RED WING, MN—Virginia Mayo Wagener (Peck) was born on January 14, 1925, and passed away into the arms of angels on January 7, 2022; a week shy of her 97th birthday. She was born in Fort Collins, Colo., to William and Elbertine Cooke Peck. In 1936 the family moved to Peterstown, W.Va., where her parents could care for her ailing grandmother and enter the family farming business.
Virginia, now known as Ginny, graduated from Peterstown High School and took a position in the nearby town of Narrows during the beginning of World War II. Shortly thereafter, she met a handsome young soldier named Kenneth Mayo of Smethport, Pa., who was visiting the town with a group of young men who were training nearby. They married in 1946 after the war, when Ken completed his law school education and the newlyweds moved back to his hometown of Kane, Pa., where he opened his real estate law practice.
After a series of transfers brought them to Minnesota, they raised three children in the town of Deephaven. Ginny first worked for Northwestern Bell in Excelsior, after which she enjoyed a career as a travel consultant for AAA which allowed her the opportunity to have a busy travel life complete with experiences across the globe. She enjoyed learning about different customs and cultures, and throughout her life read countless books and was an avowed historian on many topics.
After Ken passed away in 1984, Ginny moved to Stuart, Fla., where she married Hunter T. Wagener of Richmond in 1993. They moved to Kilmarnock, where they lived happily on the Rappahannock River until he passed away in 2011. Shortly thereafter, Ginny moved back to Minnesota to be closer to her family. She ended up in Red Wing, where she was a well-loved and respected member of the community.
Throughout her life, Ginny was an active volunteer for many causes, including the Girl Scouts, a docent in historical museums and the West Suburban Women’s Club. She was a member of Trinity Church in Excelsior and Christ Episcopal Church in Red Wing.
Ginny will be remembered as a witty, often sarcastic, loving, whip-smart and well-read woman who was fiercely proud of her family and her accomplishments in her career and travel. She had an amazing memory and was able to recount much of her experiences as a child and a young woman to her own children and grandchildren over the years, who all appreciated her stories and memories and will be sure to pass this rich oral tradition on to their children.
Ginny was preceded in death by her parents, her brother, Stuart C. Peck; a nephew, Michael; and her eldest daughter, Melissa Sorman of Red Wing.
She is survived by her son, Geoffrey (Marcia) Mayo of Minn.; daughter, Michelle (Chris) Hellie of Hastings, Minn.; son-in-law, Steven Sorman of Red Wing; niece, Tracey Swick of Richmond, Texas; stepson, James Wagener of Richmond, Va.; beloved grandchildren, Clare (David) Sorman, Kelly (Amie) Mayo, Kayla (Erik) Kuvaas, Marlee Mayo, Meredith (Dan) Schwab and Christian Mayo; and great-grandchildren, McCullen, Grayden, Leo, Grace, Eloise, Colin, Silas, Geoffrey and Ezekiel.
A celebration of Ginny’s life will take place from 1-4 p.m. May 15, at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum (one of her favorite places), 3675 Arboretum Drive, Chaska, Minn.