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Virginia Lee Menke

July 9, 1922 - October 1, 2013

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Virginia Lee Menke, 91, wife of Allen Carl Menke; mother of Janet (the late George) Doellgast, Bill (Joan) Menke and Sarah (David) Barnes; grandmother of eight and greatmother of nine, passed away October 1.

Ginny grew up in New Castle, Indiana, the daughter of Dr. Herman Walter MacDonald and Edna Francis (Frost) MacDonald. She was the sister of James Roderick MacDonald and the late Betty Buffington Mann. In high school Ginny served as the editor of the year book and the school paper. She was chosen queen of the prom and the outstanding girl of her senior class. She graduated as a Distinguished Scholar.

With a full scholarship, Ginny went on to study in the Arts and Science School at Purdue University. Her years at Purdue as a Distinguished Student included her election to Mortar Board, in recognition of her scholarship and leadership in campus activities. She was a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and Alpha Lambda Delta, the national science honorary society.

After graduation, Ginny worked as an industrial engineer for the Eli Lily Company in their time and motion department until her marriage to Lt. Allen Menke in 1944. After military service, the couple moved to LaCrosse, Wisconsin where Allen pursued a career in the air conditioning industry and Ginny focused on family and volunteer activities. A major accomplishment was her introduction of art education to the public schools through the creation of a slide lecture depicting great artists and their works.

In 1969 the family moved to Winnetka, Illinois. Ginny’s civic service in the Chicago area included The Antiquarian Society of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Women’s Boards of both the Field Museum and Rush University Medical Center, the Women’s Associates Board of the Chicago Art Institute (president 1976 - 1977) and the Woman’s Board of the Presbyterian Homes. Ginny served as Deacon and Elder of the Presbyterian Church. As a member of the Kenilworth Union Church she was a Stephens Minister and served on the prayer chain. She enjoyed membership in the Town and Country Arts Club (president 1987-89), the Fornightly Club of Chicago and the Illinois Saint Andrew Society.

Ginny remained an enthusiastic scholar throughout her life. Some of her artistic endeavors included poetry and papers presented to the Winnetka Fornightly Literary Club on Caravaggio, Alice Kellogg Tyler, and The Life of the Medieval Spirit.
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