Virginia Frenzel

Sunday, October 8, 2006

Virginia Jane Smith Kurka Frenzel, 91, of Cape Girardeau, passed Oct. 6, 2006, after a brief illness. Born Sept. 28, 1915, at St. Louis, Mo, she was the daughter of Joseph and Laura Langmeier Smith.

She and Jere "Jerry" Emil Kurka were married Nov. 28, 1934, at St. Louis. After Jerry's death, she married John Frenzel Jr. Sept. 4, 1970, at Cape Girardeau.

She was a member of First Church of Christ, Scientist in Cape Girardeau for 54 years and its Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston, Mass.

She was a 1933 graduate of Cleveland High School in St. Louis and attended Hickey Business School and Southeast Missouri State College.

She was employed in administrative services at Southeast Missouri State College from 1957 until retiring in 1970. She helped to start the first data processing department when computers were all mainframes and data was entered by punch cards.

She was a Girl Scout leader, square dancer and a member of the League of Women Voters, Southeast Missouri College women's faculty club and the Community Concert Association. She was a founding member of the Christian Arts Council, now the Southeast Missouri Council on the Arts and a longtime supporter of the arts who enjoyed live theater performances and first-run Broadway shows.

She loved wildlife, nature conservancy, bird-watching and was an avid outdoorswoman. She loved flowers and vegetable gardening, book and newspaper reading and watching films. She hosted numerous international students through Southeast Missouri State University and traveled to England, Canada, Hawaii and throughout the United States.

She and her husband John loved hunting, gardening and working at their cabin on the Castor River outside Marble Hill, Mo., and she was an excellent cook of all cuisines, including wild game. She was also a talented seamstress, who made many of her children's clothes.

She instilled strong moral values, creativity, spirituality and an adventurous sense of self-reliance within her family.

Survivors include daughters Wendy Kurka Rust and her husband, Gary Wayne; Joy Kurka Gilbert and her husband, Gary Kenneth "Sonny"; and Kim Kurka McDowell and her husband, Terry William, all of Cape Girardeau. Grandchildren on Wendy's side are Penny Rochelle Rust Terry and her husband, Alan, of Pinehurst, N.C., Gary Wayne Rust II and his wife, Suzuyo, of Chesterfield, Mo., Holly Rust Payne and her husband, Richmond, of Hoffman Estates, Ill., Wynn Bradford Rust and his wife, Kimberly, of Matthews, N.C., Jon Kurka Rust and his wife, Victoria, of Cape Girardeau, and Rex Dearmont Rust and his wife, Sherry, also of Cape Girardeau. Great-grandchildren are Alex Benjamin and Katherine Marie Terry of Pinehurst; Julia Misaki and Sho Thomas Rust of Chesterfield; Reagan Jane, Robyn and Morgan Payne of Hoffman Estates; Erik Rockford, Rachel Ann, Rebekah Kristine and Sarah Elizabeth Rust of Matthews; and Yuliana Kurka Rust of Cape Girardeau.

Grandchildren on Joy's side are Kenneth Dean Gilbert and his wife, Margaret, of Ellisville, Mo., Gay Gilbert Pilsner and her husband, Robert, of Cape Girardeau, and Julie Gilbert Becker and her husband, Ken, of Poplar Bluff, Mo. Great-grandchildren are Sunny Deshay Gilbert of Boulder, Colo.; Katie Michelle Gilbert of Las Vegas, Nev.; Arthur Blake, Heidi, Alex Wayne, Haley and Hannah Pilsner, all of Cape Girardeau; and Erika, Allison, Luke Spencer and Connor Reece Becker of Poplar Bluff.

She was preceded in death by her husbands; her sister, Helen Smith Decker; daughter Sally; and granddaughter Robin.

The family will be holding a private gathering. Memorials may be sent to First Church of Christ, Scientist, 215 N. West End Blvd., Cape Girardeau, Mo., 63701.