Virginia Lee Hayes Mills, passed peacefully at the impressive age of 96 on June 27, 2015. She has resided at The Cliffs at Eagle Rock Assisted Living Facility in West Orange, NJ for the past 4 years.
Virginia was born on February 23, 1919 in Osage City, KS to Clifford and Lillian Ashbaugh, raised in Newton, KS and graduated from Emporia State Teachers College. She later received her Master’s +30 from Pittsburg Kansas State College. She met her husband, Virgil Hayes, while playing tennis at college and they were married in 1941. Virginia and Virgil moved to Carthage MO. after Virgil returned from World War II. Virginia taught Girl’s Physical Education at Carthage High School for 20 years and is fondly remembered for her enthusiasm and originality as the sponsor for the Carthage Cheerleaders and the creator of the precision drill team, “The Carthajets.”
Virginia and Virgil moved back to Newton KS in 1968 and Virginia taught in the Newton school system for another 21 years. Virginia enjoyed traveling abroad and was always searching for innovative ways to inspire and educate her students. She enhanced her classroom at Santa Fe Middle School with the addition of a full greenhouse maintained by her students. She also incorporated a “pen pal letter exchange” with Peruvian students in South America. Virginia also had many close friends and loved not only playing bridge but also teaching bridge to her friends. She was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Newton KS. Virgil died in 1984.
Virginia later married Allan Mills, a childhood acquaintance from Newton, KS. Virginia often told the story of how she and Allan lived across the street from one another when they were just 5 years old. Both were forbidden by their parents to cross East 1st Street; so, as the story goes, Virginia and Allan, as 5 year olds, sat on the curb, threw a ball across the street to one another just for fun, and married each other 70 years later in 1989. Virginia and Allan enjoyed many years of active retirement and travel and were married for 22 years.
Gee Gee, as she was fondly named by her family, will always be remembered by her children and grand-children for her “Candle Parties” held in the evening on her back porch. In the summer months, family members would gather after dinner on the back porch of her home in Newton. Each would find a chairs or the comfy couch, sit back, relax, and listen for the evening sounds made by the crickets, katydids, or a far off train, all heard thru the sweet light of your many lit candles. Thank you, Gee Gee, for these memories.. “Candle Parties” will always continue on our porches across America.
Virginia is survived by 2 daughters; Jan Smith-Meyer of Lanoka Harbor NJ and Kristi Danegger of West Hartford, CT, and a sister and brother-in-law Kathy and Arnold Nye of Newton, KS. Virginia has 6 grandchildren; Shea Augustine of Scottsdale AZ, Mandy Houpt of Bayfield, CO., and Justin Smith of San Francisco, CA, Brittani McMillian of Morgantown WV and Ben Danegger of West Hartford, CT. and Brett Danegger of Hartford CT. . Virginia has 5 great-grandchildren; Lexi, Justin and Reece Augustine of Scottsdale AZ. and Taj and Lily Rose Houpt of Bayfield CO. She is also survived by 2 nephews, Greg Nye of Newton KS., Chris Nye of Caldwell ID., and a niece Pam Behymer of Newton KS.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Alzheimer’s Foundation in care of Broadway Colonial Funeral Home, 120 E. Broadway Newton KS 67114.
Virginia’s family, friends and students are all welcome to attend the inurnment of Saturday, August 15th at 11:30 am at the Greenwood Cemetery in Newton.
The Celebration of Life Gathering will be held later that evening, August 15 at the Meridian Center on Broadway in Newton from 6:00 to 9:00 pm with a short video of Virginia’s life shown at 7:00 pm. Refreshments will be served and all are welcome.