|Virginia Vasilow Keppel died Dec. 24, 2011, in Gainesville, Fla.
Born in Washington, D.C., she grew up in Catskill, N.Y., and Ridgewood, N.J., where she graduated from Mt. Carmel School and Ridgewood High School. She received a degree from the State Teacher’s College in Newark, N.J., and taught kindergarten for six years in Plainfield, N.J., where she met her future husband, Reuben (“Kep”) Keppel, on a blind date. After their marriage in Plainfield in 1941, they lived in New Jersey, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., before moving to Gainesville in 1955 with their three children.
Virginia earned her BAE and Masters Degree at the University of Florida, and also completed advanced study for Certification in Supervision.
She worked in the Alachua County School System as a kindergarten teacher at Micanopy Junior High, J.J. Finley Elementary School, Littlewood Elementary School and Prairie View Elementary School. She was a curriculum coordinator for several county schools, and also served as an assistant principal at Littlewood and Prairie View.
She was asked to coordinate the newly organized Alachua County summer Head Start Program in 1966 and served as director in 1967. She was a member of the National and Florida Education Associations. She served as secretary and president of the Alachua County Classroom Teachers Association, president of the Association for Childhood Education (ACEI), state secretary for Florida Childhood Educational Society, and was a member and president of Beta Epsilon Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, Honorary Woman Educators Society. She was a member of the Florida and Alachua County Retired Teachers Associations. She was a member of the Woman’s Guild of Holy Faith Catholic Church.
After retiring in 1977, Virginia worked part time in an antique shop in Micanopy and volunteered with Alachua Habitat for Humanity.
She is survived by her daughter, Margaret Johnson (Carl), of Gainesville; grandson Kevin Johnson (Lorien) of Tampa; grandson Brian Johnson (Katrina) of Tampa; grandson Darren Johnson (Jennifer) of Gainesville; granddaughter Kristin Johnson of Washington, D.C.; and five great grandchildren.
She was pre-deceased by her husband, Reuben; two sons, David Arthur Keppel and Douglas John Keppel; a grandson, Douglas John Keppel, Jr.; three sisters, Marian Willsey and Julia Hall of Orlando and Rosanna Wilson of Gainesville; and a brother, Willchris Vasilow of Warren, N.J.
A visitation will be held Thursday, Dec. 29, from 5-7 p.m. at Forest Meadows Funeral Home, 725 NW 23rd Ave., Gainesville, FL. A memorial service will be held Friday, Dec. 30, at 2:30 p.m. at The Village Chapel, 8000 NW 27th Blvd., Gainesville, FL, with a visitation an hour before. Burial will follow at Forest Meadows Memorial Park West. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Alachua Habitat for Humanity (alachuahabitat.org) or a charity of your choice.
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