Virginia "Ginger" Carrigan

Virginia Mae Carrigan (Willadson), age 84, left this world on December 18, 2020.  A private family funeral will be held at St. Boniface Catholic Church in Stewart with the Rev. Paul Wolf as celebrant.  Burial will be in the church cemetery. No monetary gifts or flowers please. We ask you to make your own donation to a worthy cause if that is your choice.  Arrangements by Dirks-Blem Funeral Service, Olivia, MN.

A live stream of the service will be available to view at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 9, 2021 at the following link https://my.gather.app/remember/virginia-carrigan

One of seven children, she was born in Montana in September 1936. She grew up in the Wyoming oil fields before the family moved to the town of Osage, WY. She was the first girl after three brothers and learned how to stick up for herself at an early age.

After graduation from Upton, WY, Virginia moved to California to explore the West Coast then moved to Denver, Colorado. She met Leo (Bob) Carrigan, an Air Force instructor, on a blind date and they married shortly after that in 1957. Bob gave her the nickname of Ginger because she was a little spicy.

Bob and Ginger spent five years in Denver while he was in the Air Force. They loved to go into the mountains on the weekends. Bob always liked to have a powerful vehicle and Ginger loved to drag race at the stoplights with the guys in their hot rods.

After Bob completed his military service they moved to Minneapolis, MN in the early 60’s and they purchased their first home in Shoreview, MN. They lived there until their early retirement in the 90’s.

Ginger had a career as a bookkeeper. She put her career temporarily on hold to raise their own family of seven children until the youngest began school. During that time, she used her life skills to support the family by gardening, canning, knitting and sewing so there was always food, clothing and lots of love.

She had a huge heart and was a very giving person. She also had a feisty sense of humor and loved to laugh. She was a very courageous and stubborn woman. She took swimming lessons in her 30’s after her youngest son refused to learn because Mom didn’t know how to swim.

After her great-aunt passed on, Ginger and Bob took over the task of family genealogy for her lineage. They expanded this to include Bob’s family line. They took many RV trips to visit relatives throughout the U.S. They toured Canada and Alaska twice. They loved to visit Branson and Nashville to see the music acts. They would go to an annual quilt show in Paducah, KY, stopping to see a cousin along the way. While Ginger looked at hundreds of quilts, Bob would take a picture of each one so they could look at them again later.

Ginger and her cousin Rodney arranged a Willadson family reunion in 1991at Mallo Camp, WY. It drew extended family from throughout the country. It was a tremendous amount of work for the sponsors, but it was a huge success. A tradition was born. It continued every 4 years from 1996 until 2020 when everything was restricted for coronavirus precautions. Thank you to the second generation of cousins that took over this task.

Bob and Ginger retired to property at Ann Lake in Ogilvie, MN for several years then moved to Buffalo Lake, MN to be close to Bob’s cousins. At each new house they did much of the finishing work themselves. When a child planned a visit to help out, their favorite trick was to work hard all week so there was nothing to do but enjoy the guests when they arrived. They would be tired but very pleased with themselves.

During this time Ginger continued to enjoy knitting and began to quilt. She produced beautiful and treasured pieces. Sadly, Ginger began showing signs of memory issues and she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Her ability to do the things she loved began to fade away but her loving personality was still there. Bob was always nearby to help when she faltered.

After having health issues, Bob and Ginger moved to assisted living in Ramsey, MN in 2017 so they could be near most of their children. Bob died in 2018 after 61 years of marriage and Ginger was a memory care resident after that time. She spoke of Bob and wanted to be with him. We are thankful she is now at peace and they are together again. We can only imagine the teasing she is giving him after this time apart!

Virginia (Ginger) is preceded in death by her husband Leo (Bob), her parents and her siblings (John, Roy and Peggy). She is survived by her brothers (Willis, Ronald and James), children Constance (Jerry), Roy (Theresa), Veronica (Michael), Clarice (John), Lois, Francis, Edwin (Christine), and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Blessed Be Her Memory