Virginia J. Esswein, 76, of Chetek, Wis., passed away peacefully at her home surrounded by family after a long illness on Sunday, Sept. 29. She recently celebrated her 55th wedding anniversary to her beloved husband, James L. Esswein.
Virginia was born in Milwaukee, Wis., on Feb. 8, 1943, to Elizabeth B. (Schlitt) and Henry A. DeWerth. Ginny graduated from Wauwatosa East High School in December 1960. She attended college at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and then transferred to UW-Madison where she was a member of Alpha Xi Delta and graduated from the School of Physical Therapy in 1964.
Virginia married James on Sept. 26, 1964, and they settled in Chetek in 1969. She served the community as a physical therapist and established the department of physical therapy at Barron Community Memorial Hospital. She also worked for Knapp Haven Nursing Home and Cooperative Educational Service Agency until her retirement in 2000.
Active in her community, she served her church and was a member of the Eastern Star.
Virginia and James enjoyed retirement by establishing a year-round residence on Bark Bay between Cornucopia and Herbster, Wis. She enjoyed traveling to Germany, Arizona, New Mexico, Australia, Alaska and Canada and multiple trips visiting family and friends. Throughout her life, family was the most important.
Ginny enjoyed gardening, Hardanger embroidery, ceramics, stained glass, playing and teaching piano. She was interested in learning many new crafting techniques. Some of her favorite ventures were making gingerbread houses with the grandchildren at Christmas and creating photo quilts for each grandchild upon their high school graduation.
Virginia is survived by her husband, James; three children, Barbara (James) Cropp, of Janesville, Brian (Carolyn) Esswein, of Wauwatosa, Becky (Sid) Baccam, of Bel Air, Md.; and six grandchildren, Cassandra, Collin and Connor Cropp, Taylor and Parker Esswein, and Isaac Baccam; and her brother, Gordon DeWerth, Framingham, Ma.
She was preceded in death by her parents.
A celebration of life will be held at Chetek United Methodist Church on Saturday, Oct. 5, at 2 p.m.
A visitation will precede the service at the church from 1–2 p.m. Please join the family for lunch and continued visitation in the church community room following the service.
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations be made to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, 230 E Ohio St., Suite 500, Chicago, IL 60611.
The Burnham-Ours-Kolstad Family Funeral Home of Chetek has been entrusted with arrangements.