In Memoriam: Virginia Lida Kohls
Ginny was born at Alexandria Hospital on April 22, 1946. She grew up on Backlick Road, back when it was still a dirt road, between Annandale and Springfield where her family lived on 8 acres. When she became a teenager, she had her first horse named Cherokee. She rode Cherokee in horse show competitions and enjoyed riding very much. She was very active in 4H and became very knowledgeable about horses which served her well when we acquired our own horses in the early 80’s.
I met Ginny babysitting. I was living with a Navy Band family, Bill & Betty Murray and their two children. Since we had concerts in DC every Friday, and Bill’s wife was a church organist with choir practice on Fridays, they needed a babysitter to watch their two kids. Bill suggested I go and pick up their babysitter, Ginny, before Bill and I left for the concert about 6:45. Betty’s choir rehearsal would run later so Ginny baby sat for only about an hour or 2 before we returned from the concert. Then when Betty arrived, usually with pizza’s, the 4 of us played Hearts until midnight or 1AM. Ginny’s folks often wondered why she was babysitting for 6 hours and only made $1. Babysitting rates were 50 cents an hour back then. After a few months we started dating. Her folks were pretty strict; She could only go on a date 1 night per week. If she went to a concert I was playing, that counted as the date for the week. We dated for several years and became engaged in May 1964. We were married on June 26, 1965 at Truro Episcopal Church in Fairfax on a beautiful, sunny but mild day.
Upon graduation from Annandale High School in 1964, Ginny took a job with the Federal Government working in the steno pool at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in DC. She quickly moved up and became an employee development specialist where she enjoyed teaching classes and workshops for the staff at St. Elizabeth’s. Our son, Kurt, was born in Dec, 1970. She stopped working full time at St. Elizabeth’s toward the end of 1971. She took a part time job with the Fabic Man fabric store and soon after she was hired, was sent out to be the job estimator for homes and businesses. She would go to homes and businesses and work with them offering suggestions for draperies, etc and give them an estimate for the job. She learned a lot working at the fabric store and really had a passion for sewing. She made her own wedding dress as well as many of her own clothes, some shirts for me, clothes and costumes for the kids, and window treatments for our home. She really enjoyed this job too.
Tina was born in Aug 1973 and Ginny continued to work part time at the fabric store. She really enjoyed being with Kurt & Tina through all the cute changes kids go through.
By the early 80’s, horses were coming back in Ginny’s life. She started leasing a horse at a local stable and got the kids interested in horses too. She always had a knack for finding ideal opportunities. At that stable, she became friends with Deb Bennett. Deb had a little white pony, Rockett, that was a perfect size for our kids. Kurt and Tina began riding Rockett and Deb allowed us to utilize her truck and trailer enabling us to get the kids into Pony club. Before we knew it, we were buying our first horse as Kurt and Tina became more and more involved in Pony Club, including going to Pony Club Nationals each year. That was always a fun vacation; they were held in either Lexingotn, KY, or Culpeper, VA but it was fun to renew friendships from all over the country. As the kids progressed through the levels in Pony Club, the type of horses they needed would change. We slowly began acquiring more horses. Again with her knack for opportunity, one day when she was at the stable, a young man came in search of someone interested in bringing their horses to his mother’s property in Alexandria board-free in exchange for maintaining the property. Since our number of horses was multiplying, this was a dream opportunity. Ginny really enjoyed having the property to herself. There were 2 separate barns and a large hay loft that the kids enjoyed playing in. This was her first taste of having her own stable.
As the kids began graduating High School in the late 80’s, Ginny continued to stay connected with the many friends she had made through Pony Club by taking pictures at the horse events and making the pictures available for purchase to the riders. She ran her Horse event business for over 10 years and thoroughly enjoyed taking pictures at the events. Even though it was hard work and long hours some days, she still enjoyed going to the events.
In 2001, she found a property for sale with 3 acres and a barn. Up until now, she had boarded our horses at Ft Belvoir or Quantico which meant driving twice a day to feed them. She had been looking for a house where she could have her horses on our property and now she found one. We put in an offer and it was accepted so we moved in early in 2002. By summer we had the fences repaired and the barn working and we brought our horses to the house. She really enjoyed the antics of the horses. She was able to always have an eye on them because our dining room window over looked the barn and paddocks. This was her ultimate dream. She was so excited when we moved here and really loved it. She had been an avid member of the North Springfield Garden club and really put her talents to use creating garden beds and sitting areas for us to enjoy the tranquility of this lovely property.
Both our children have married and have their own kids and we have all enjoyed many visits together over the years. Kurt and his wife, Lynne, have two boys, Jacob 13, and Daniel 10. Tina and her husband, Vern, also have two boys, Tyler 5 ½, and Adam 4. Ginny really loved our grandkids. We had many opportunities to spend time with them at the pool, watching them in various sports, and on vacations. Until recently, Kurt and Tina both lived local to us and we had frequent gatherings at their homes. Ginny thoroughly enjoyed her time with our kids and the grandkids; We would often talk about the neat things they were doing and how quickly they were growing. She was extremely proud of Kurt and Tina and their families.
Ginny was enjoying everything life has given her right up until she suffered her stroke on May 23, 2013. And even after the stroke, when she was staying at Sunrise, she still had her happy, outgoing personality, and taking part in all of the activities at Sunrise.