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Life Story / Obituary
Virginia Pitsenbarger Agne
4/15/28 – 5/2/16
Virginia was the older of two children born to Esther Smoot Pitsenbarger and Clarence Edward Pitsenbarger. She grew up in Versailles, Ohio with her sister, Gail (Brandewie) and their parents and lived there until she married the love of her life, Donald Augustus Agne, on June 6, 1948.
Virginia earned the title of Valedictorian and also prom queen during her high school years and had many dear girl friends with whom she spent her days. One of their favorite places to go was Spring Hill Lodge on Stillwater Creek. They often walked or rode their bicycles the few miles southwest of Versailles to spend the day or night fishing, hiking, talking and enjoying their young lives.
Virginia was blessed with music throughout her life. Her mother, who was a music teacher at home and in the Versailles School system, taught her to play the violin and piano. Their home was filled with music on many occasions when the cousins would visit. If they weren’t playing recorders, they were singing or playing other instruments with the piano.
Virginia and Don met at Miami University in Ohio where they both played trombone in the band. After getting married, Don’s first job as band director took them to Eaton, Ohio, where they lived when Gail Angela, the first of their four children was born. A few years later they found themselves in Hicksville, Ohio with a different band director position for Don. It was here that Donald Edward was born. After living in Hicksville a few years, they moved their young family to Plainwell, Michigan, where Don accepted the position of band director for the Plainwell Community School district. It was in Plainwell where their third and fourth children, Daniel Elliot and Elizabeth Ellen, were born, two years apart.
Virginia and Don were devoted members of the First Presbyterian Church in Plainwell and became deeply involved with the music ministry. Don was the adult choir director and Virginia taught music for the Sunday School children. She loved working with the children on Sunday mornings and also during Bible School each summer. She led the Junior Choir in song, as well, so they could share in the music during Sunday morning worship.
She became an integral part of the Plainwell Community School district when she started teaching Third Grade at Cooper Elementary School. After discovering her music skills during that year, the school district asked her to be the Elementary School Music teacher, a job which encompassed three elementary schools within the district; Cooper, Starr and Gilkey. There were times when she needed to attend to all three school buildings at their three different locations on the same day. During each school year, at special times, she brought all of the classrooms at each individual school together in the gymnasium to sing and perform for each other. She would often accompany the children on piano, autoharp or ukulele. Plays were acted under her direction at each of the schools, as well. Several times in her career, she organized a large event for the students from all three elementary schools to meet in the high school gym for a “Sing”. Her students and friends were enriched by these wonderful experiences and gained fond memories because of her love for God, music and children.
Even though music was an immense part of her life, she had many other interests too. She enjoyed oil painting, as did her mother. Many of her friends and family members’ homes have been accented with her barn pictures, a landscape, or possibly a still life. Quilting brought her much joy. She especially loved being able to participate in the weekly quilting group in the church basement with some of her dear Plainwell friends.
At home, in the summertime, she picked something from the garden, almost daily, to have for lunch or dinner. When the corn was ready, she and Don picked it, cut the kernels off the cob and froze many bags of the yellow gold for future meals. Peas, beans, asparagus, and strawberries were frozen or canned in their time too. The kitchen steamed with a sugary humidity as she made her jams, jellies and maple syrup in the spring and summer time. When someone was new to the church, or sick and needed assistance, she somehow found time to make a meal, bake a cake, a pie or maybe some of her wonderful homemade bread and delivered it to them personally. Music continued into her home life, of course. She knew a song or a poem for every occasion. Her fingers often drummed silently to the rhythm of a song, or perhaps they were playing the keys on an imaginary piano in her mind.
Her children and their children were special and important in her life. She sang to them and recited poetry as she put them to bed. She loved to have a child on her lap to share a book. As they grew older, the grandchildren sang with her while they helped her in the kitchen.
She humbly proved herself as an artist and a Christian in many ways every day. Everyone who knew her experienced her kind smile, sunny personality and her generous, loving spirit.
Her family and friends can be happy for her now, knowing that she is free of this world’s discomforts and worries. Virginia is now reunited with her best friend and husband, Don, whom she loved with all of her heart, mind and soul, and also is reunited with her dear mother who was such an inspiration and friend to her.
Virginia is preceded in death by her loving husband, Donald Augustus Agne and her parents: Clarence Pitsenbarger and Esther Smoot Pitsenbarger
She is survived by her sister: Gail Brandewie; her children: Gail A. Toda (Shig), Donald E. Agne (Naomi), Daniel E. Agne (Deb), Elizabeth E. Agne (Jim McKinley); her grandchildren: Angela Jobe, Allison Maddox, Erinn Agne, Robin Kessler, Lauren Zuckerberg, Ian Agne, Emily McKittrick, Camille Woodruff, Sen Toda; and her great grandchildren: Emma Maddox, Cooper Maddox, Jackson Jobe, Thomas McKittrick and Joseph McKittrick.
A memorial service will be held on 2 p.m. Friday, August 5, 2016 at the First Presbyterian Church in Plainwell.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alamo Nursing Home in Alamo, Michigan.