Virginia “Gigi,” “Ginny” was born on June 3, 1926 in South Waverly, Pennsylvania, the youngest of five children of Joseph and Domenica (Minnie) Cocco Tomasso. She graduated from Waverly High School in 1944 and entered the federal Cadet Nurse Program at Sisters of Charity Hospital in Pensacola, Florida. She, and two of her life-long friends, carefully selected this program together based on the highlighted directive in the school pamphlet to bring four party dresses. She completed training in 1946 and became an RN, remaining in Pensacola to work.
In 1949 she met her future husband, Jim, a Navy pilot on a blind date. Jim and Virginia were married in Pensacola in June 1950. The following years were spent as a Navy wife traveling back and forth across the country to many duty stations, raising four children, forming new friendships, packing and unpacking. The itinerant life of the military can be hard, Virginia’s happy spirit made it work for her family.
After 22 years of service, Jim retired from the Navy, and they moved to Falls Church, Virginia. Virginia returned to her nursing career. Their children finished high school, and college and left home. In 1985 Jim and Virginia retired to Brookings, Oregon to live on a cliff overlooking the ocean. They were active in community life there joining the Elks, volunteering with Habit for Humanity, working in local politics, hatching Steelhead trout, and a variety of other civic activities – for them every commitment was a joint-effort.
Virginia was a loving and much-loved wife, mother and grandmother. She was a hard worker, but was always up for a break and a box of chocolate, she was a great cook, especially during her “gourmet” phase in the 70’s. She enjoyed golf, she knitted, sewed, refinished furniture, re-upholstered furniture, and helped with the many DIY home improvement projects Jim came up with. She was unstinting in her attention and love for her grandchildren – sewing quilts, and stuffed dolls, and sending endless quirky gifts and cards.
She was pre-deceased by her beloved husband, of 67 years, Jim; grandson, John Gabriel Muller; her sisters, Lena Daugherty, Ann (Mike) DeSisti, Charlotte (Gerry) Wilcox; sister-in-law, Janet Lehr Tomasso; and nieces, Susan Daugherty, and Carol (David) Keeffe. She is survived by her son, Bill Collis of Chonburi, Thailand; daughter, Sandra (John) Muller of Suffolk, Virginia; daughter, Lisa Collis (Mark Warner) of Alexandria, Virginia; son, Jim Jr. (Sue) Collis of Simi Valley, California; and seven grandchildren, Rebecca Soule and her husband, Nathan, Faith Muller, Madison Warner, Gillian Warner, Eliza Warner, Jack Collis and Graham Collis; and two great-grandchildren, Luke and River Soule. She is also survived by her brother, Louis (Rita) Tomasso; seven nieces and two nephews.