Virginia Gertrude (Deiss) Reis, age 94, of River Falls, WI, passed away peacefully, surrounded by her family, on February 27, 2019, after a bout with cancer.
Virginia was born on February 20, 1925, to Albert and Mary (Brickner) Deiss and grew up in Trimbell Township with five other siblings. St. Mary’s School at Big River was the start of her formal education and from here she eventually attended Ellsworth High School, graduating in 1942. Jacques Seed Company in Prescott hired her as a secretary where she worked until she married Herman Mathias Reis on October 24, 1944, and moved to their dairy farm on Highway 10, now owned by their son Joe and his wife Kerry. Nine children graced this union.
She was an active member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church and worked alongside her husband and children, making life on the farm memorable. Included in her many talents were sewing, baking, gardening, canning, photography, crocheting, writing, playing cards, and beating anyone in a game of Scrabble. Her children benefitted from her knowledge in many ways and can testify to what it was like having the majority of their needs met by their very own mother, everything from delectable, fresh meals on the table to the stylish garments designed and sewed by her. She even became their personal hairdresser, administering the ever-popular home permanents to all six of her daughters! Self-sustaining was the way of life on the farm.
In Virginia’s spare time, she sewed for other people, crocheted, and took up her passion for writing. Bridal apparel and clothing alterations provided her with a social life, of sorts, and her crocheting efforts carried her all the way from making doilies, afghans, and tablecloths to making hats for chemo patients through the “Look Good, Feel Better” program in her most recent years. She prided herself in sometimes designing her own patterns and would often announce how many hats she had completed. Before she recently stopped crocheting, that magic number was 1,083!
Once her children were raised and on their own, Virginia took to writing her memoirs and self-published Reminiscence and Ramblings: Stories and Family History. These accounts are highlighted with anecdotes, family portraits, and photographs, documenting the raising of nine children and the typical life on the farm.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Herman, in 2005; one grandson, Mitchell Reis; her parents, Albert and Mary Deiss; siblings, Beatrice (Marvin) Wirth, Marvin (Elvira) Deiss, Clarence (Mildred) Deiss, and Joyce (Stewart) Pulk.
Virginia is survived by her nine children: Daniel Reis (Pat Williams), Angela (Robert) Kondrasuk, Jane Reis, Teresa (Dick) Swiggum, Donna (Leo) Beskar, Joe (Kerry) Reis, Lucy (Don) Nellessen, Mary (Larry) Hanson, Dean Reis; 21 grandchildren; 27 great-grandchildren; one sister, Mildred Ray; one sister-in-law, Bernice Deiss; and many nieces and nephews.
Mass of Christian Burial will be 11:00 a.m., Monday, March 4, 2019, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church – Big River. Visitation will be 4:00-7:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 3 at St. Mary’s and continue one hour prior to Mass on Monday. Fr. Kevin Louis will celebrate Mass. Interment will be in the church cemetery. Her twelve grandsons will serve as pallbearers: Matt Reis, Scott Reis, Bill Kondrasuk, Lee Swiggum, Joel Beskar, Justin Beskar, Ty Reis, Mike Reis, Todd Reis, Isaac Nellessen, Jordan Nellessen, Trent Hanson, along with Heaven’s honorary bearer, Mitchell Reis.
Services have been entrusted to O’Connell-Benedict Family Funeral Home of River Falls, WI.