Virginia J. Esswein, 76, Chetek, Wis., passed away peacefully at her home while surrounded by family after a long illness on Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019. She recently celebrated her 55th wedding anniversary to her beloved husband, James L. Esswein.
Virginia was born at Milwaukee on Feb. 8, 1943, to Elizabeth B. (Schlitt) and Henry A. DeWerth. Ginny graduated from Wauwatosa East High School in December 1960. She attended college at UW-Milwaukee and then transferred to UW-Madison, where she was a member of Alpha Xi Delta and graduated from the School of Physical Therapy in 1964.
Virginia married James on Sept. 26, 1964, and they settled in Chetek in 1969. She served the community as a physical therapist and established the department of physical therapy at the Barron Community Memorial Hospital.
She also worked for Knapp Haven Nursing Home and Cooperative Educational Service Agency (CESA) until retirement in 2000. Active in her community, she served her church and was a member of the Eastern Star.
Virginia and James enjoyed retirement by establishing a year-round residence on Bark Bay between Cornucopia and Herbster, Wis. She enjoyed traveling to Germany, Arizona, New Mexico, Australia, Alaska and Canada, and multiple trips visiting family and friends. Throughout her life, family was the most important.
Ginny enjoyed gardening, Hardanger, ceramics, stained glass, and playing and teaching piano. She was interested in learning many new crafting techniques. Some of her favorite ventures were making gingerbread houses with the grandchildren at Christmas and creating photo quilts for each grandchild upon their high school graduation.
Surviving, in addition to her husband, are children Barbara (James) Cropp of Janesville, Brian (Carolyn) of Wauwatosa and Becky (Sid) Baccam of Bel Air, Md.; grandchildren Cassandra, Collin, and Connor Cropp, Taylor and Parker Esswein, and Isaac Baccam; and a brother Gordon DeWerth of Framingham, Mass.
Virginia was preceded in death by her parents.
A celebration of life will be held from Chetek United Methodist Church at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5. Visitation will be held an hour prior to the services. Please join the family for lunch and continued visitation in the church community room following the service.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, 230 E Ohio St., Ste. 500, Chicago, IL 60611.
Burnham-Ours-Kolstad Family Funeral Home, Chetek, is handling arrangements.