Virginia Kostol passed away suddenly on Dec. 13 at her home in Baker City.
Virginia was born on July 18, 1926, in Hoquiam, WA, to Arthur and Mavie (Olson) Benson. She began first grade a year early to stop her habit of running off to follow her sister Frances to school. She spent many happy summers with loads of cousins at Lake Quinault. She could swim like a fish. Virginia was valedictorian of Hoquiam High School Class of 1943, and her speech topic was "Women in the War Effort." Then she was off to the University of Washington, where she was a member of the Chi Omega sorority and earned a B.S. in Home Economics and Education and a 5th-year certificate in Education. In her senior year, she met Carl Kostol at a sorority/fraternity exchange. She taught home economics at Hoquiam High School for one year, and then married Carl in 1949 and joined him in Montreal. While he attended medical school, she taught kindergarten and home economics and worked at a department store. While Carl completed his internship and residency in Portland, Virginia taught Social Studies and Home Economics at Parkrose Junior High. The couple moved to Baker City in 1953. After she began raising a family of four children, she applied her teaching and home ec. skills in her home.
Virginia was an ever-willing volunteer in her children's activities, leading groups for Cub Scouts, Brownies, 4-H, and Sunday School. In the community, she organized Red Cross blood drives (donating many gallons of blood herself). She served on the ESD Board, the Baker County Historical Society Board, and the Salvation Army Auxiliary. She was active in the St. Elizabeth Hospital Auxiliary, running the annual bazaar for years, and for decades she sewed Christmas stockings to present to babies born in December. Virginia led costumed historical tours from the Geyser Grand Hotel and was a Trail Tender at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. She was honored by the Baker County Chamber of Commerce as the Legacy Woman of the Year in 2012 for her significant contributions to the community. She was active in precinct and district politics and state conventions. She was a longtime member of First Presbyterian Church, and she volunteered for years as a fitness group leader at the Senior Center.
Preceded in death by her husband, Carl R. Kostol, and her sister, Frances Woski, Virginia is survived by her four children, who will miss her dearly: Carl (Pat) Kostol of Tigard, Teresa (Justin) Droessler of New Brighton MN, Cris Kostol (John Marble) of Crawfordsville, and Lars Kostol of Lebanon; grandchildren Casey Kostol, Brian (Allie) Kostol, Amy Fritz, Keith Kostol, Mark Droessler, and Kelly Kostol; and two great-grandchildren.
Ginny was always positive, often humming or whistling, always lending a helping hand or listening ear. There was never a situation that she couldn't add a positive spin to it and make people feel better. She loved to play bridge and golf (she had a memento of a Hole in One) and was a charter member of the Birthday Club. Married for 68 years, Ginny and Carl enjoyed skiing, fishing, weekends at the cabin, and Me 'n' You Dances together. When Carl retired, she persuaded him to go to the Big Island of Hawaii, and they continued to travel there for 20 winters and golf at various places in the spring and summer. A splendid write-up about her gracious encounter with biking strangers this year can be read at https://ta2020.bike/purpose-in-adventure-mckenzie-pass-and-94-yr-old/
Services will be scheduled at a later date when the COVID restrictions have been lifted. For those wishing to contribute in Virginia's memory, the family suggests the Salvation Army or the Baker County Historical Society through Coles Tribute Center at 1950 Place Street, Baker City, OR 97814.
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