Virginia Mae (Schaecher) Connelly of Moville died Tuesday, January 3, 2017, at a Sioux City hospital. She was 3 days shy of 95 years old.
Services were held at noon on Saturday, January 7 at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Moville. Burial was in Arlington Township Cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of McCulloch Chapel, Christy-Smith Funeral Home in Moville.
Virginia was born on January 6, 1922 in Lindsay, Nebraska, the first daughter of Leo and Clara Smith Schaecher. She was raised in Lindsay, graduating from Holy Family High School as valedictorian of her class in 1939.
She was united in marriage to Denis J. Connelly on July 13, 1941 at Holy Family Catholic Church in Lindsay. Virginia had graduated from cosmetology school in Omaha prior to her marriage to Denis, and they continued to live in Omaha after they were married. When Denis was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1942, Virginia followed him across the southern United States for the two years he was in training — living in various rented rooms, houses, and apartments.
When Denis left for Europe, Virginia went home to the Lindsay and Omaha areas. She worked in war plants, making ammunition and supporting any efforts for the war. Upon Denis’ discharge, they made their home in Bloomfield, Nebraska and Saunders County, Nebraska before moving to a farm southeast of Moville in 1950.
Virginia loved the farm life that was new to her. She was an avid gardener, raising vegetables and flowers, baking, cooking, and raising chickens and children on the farm before building Connelly’s Corner Drive-In in Moville in 1963.
Even before becoming a business owner, Virginia was always business-minded. She sold Avon, Minnesota Woolens clothing, and World Book Encyclopedias. She also taught piano lessons and sold farm produce and baked goods.
After retiring from the drive-in business, she became a writer and reporter for The Sioux City Journal.
She was always an avid reader, and she loved to write about real-life events and fiction stories. Even after she lived at the assisted living facility, she was published in Our Iowa magazine twice.
She became known for her artistic abilities. She did hundreds of tole painting projects for family, friends, and acquaintances, occasionally teaching classes in decorative painting.
Virginia and Denis loved camping and traveling all their married life. They had traveled to all 50 states. Their travels afforded her many opportunities to fulfill her hobby of collecting rocks. She loved to dance and never wanted to miss a good party.
Virginia’s lifelong Catholic faith was always a most important part of her life, as was her civic duty. In Moville, she was a member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, where she was the organist for many years, along with the Ladies Church Guild, Woman’s Club, and Garden Club. She was a charter member of S.M.I.L.E. Investment Club and a charter member of the Meadows Country Club board. She was also the first female member of the Moville City Council.
Virginia is survived by two sons, D. Michael (Linda) Connelly of Wilmington, N.C., and Bart (Pam) Connelly of McCook Lake, S.D.; two daughters, Patricia (Larry) Thomas of Ashland, Nebraska and Cynthia (Gary) Bogenrief of McCook Lake; 14 grandchildren: Camden (Michele) Connelly; Michael, Wyatt, and Brandon (Jodi) Connelly; Janie (Matt) Helt; Alison (Chris) Tierney; Jessica Thomas, Chris (Joy) Bogenrief; Tracy (Ryan) Meis; Aaron (Ali) Bogenrief; Ryan (Liz) Connelly; Nathan (Heidi) Connelly; Rachel Connelly; and Hannah Connelly; plus 19 great-grandchildren; one sister, MaryEllen (Glen) Wobig; and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband of 69 years; a grandson, Seth Thomas; and two sisters and their husbands, Kathleen and Roy Farris and LaVeeta and James Fuller.
The family wishes to thank the staff at Stoney Brooke Suites in Dakota Dunes, where Virginia made her home for nearly seven years, for all their thoughtful care.