Virginia Belle Bagwell Griffis was born Dec. 7, 1920, to Clinton R. Bagwell and Edna Virginia Lewis Bagwell in Roy, New Mexico.
When she was three years old, the family moved to East Los Angeles, California, where Virginia lived until her marriage in 1942.
She went home to Glory on June 1, 2010.
She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, two sisters, one brother, a son, and a great-grandson.
While attending LIFE Bible College in Los Angeles, California, Virginia won the heart of J.Lee Griffis from Tipton, Iowa.
Following their graduation from LIFE Bible College in 1941, Lee returned home to Iowa.
They corresponded for several months and their love for each other flourished.
Lee sent Virginia an engagement ring in the mail; she responded yes to the proposal; a wedding date was set; her church family had a bridal shower for the happy couple.
Those gifts were packed in her cedar chest which was shipped to Lee in Tipton, Iowa prior to the wedding.
Virginia rode the Santa Fe train through Trinidad, Colorado, Kansas City, Kansas and then on to Galesburg, Ill., where she was met at the train station by her beloved Lee on May 15, 1942.
They were married on May 22, 1942, in the Foursquare Church in Tipton, Iowa. Rev. O.E. Ghere officiated; Dr. and Mrs. Howard P. Courtney were witnesses.
Four children were born to Virginia and Lee: Lou (Don) Watson, who lives in Greencastle and who has been Virginia's primary caregiver since her retirement at the age of 80; Paul (Ann) who pastors in Springfield, Ill.; Jennie (Jerry) King, who lives in Indianapolis.
Robert Lee preceded her in death.
The children have blessed her with wonderful grandchildren and great grandchildren and one great great -grandchild.
Grandchildren are Donnie L. (Jolene) Watson of Greencastle, Indiana, Danny (Lee Ann) Watson of Monmouth, Ill.; Angela (Aaron) Compton of Mt. Vernon, Ohio; Pamela (Scott) Bortner of Thomasville, Pa.; Beth (Brad) Jones of Mt. Vernon, Ohio; Jill (Jose) King-Perez of Beech Grove; Jessica (Matthew) Lehman of Indianapolis; great-grandchildren are Brandon (Jessica) Watson of Greencastle, Kyle (Nicole) Watson of Limedale, Amanda Watson of Greencastle, Brittany, Amy, Watson of Monmouth, Ill.; Alex, Ashley Compton of Mt Vernon, Ohio: Nicholas (deceased), Luke, Logan Bortner of Thomasville, Pa.; Cadence, Braelyn Jones of Mt. Vernon, Ohio; Jerry Reyes, Amaris Perez of Beech Grove.
She has one great great-granddaughter, Brylynn Hirt of Limedale; seven step-great-grandchildren, Austin, Jacob Compton, Monyca, Kyrsten, Bolton, Kashton, Hunter Jones, all of Mount Vernon, Ohio.
Virginia was ordained into ministry in 1941. She and Lee co-pastored several congregations during their 37 years of ministry together, which included churches in Vandalia, Iowa; Lake Fork, Ill.; East Orwell, Ohio; Chico, Calif.; Chariton, Iowa; Petersburg, Ill.; Muscatine, Iowa; Rochelle, Ill.; Indianapolis and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Following the death of Lee in 1978, Virginia moved to Monmouth, Ill., to be near her family. She worked at the local YMCA for 22 years, during which time she became known as "Grandma of the Y", before retiring at the age of 80.
She was living at Hickory Creek at Sunset in Greencastle at the time of her death.
Funeral Services will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday at New Life Foursquare Church in Monmouth, Ill.; graveside services and burial will be 11 a.m. on Saturday at the Masonic Cemetery in Tipton, Iowa.
Memorial contributions may be made in her honor to New Hope Fellowship, 1577 Hwy 231 N. Greencastle, IN. 46135.
Condolences may be shared with the family at www.hopkins-rector.com.