Virginia S. Dunkle

Honored by:R.B. Thompson
Brick location:E:16  map

Virginia Schaaf Dunkle 1913-1993

Virginia Schaaf Dunkle lived a life full of family, friends, politics and community service. Virginia had an extroverted personality and an extremely positive attitude toward life and people. Bringing out the best in others was one of her many talents. Even though illness and disability marred the last few years of her life, friends would comment that when they went to "cheer up" Virginia they were the ones who were cheered by the visits. Even in ill health, Virginia was always sincerely interested in others; one friend described her as "interested and interesting."

Born on April 28, 1913, in Sioux City, Iowa, Virginia traveled to California as a young woman, where she pursued her career as a department store buyer. Her interest in adventure and willingness to travel alone to seek employment in California were somewhat unusual for young women of her time. In California, Virginia met William Kerr Dunkle and they were married on October 12, 1939. They had two children: William A. Dunkle and Elizabeth Ann Thompson.

Interest and activity in Republican politics and community service were both important themes in Virginia's life. She was an active volunteer in the California Republican party for more than 40 years. As founder of the Ventura Friends of the Library, she established an organization that was to have a profound effect on both resource allocation and political involvement for the Ventura Libraries.

In addition to her work in politics and with libraries, Virginia was an active leader in PTA work, the American Field Service, PEO, the Ventura Girls' Club and other community organizations.

Virginia was an avid reader; her interest in current events was contagious and her knowledge of current events somewhat humbling to others. She inspired and encouraged others to take an active interest in politics and current affairs and is thus a most appropriate heroine for the Carrie Chapman Catt Center Plaza of Heroines. In fact, Virginia's granddaughter, Amy Adair Thompson, announced at Virginia's memorial service that grandmother would always be her personal heroine.

Virgina Schaaf Dunkle died in 1993; she died peacefully in the hospital two weeks after falling and breaking her hip. As one good friend remarked "Virginia slipped away from us with her unending dignity."