moving to Blue Springs her senior year, she won the state championship, graduated first in her class, and met Gerald Wayne Winters. They eloped 9 July 1951 shortly after graduation, just before Jerry deployed to California.
Their early post-Korean War years were spent in Columbia, where Jerry earned his University of Missouri degree and Virginia typed manuscripts and took care of their two daughters, Lisa, who was born in California, and Janice, who was born at Boone County Hospital in Columbia. Virginia and Jerry spent most of their married lives in Smithville, where they owned a small farm and raised everything from livestock to Christmas trees. The Winters Christmas Tree Farm became a favorite holiday tradition for families to come and take hayrides, cut their own trees, and enjoy hot chocolate and homemade soup by the woodstove in the Christmas tree house. “It was such a fun family event,” Virginia said, “for us as well as everyone else.” Virginia and Jerry always had large, ambitious gardens, and Virginia canned untold numbers of quarts of tomato juice, tomatoes, green beans, jams, and every other delight imaginable.
After a stint as the Executive Secretary for the Kansas City Crime Commission, Virginia put her razor-sharp language skills to use closer to home as the Associate Editor of the Smithville Lake Democrat Herald for 22 years. She later became a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), where she held several state offices and became proficient at assisting others in their genealogical searches. She traveled to libraries across the country searching for her family ancestry, eventually proving six of her relatives back to the Revolutionary War of 1776.
After Jerry’s death in 2003, Virginia moved back to Blue Springs to be near lifelong friends, and later to Columbia to be near her daughter Janice, where she forged many new friendships. All her friends, old and new, will miss her dearly.
Virginia is survived by daughter Lisa Diane Winters (Bob Armstrong) and her two children Ellyn Ngyen (Tyler) and Evan Armstrong (Alex Pinney), and Ellyn’s two children Nash and Corbyn, all of the Seattle, Washington, area; daughter Janice Elaine Faaborg (John) of Columbia, and her two children Claire of Denver, Colorado, and Miles (Sally Fritsche) of Boston, Massachusetts, and two stepchildren Jason Faaborg of Snohomish, Washington, and Jodi Switalski (Mark) and Jodi’s two children Grace and Dane, all of the Detroit, Michigan, area; and her dear sister Linda Dombkowski (Rick) of Blue Springs.
A memorial celebration of her life will be announced soon. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested to the Blue Springs DAR Chapter, in care of Paula Clyma, 1900 S. Davis Ave., Independence, Missouri 64057. Memories of Virginia and condolences may be left at Meyersfuneralchapel.com.