Virginia Harding Reynolds died peacefully Friday, April 25, 2014, at Ministry St. Clare’s Hospital in Weston, Wisconsin. Virginia was approaching her 97th birthday. She was born in Merrill, Wisconsin on June 18, 1917, the daughter of Mae and Emil Semling.
Virginia graduated from Merrill High School in 1935 and then attended the University of Wisconsin – Madison where she studied journalism. She was employed at Weinbrenner Shoe Company in the accounting department and in the office at Semling-Menke Company before marrying her high school sweetheart, James S. Harding in 1944. They lived in Big Springs, Texas until Jim’s commitment to the U.S. military was completed at the end of World War II.
Jim and Ginny moved back to Merrill and raised three children; Jay (Barb) Harding, Merrill, Patty (Dennis) Flanigan, Stevens Point and Micki (Ed) Koth, Wausau. Her beloved husband, Jim, died suddenly in the autumn of 1975. Virginia then returned to work in the office of Northern Specialty Company for several years. In 1982, she was re-introduced to high school classmate, John ‘Red’ Reynolds of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin at a Merrill “Silver M Club” football reunion. They married in 1983 and Virginia shared 22 wonderful years with Red and her “Milwaukee family.” After Red’s death in 2006, she returned to her home in Merrill.
Virginia had a deep appreciation for the out-of-doors, and enjoyed traveling, especially to Fort Myers Beach, Florida. As a girl, she played tennis, basketball and field hockey. She was also a high school cheerleader, and continued to support the Merrill Bluejays throughout her life. Virginia loved all of God’s creatures and was particularly fond of dogs and horses. She often reminisced about horseback riding through Council Grounds State Park west of Merrill. Reading, playing the violin and socializing with her bridge club also brought much joy to her life.
Virginia was a devoted mother and cared about all children. She was a Brownie and Girl Scout leader and frequent hostess to ice skating parties and other activities at Normal Park near her home in Merrill. She cherished time spent at the family cottage on Tug Lake and looked forward to family reunions where she would catch up on the activities of her 27 nieces and nephews. Virginia was a member of St. Robert’s Altar Society in Merrill and was an active member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.
Survivors include her three children and their spouses; sister, Marie (Alan) Malm, Merrill; step-daughters, Kathe Cavallo, Wauwatosa, Patti Behrens, East Troy and Jane Harris, Wauwatosa; sister-in-law, Faye Semling, Merrill; step-sons, Mike Reynolds, Wauwatosa and Chuck (Karen) Reynolds, Mequon; grandchildren, Beth (Todd) Pehlke, Lake Orion, Michigan, Kyle Harding, Merrill, Kevin (Jessica) Harding, Merrill, Patti Koth, Edina, Minnesota and Jim Koth, Minneapolis, Minnesota; step-grandchildren, Ashley and Aaron Reynolds, Missoula, Montana, and Jeff and Kevin Reynolds, Milwaukee; and great-grandchildren, Brenden and McKenna Pehlke, and Brooklyn and Langdon Harding.
She was preceded in death by her husbands, James Harding and Red Reynolds; brothers, Don Semling and Jack Semling; sister, Marion Lillicrist; brother-in-law, Noke Lillicrist; sister-in-law, June Semling; step-daughter, Marsha Reynolds; step-grandson, Joshua Denfield Cavallo; and step-son-in-law, Doug Behrens.
The family would like to thank Dr. Grace Laynes, Dr. Stephen Blonksy and Dr. Pablo Abrego of Marshfield Clinic and Dr. Kevin Flaherty and Dr. Tad Krolicki from the Eye Clinic of Wisconsin for their compassionate and professional care. We also thank the physicians and staff of Ministry St. Clare’s Hospital – Weston, and Aspirus Wausau Hospital Kidney Care for their outstanding services which allowed our mother to enjoy the final years of her life. Lastly, we would like to express our appreciation for the daily devotion and dedication of Ginny’s primary caregivers at Bell Tower Residence in Merrill, Primrose in Wausau and for the last three years, Lily Assisted Living in Schofield, Wisconsin.
Memorial donations may be sent to the Holy Cross Sisters – 1600 O’Day St., Merrill, WI 54452 or the Lincoln County Humane Society – 200 N. Memorial Dr., Merrill, WI 54452.
Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday, May 3, 2014 at 12:00 p.m., Noon, at Holy Cross Chapel at Bell Tower Residence, Merrill, Wisconsin. Father James Schaefer will be the celebrant. Burial will follow at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Cemetery, Merrill. Visitation will begin at 10:00 a.m. Saturday at the Holy Cross Chapel at Bell Tower Residence. The Taylor-Stine Funeral Home, Merrill, is assisting the family with arrangements.
Online condolences may be made at www.taylorstinefuneralhome.com
Say not in grief ‘she is no more’ but live in thankfulness that she was.