Sharing her smile for over 100 years, Virginia Louise Sullivan Tussey earned her wings and passed peacefully on August 20, 2023, after a rich and rewarding life. Virginia (Gini) was born in Akron in February 1923 to David Allen and Emma Leah(Harrison) Sullivan. She lived in the North HIll area growing up, attended Harris and Jackson elementary schools, graduated from North High, and attended the University of Akron. She remembered Jackson elementary as being just a very small house/building on the site it is now.
She met her husband William Goheen Tussey (Bill) at a dance through mutual friends. He was new to the area, having come from Pennsylvania after graduating from Penn State to work at Goodyear. Bill enlisted in the Army while at Goodyear, and in November 1943, Gini and Bill married at St. Andrews while he was home on a short leave. They left Akron for a short time to live in Mississippi and other bases where he was stationed, then upon his discharge returned to the Akron area before settling in Cuyahoga Falls in 1953 where she resided until her passing. They enjoyed 61 wonderful years of marriage before Bill passed in 2004.
One of her first jobs before marriage was at Woolworth downtown, where she took great pride in managing the stationary department and doing inventory for the store then progressed to the office. Although she was a teacher at heart, the economics of the times cut short her education at the University and steered her into the secretarial field which she continued throughout her work career. Gini's resume also included Pacific Finance, Cuyahoga Falls High School English Dept, Roberts Junior High Guidance Dept, JCPenney, and Kallstrom Realty. She always enjoyed working with people in all of her positions, but she enjoyed her time at Roberts Jr. High working with students through the Guidance Department the most.
Gini had many talents and was very creative and artistic, and loved to share her creativity with her children, grandchildren, and children of the neighborhood, often interjecting life lessons along the way. She was reusing and repurposing items long before it was popular which she always credited to growing up in the Depression. She was known for making something extraordinary out of nothing. Through the years Gini created and decorated doll houses making elaborate furnishings from ordinary household items. She was also skilled in sewing, whether it was homecoming dresses or table cloths and entire bedroom ensembles from sheets, baking and creating special cakes such as doll, rocket, United States, and many other requested shapes, watercolor paintings, pressed flower pictures, dried floral arrangements, and so much more. Gini was known to make stops during family rides to pick thistle and milk pods alongside the road to put to use later, or making a decorative centerpiece out of pachysandra she was rooting to replant outside. Aside from her creative talents, she also enjoyed golf and bowling throughout the years with family and friends. In her younger years, she played the organ for St. Andrews Episcopal Church and a church in Peninsula. She was also a past member of St. Johns Episcopal Church and their Woman's Guild often creating handmade books for the nursery and preschool, babysitting, and creating centerpieces for church functions. When her children were young she actively volunteered in Girl Scouts and Little League Baseball. Gini had previously been a member of the Cuyahoga Falls Woman's Club.
Virginia was a devoted wife and mother and she and Bill created a warm, loving home for their children. Gini was always involved in their activities, jumping in at the last minute to help with projects, type papers, make working volcanoes, or salt water maps for school. She always had a good meal on the table after a long day of working, complete with candles, centerpieces, tablecloth, and manners. Her home was always open to last minute dinner guests, friends, fun, and extra love for those stopping by who needed it. Her children never had to doubt for a moment the love their parents had for them, as they put it into everything they did. Gini also became a caregiver as she not only cared for Bill , but also helped care for her parents, Bill's father, her children, grandchildren, neighborhood children, and any of our friends who needed it. She did it all with dignity and grace, even when times were difficult. One of her mottos in life was Stay Flexible and Keep a Sense of Humor, which she followed through some of the most difficult of times. Gini also always stressed that attitude is 99% of the game, and a positive attitude can change how you look and respond to anything. Gini saw many changes in the world over a century and learned to cope and adapt with all of them. She loved posting her smile and positive thoughts on Facebook and being interactive with extended family and friends that way. Her children and grandchildren will carry all her insight and valuable lessons with them. She leaves behind a big legacy of love, values, and wisdom that will never be forgotten.
Preceded in death by her husband Bill, her parents, her sisters Eleanor Timberlake and Joanne Reed, sons in law Joe Rausch and Jim LaCroix, and grandson Zachary Rausch, she is survived by her children Gail LaCroix, John (Pam) Tussey, Beth (Simon) Stakleff, and Ann Rausch, as well as her grandchildren James, Michael, and Steven LaCroix, Christian and Haley Tussey, Krista Sonnhalter and Brandon Stakleff, Larry and Nathan Rausch, along with all her great grandchildren, nieces and nephews. She was delighted with all of her grandchildren and great grandchildren, and relished in the fact there were two sets of twins in the family. Gini was an endearing Mother and Grandmother, and loved spending time with all of her children and grandchildren.
Gini was very active in fighting against Alzheimer's Disease. She was a dedicated caregiver to Bill and participated in the Walk to End Alzheimer's since 2004 by walking, donating, and making and delivering raffle baskets for the walks. Should you desire, donations can be made in her name to the Alzheimer's Association by visiting http://act.alz.org/goto/Bills-Buddies or by calling the Greater East Ohio Alzheimer chapter @ 234-284-2756 or 216-342-5578. Having dealt with the effects of Alzheimer's with a loved one was something she didn't want anyone else to have to endure.
Per Virginia's wishes, a private family ceremony will be held at a later date. In her honor, please find a reason to smile every day and share that smile with others. She always found a way to acknowledge a stranger, to brighten their day, make them feel loved, and make them feel important. Gini would love it if we all strive to continue that in her honor.