|No. 405: Virginia Marie Moss, pencil/graphite, March 2018|
I work for a newspaper, and we publish a dozen or so obituaries each day. For 32 years I have wondered why families choose to run a decades-old photo of their loved one.
Now I finally get it.
Recently I was asked to draw a friend’s mother, who was 88. The photo sent to me, and printed in The Vindicator newspaper of Youngstown, was from the early 1950s, I’d guess.
The face in that photo is stunning. A perfect complexion, high cheekbones, dark eyes, lovely hair. Without knowing any background I thought she looked like a jazz singer.
Turns out, she was.
Her name was Virginia Marie (Vallinger) Moss, and she loved to sing and dance. During the late '40s to the early '50s, Virginia was a big band singer (soloist) with the Jones Hall Symphony Orchestra at Youngstown College (now Youngstown State University) and the Joe Peterson Orchestra. She also enjoyed singing at the Elms Ballroom and for troops through the USO program. She also taught ballroom dancing at the Del Castle Dance Studio.
I was told that she liked white wood. She had her husband, Victor Paul Moss, antique white all of the furniture through the years. Upon learning this, I decided to whitewash an old and heavy frame. I sent photos to her daughter, who approved.
This is the short version of her long life, though the most important:
“Jeannie” was born June 6, 1929, in Youngstown, the daughter of Francis and Genevieve (Presby) Vallinger. She was a 1947 graduate of Wilson High School, where she was a cheerleader and a member of the National Honor Society.
Virginia worked for General Fireproofing as an executive secretary in the sales department. She later left GF to raise her family. While raising her family Virginia also worked alongside her husband, where they owned and operated C&V Wholesalers, LLC -- which remains to this day in Youngstown and North Jackson.
Victor, whom she married Aug. 27, 1955, died March 20, 2010.
She is survived by her two daughters, Paula Moss-Sander of Canfield, and Pamela Root of Berlin Center; a son, Victor Peter (Debra) Moss of North Jackson; a sister, Carol (Robert) Huck of Poland; four grandsons, Victor Patrick Moss, Conrad Sander, Ryan (Caitlin) Moss and Evan Sander; great-granddaughter Eva Leigh Moss; and several nieces and nephews.
She was also preceded in death by her parents and a sister, Pauline Kaminski.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that material tributes take the form of donations to Hospice of the Valley, 5190 Market St. Boardman, OH 44512.