SHENANGO TOWNSHIP, Pennsylvania (MyValleyTributes) – It is with heavy hearts we announce the death of Virginia J. Rzecznik Gurgacz in her 102nd year, on Wednesday, October 14, 2020. She passed away peacefully at her daughter’s home, where she resided for the past 29 years.
Virginia was born on December 27, 1917, a daughter of the late Vincent and Agnes Wanic Rzecznik, who were immigrants from Poland.
She was raised in Shenango Township and graduated from Shenango High School in 1935, where she was a starting guard on the girls’ basketball team.
After graduation, she was employed at the Pants Factory, Johnson Bronze and Reliable Luggage.
In the early 1940s, she fell in love with the stalwart handsome Polish boy, Michael Peter Gurgacz and they were married on June 17, 1943. They were happily married for 48 years until his death in 1992.
Virginia worked for decades side by side with her husband in their family owned butcher business, while at the same time caring for her family and putting two daughters through college.
Because of health issues experienced by her husband, Mike, the Gurgacz’s became part of the Waddington’s household in 1991. When her husband Mike passed away in 1992, Virginia remained with the Waddington’s and became active in the community.
During this period of Virginia’s life, she experienced her first trip out of the United States for the wedding of a grandson, as well as enjoyed out of state visits to see other grandchildren. Locally, she enjoyed gardening, was a member of St. Philip and James Catholic Church, Challenges/Office on Aging and volunteered at the Lawrence County Historical Society.
The true love of her life and her most precious possession was her family: husband, daughters, sons-in-laws, seven grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. Virginia looked forward to weekly phone calls with her grandchildren and enjoyed writing letters to her young great-grandchildren. Thoughtful visits from loving nephews and nieces and their respective families, also brought happiness and cheer into Virginia’s life. Virginia shared a most special beautiful and loving intergenerational relationship with her great-grandson, Derek Waddington, with whom she lived.
Virginia is survived by two daughters, Virginia (Mel) Hoover of Montoursville, Pennsylvania and Judith (Robert) Waddington of New Castle; grandchildren, LTC William (Jennifer) Waddington of Arizona, Attorney Michael (Sandy) Waddington of Florida, Elizabeth P. Spitale of Florida, LTC Robert D. (Jayme) Waddington, Jr. of Colorado, Virginia (Nick) Peterson of Texas, Major Matthew (Tricia) Hoover of Virginia and Adrienne L. Hoover of Virginia and 16 great-grandchildren, Derek, Catherine, William, Alex, Emilia, Ethan and Evelyn Waddington, Carlei, Roman, Anthony, Nico, Benjamin and Eliza Spitale, Lydia, Isaac and Townsend Hoover, complete Virginia’s family.
At Virginia’s 100th birthday celebration her daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were present to assist her in blowing the 100 candles on her birthday cake.
In addition to her parents and husband, Virginia was preceded in death by an infant son, Michael and her loving siblings, Bus, Henry, Wilma and Joe.
The family would like to extend a sincere thank you to Dr. Thomas Malvar for his compassion, empathy and honesty, as well as to the dedicated caregivers and staff from Sunny Days In-Home Care, Open Systems Healthcare and Three Rivers Hospice social worker, Neal Samuels and nurses Courtney, Cheryl, Christine and Robin.
To her family, Virginia was many things: wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt, confidant, nurse, counselor, loyal friend, chef, fashion consultant and above all, a fierce protector of those she loved. Virginia had a strong faith in God that she passed along to her daughters. She found joy in the little gifts that life gave her and was a humble person. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” – 1Peter 5:6-7
Her special touch and attention to detail is what made our house a home. Virginia had an endless abundance of mercy, kindness and forgiveness and a huge capacity to love. She worked very hard all of her life and up to the very end, she held true to the American work ethic. She made a difference in the lives of many, making their world a better place and she will be dearly missed.
The family was told that Virginia’s death certificate states the cause of death Alzheimer/Dementia, however, the truth be known, Virginia’s cause of death was that she actually wore her heart out by loving her family and friends for over a century.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Virginia’s memory may be made to the Lawrence County Historical Society, 408 N. Jefferson Street, New Castle, PA 16101.
In keeping with her wishes, all services will be held privately.
Interment will follow in Sts. Philip and James Cemetery, New Castle, where she will be laid to rest next to her beloved husband.
Arrangments are being handled by the J. Bradley McGonigle Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc.