Virginia Luetje

Friday, November 16, 2012
Virginia Luetje

Virginia Mae "Ginny" Goran Luetje, 72, of Kirkwood, Mo., died peacefully at home Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012.

She is survived by her husband, Donald Lane Luetje of Kirkwood; a son, Gregory (Lindsay) Glenn Luetje of Bryant Pond, Maine; a daughter, Linda (Willie) Elaine Luetje-Nelson of St. Clair, Mo.; two grandchildren; a stepgrandchild; and a sister, Rebecca (Steve) Cook of St. Charles, Mo.

Ginny was born Sept. 24, 1940, at home in Wellsville, Mo., to Virgil and Dorothy Goran. She graduated from Vandalia (Mo.) High School in 1958. In 1961 Ginny graduated from Barnes Hospital School of Nursing and received the award for the highest GPA. In 1965 and 1967 she received bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing, and was a recipient of Final Honors.

She taught mental health nursing at Barnes Hospital, Lutheran Hospital and St. Louis Municipal Schools of Nursing from 1963 through 1973. From 1973 until 1985 she was an assistant professor of nursing at St. Louis University. In the fall of 1984 she was appointed assistant professor of nursing at Maryville University. While at Maryville she was simultaneously a full-time student in music therapy undergraduate courses and became board certified in music therapy.

In 1989 Ginny worked for the Missouri Department of Mental Health developing and implementing interdisciplinary treatment programs. Ginny was hired by Deaconess Health System in 1992 as a mental health clinical specialist. In June 1997 she was appointed chancellor at Deaconess College of Nursing until her retirement in September 2002. While chancellor, she added online nursing education to the curriculum and restored the college to a sound financial footing.

Ginny authored multiple chapters for psychiatric nursing textbooks and wrote numerous professional journal articles. She was one of Life Crises Services (formerly Suicide Prevention) initial volunteers, receiving four awards during 10 years of service. She participated in developing and authoring the 1982 to 1994 editions of American Nurses Association's Standards for Psychiatric Nursing Practices. The Society of Nursing Professionals included her in 1989 in Who's Who in American Nursing.

Music was one of Ginny's passions. She was accomplished in playing the piano, bassoon and four-string banjo. She studied piano at Maryville University, played bassoon in local community orchestras (went on tour to Europe in 1994 with the Brentwood Symphony) and appeared on "Good Morning America" in 1987 leading her Fancy Frets Banjo Band.

After retiring, she devoted all energies and time to the four-string banjo. She was on the board of directors and vice president of All Frets organization, a worldwide group promoting fretted instruments. She performed at numerous locations for senior citizens using the name "Banjo Ginny".

Her proudest achievement was the formation of the "Stl Bandjos Youth Banjo Band." The group has appeared locally and at national banjo conventions. In May 2012 "Banjo Ginny" was honored at the National Banjo Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Oklahoma City for her "devotion to the preservation and promotion of the banjo in America."

A memorial visitation will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, immediately followed by a memorial service at Bopp Chapel, 10610 Manchester Road, Kirkwood.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to St. Louis Senior Dog Project, 7488 Rivermont Trail, House Springs, MO 63051.