Virgie L. Keener, 98, had purpose throughout her long life in sync with the gift of serving. Born in Rapho Township, Lancaster County, PA, on June 7, 1924, to Walter D., Sr. and Ada B. Keener. Virgie died January 28, 2023, at the Mennonite Home from where she had retired at the age of 71 after 32 years’ employment.
Besides parents, Virgie was pre-deceased by siblings Edwin, Samuel, Mary Miller, Walter Jr., John, A. Lincoln and seven nieces and nephews. Surviving her are siblings Harold Keener, Helen Hess (James), Barbara Reed and a sister-in-law, Olive, as well as most of her siblings’ children, grand and great-grandchildren.
Virgie was very much one-of-a-kind, happily content as a single adult while cherishing others’ celebrations of marriage and new life. There was only one Virgie and she will be deeply missed, not only by family but friends whom she had also blessed and who loved her in return: Helen Haldeman, the Bill Scott family and Janet Patton, conveyor of fabrics to Virgie and boxes of cut patches from Virgie to sewing teams. Before – and sometimes even after - graduating from the University of Philadelphia Graduate School of Practical Nursing
, many families benefitted from her caring help, especially on the occasion of a new baby in the home. Three children in countries south of the border were blessed by her sponsorship through Compassion International; one of the three received a visit as did her sister Barbara’s family in Somalia in 1971.
With appreciation for floral beauty, altar arrangements in earlier years at Elizabethtown Mennonite Church, where she was a member, were often arranged and placed by Virgie.
Thousands of beautiful bed comforters have gone “in the name of Christ” from Mennonite Central Committee to bless people in far reaches of the earth. Of those, hundreds were because Virgie, almost to her last breath, cut precise patches from fabrics which both Elizabethtown and Erisman Mennonite Sewing Circles provided. Her nephew, James Keener & his late spouse, Sara Ann, for many years designed and sewed patches together, with Erisman women energetically accepting much more responsibility for all steps of the process when others could not continue.
A service of remembrance will be held at Elizabethtown Mennonite Church, 300 South Spruce Street, Elizabethtown on Saturday, March 4, 2023 at 11:00 AM. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Mennonite Home, (Memo: Benevolent Care), 1520 Harrisburg Pike, Lancaster, PA 17601.