Virginia Yankee, 95, of River Falls, Wisconsin

Virginia A. Yankee, 95, mother of a Spring Valley woman, died Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020, at River Falls Area Hospital in River Falls, Wisconsin. 

She was born Aug. 21, 1924, in Ashland, Wisconsin, to Ernest and Anna (Tedlund) Lofblad.  On March 1, 1948, she was given in marriage to Ervin A. Yankee.  The couple resided in Ashland for most of their married lives. Later in life they lived for 10 years in their cabin in rural Barnes, Wisconsin.  They returned to live in Ashland until Ervin’s death in 2010.  Virginia continued to live in Ashland until 2015 when she began to reside in Minnesota with her daughters. 

In the early days, Virginia was taught about Jesus’ sacrifice for her while growing up in her parents’ home.  As a child she attended Sunday school at Bethany Baptist Church in Mason. She was baptized and became a member of Salem Baptist Church in Ashland.  Later, she attended Great Divide Christian Center in Grandview, Wisconsin, where she served for many years as a pianist, sang with the choir and participated in special musical numbers.

Virginia worked to earn money for school even as a child.  She and her siblings picked blueberries in the summer and sold them.  The money they earned paid for their school clothes.

At the young age of 16, she and some of her friends and sisters traveled to Chicago to nanny for wealthy families.   Virginia, also known as Honey, was notably employed with her sister, Anna, at Globe Shipyards in Superior, Wisconsin, as a welder during World War II.  She also worked as a maid at Forest Lodge on Lake Namakagon, Wisconsin, where she met her husband, who worked there as the gardener.

She pursued a career in nursing and used it most of her adult life as a nurse’s aide and later as a licensed practical nurse.  Her work in hospitals and nursing homes prompted her to establish and manage Yankee Nursing Home in Ashland.  She owned and operated an antique shop, The Trading Post, on Main Street in Ashland.  She served others in her nursing capacity until she retired at 80 years of age.

Virginia graduated from Drummond High School and the Vocational School in Superior in welding and in practical nursing.  She became licensed as a nursing home administrator. She taught herself to play guitar and piano. She enjoyed oil-painting, doll and antique collecting.

She is survived by her four children, Wendy (Randy) Grabau of Spring Valley, Jim (Ruth) Yankee of Elk River, Minn., Kathy (Dennis) Aronson of Hudson, Wisconsin, and Richard (Laura) Yankee of Ashland; 12 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her husband, her parents; one brother, Hjalmar Lofblad, and four sisters, Mildred Meirhofer, Dorothy Gunderson, Anna Gunderson and Katherine Lofblad.

Funeral services were Saturday, Jan. 11, at Roberts Funeral Home and Cremation Services in Ashland with the Rev. Julie Burmeister officiating.

Graveside services will take place in the spring at the Mason Cemetery.  Bratley Family Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.