Virginia M. “Ginger” Prieve, 96, of Litchfield passed away December 17, 2019 at Bethany Assisted Living in Litchfield. Visitation will be from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m., Thursday, December 26 at the Ecumen Augustana Chapel in Litchfield and also at the church for one hour prior to the service. Services will be conducted at St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church in Litchfield on December 27, 2019 at 11:00 a.m., with Rev. Jay Panning officiating. Interment will be at Lake Ripley Cemetery, with military honors by the Litchfield Military Honor Guard.
Virginia was born on April 16, 1923 in Minneapolis MN to Albert and Laura Galarneau. She was the youngest of six children. As a young child, she was placed in foster care in Litchfield, as were her four sisters and one brother. Even though they were divided among several families, they were able to maintain a relationship over the years. Virginia was eventually adopted by Frank and Mabel Koktavy, who owned and operated the Electric Maid Bakery in Litchfield. They lived in an apartment above the bakery, so Virginia considered Central Park to be her front yard, enjoying many hours playing with her friends and dolls on the bandstand. She graduated from Litchfield High School in the Class of ’41, whose motto was “If you can’t find a path, make one!” After graduation, she moved to Los Angeles to be near her brother Bob and his family, getting a job at a clothing factory. On Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, she was walking home from the store with a friend when they saw people running out of their homes and screaming that the Japanese had just bombed Pearl Harbor. It made such a huge impact on her that she joined the United States Navy and proudly served as a Pharmacist’s Mate Third Class at the U.S. Naval Hospital in San Diego.
On completion of her enlistment, she returned to Minneapolis and worked as a telephone operator. On a weekend visit to Litchfield to visit family, she met Oliver Prieve, who worked for her uncle Harry Radunz at his tire shop. They were married on July 5, 1947 at St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church in Litchfield. Virginia continued to work as a telephone operator until their daughter Sandra Lee was born on September 16, 1949. Sandra passed away the following day due to complications at birth. Their daughter Susan Virginia was born on Sandra’s birthday in 1950, followed by Gary Oliver in 1953 and Sara Jane in 1961. Ginger was an excellent cook and enjoyed baking and canning. She was also a very talented seamstress and made over 300 Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls, as well as several hundred baby bibs decorated with her counted cross-stitch designs. Family was always very important to her.
Ginger began working at Bethany Home in Litchfield in 1974, becoming the head of the housekeeping department. She loved her job and stayed there for 18 years, until her retirement in 1992. She repeatedly told her family members that she wanted to live there one day when she could no longer be in her home, because she liked it there so well.
She was a very active member of St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, serving as a Sunday School teacher, leader of the Lutheran Girl Pioneers, a member of Ladies’ Aid, choir, Altar Guild, and in any other capacity where she could be of help.
Upon Ollie’s death on March 25, 2004, Ginger continued to live alone in the home they had shared for nearly 57 years. At her request, she moved into Bethany Assisted Living on her 85th birthday. She loved the many activities and friendships there, even reuniting with some of her high school classmates and church friends. She served as President of the Residents’ Council, saying that all she really had to do was attend meetings, drink coffee, and eat cookies! In the last several years, she faced the struggles of dementia/Alzheimer’s disease. The family is eternally grateful to the wonderful staff at Bethany and Gloria Dei for the kindness and compassion shown to Ginger, and the dedicated attention, patience, and love that they gave her day after day.
Ginger was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Ollie; her infant daughter, Sandra Lee; her parents, Frank, Mabel, Albert and Laura; her brother, Robert Galarneau; her sisters, Ruth Fogelstrom, Edith Richey, Mariann Bengtson, and Margaret Adams, her son-in-law, Jack Fider; and many other family members and friends.
She is survived by her children; Susan (Steven) Ulrick of Wichita Falls, TX, Gary (Linda) Prieve of Litchfield, and Sara Fider of Mandan, ND. She is also survived by grandchildren; Steven (Becky) Ulrick, Scott (Amber) Ulrick, Melissa Prieve, Laura (Dan) Talvitie, Adam Prieve, Dana (Jason) Splonskowski, Beth (Justin) Goetz, Michael Huncovsky, and Gretchen (Robert) Chilson, as well as 22 Great-Grandchildren; Allison, Anna, Avery, Alenia, Audie, Amelia, Anthony, Alex, Zoey, Tifani, Trinity, Christian, Dayla, Hannah, Matthew, Megan, Maddox, Elise Virginia, Isaac, Jacob, Robert and Miles.
Memorials may be sent to St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Litchfield.
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