September 25, 1930 - May 19, 2012
A journey that began in Ottomwa, Iowa during the Great Depression ended May 19, when Virginia Alice Kilgore, a longtime resident of Redondo Beach, lost her battle with Parkinson's disease at the age of 81. Virginia lead a beautiful life. She was generous with her time and affection, adamant about education, dedicated to her family and enthusiastic about travel and the arts. A loving and devoted daughter, sister, wife, mother and grandmother, she shared her vibrant smile with all who knew her.
Virginia lived by the sea for 80 years, beginning as a toddler when her family moved to Manhattan Beach. "My sister and I and our dog, Spico, swam in the ocean daily, summer or winter," she recalled, and her love for the beach cities never waned.
Virginia graduated from George Washington High School in 1948, and was an Honored Queen of Job's Daughters, Bethel 36. She studied apparel design at UCLA receiving her B.A. in 1952 and worked as a designer at Rhodes Sportswear of Los Angeles. That same year she married her high school sweetheart, her "prince," Louis C. Kilgore. She loved to share the story of the first time they met, in geometry class. Instantly smitten with the beautiful Virginia, he proposed on bended knee. She said yes. She always delighted in the fact that what started as a teenage jest became a dream come true for more than 60 years. As newlyweds they lived near the Strand in Hermosa, body surfing and enjoying life at the beach before finally settling down in the Hollywood Riviera, where they raised three children.
Virginia's greatest joy was helping others learn and grow. She earned her teaching credential from Pepperdine Unversity and was a much loved educator in the Hawthorne, Lawndale and Wiseburn School Districts, teaching 5th and 2nd grade for decades. She went on to become a Master Teacher, was twice Faculty Association President, and served as representative to national NEA conventions. After her retirement in 1991, she and her "prince" traveled far and wide and made many visits to Hawaii, Alaska, Europe, and Asia until Parkinson's slowed her down. She never lost her bright eyes and winning smile, remaining her sweet self throughout her brave struggle.
The family asks that if you had the privilege of knowing Virginia, please close your eyes, and remember the experiences you shared with her. Smile, and let those memories keep her alive in your heart. "We will miss her always and forever, for her kindness, for her love, and for her generous laughter at even our worst jokes."
Virginia is survived by her husband of sixty years, Louis C. Kilgore of Redondo Beach, CA, daughters Lauren Kilgore of San Pedro, CA and Juila Kilgore-Brent of Santa Barbara, CA, and by her beloved grandchildren Forrest and Alexandra Brent, of whom she was so proud. Her parents, Alice and Gordon Kanouff, sister Kathryn Kanouff Watrous, and son Douglas James Kilgore went on before her.
A Celebration of Life honoring Virginia will be held at Manhattan Beach Community Church Saturday, June 16, 2012 at 10:30 am. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Parkinson's Foundation.
Virginia's journey may be at an end, but her spirit lives on in those she guided through life and touched with her warmth and grace.