Honoring Tradition.
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Virginia Simon

March 25, 1947 - August 10, 2023
Grand Rapids, MI


Life Story / Obituary


Virginia Simon was a woman with perseverance. She was outgoing and fun, loved being with her family, and overcame obstacles that came her way, no matter how massive.

Following the resolution of World War II, many families around the world felt more at ease and looked to grow. On March 25, 1947, Joseph and Virginia Sturgeon welcomed their second child, Virginia, into their home in Columbus, Ohio.

Virginia was recognized as legally blind from birth, but this only instilled within her a tremendous drive and grit to figure out how to accomplish things on her own, devoting herself to learning all the skills that could help her. She often went by "Ginia" when she was younger to distinguish herself apart from her mother. Her parents had one more child, leaving her as the middle child between her older sister, Judy, and her younger brother, John. When they were young, their father took a job transfer within the Federal Aviation Administration to Grand Rapids. The family settled down on the southeast side of town before moving to Alger Heights.

Virginia's schooling began at Alger Elementary, but before long, the family relocated again, now to Battle Creek, and from Lakeview High School Virginia graduated. She went back to Grand Rapids for beauty school, before applying her knowledge and working at a salon for many years.

While living downtown, she met Al Simon, and their relationship deepened and blossomed into a marriage. Together they valued time with family above all else. Virginia hosted her nieces to stay for overnights at every available opportunity. She loved having a good time with them. Whether she was cutting their hair, or taking them to go sledding in the winter, Virginia was always the "fun aunt."

After she and Al got a divorce, Virginia decided to go back to school, enrolling in classes at Western Michigan University, overcoming every challenge, no matter how difficult, and she graduated Summa Cum Laude. Right out of the gate, she knew her mission was to provide aid to those suffering from visual impairment. Her windy path led her to become a receptionist for social services. All her co-workers benefited from her lively, social spirit, but she did have a stubborn and headstrong attitude, acquired from her lifelong battle, along with her many victories, against blindness. Virginia always knew what she wanted, and she marched down whatever road she had to take.

Virginia enjoyed traveling, particularly with a travel group. She came to visit a variety of places that stayed with her for life in memory. Of course, Virginia also cherished her quiet time at home with her beloved cats—she was a lifelong cat-lover. Virginia had the acute and intuitive ability of artistry. She enjoyed all forms of art as an observer, loved creating drawings with colored pencils and acrylics, and was a particularly beautiful and subtle poet, penning several vivid poems.

Over time, Virginia required assistance with everyday tasks, and as a variety of health issues continued to expound, life became much more of a challenge. Through it all, Virginia persevered, remaining strong with stubbornness. Those impacted by her absence may find solace in her attitude that made obstacles quake, her spirit of fun, her yearning to enjoy time with family, and her creation of art, along with every memory. As long as they remain in her loved one's hearts and minds, her spirit remains alive.

Virginia Alane Simon, age 76 of Grand Rapids, passed away on August 10, 2023. Virginia was preceded in death by her parents Joseph and Virginia Sturgeon, as well as her brother, John Sturgeon. Virginia is survived by her sister, Judy Fetterhoff; nieces Kathy (Stephen) Brower, Amy (Jeff) Mills, Christine (Bob) Franks; grand-nieces and grand-nephews; and her former husband, Al Simon.

To read more about Virginia, share a memory, or sign her guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com