VIRGINIA 'GINNY' ELSER
BOARDMAN – Virginia “Ginny” Elser, 54, passed away on Jan. 4, at Forum Health Northside Medical Center after a brave struggle with cancer.
Virginia was born in Woodbury, N.J., on Sept. 17, 1956, to John and Marilyn Finkenhofer and grew up in Pine Hill, N.J., While in her teens, she moved to Alexandria, Va. to live with her cousins, the Warrens. Although Virginia stayed with them for only one year, she formed lifelong bonds with them that are normally reserved only for sisters and brothers.
In 1974, Virginia moved to Youngstown to attend Youngstown State University, where she graduated Cum Laude. It was there that she met and chose to marry Galen Elser, who had the privilege of being her loving husband for more then 31 years.
She was the granddaughter of John and Grace Marsh, long time civic volunteers in Youngstown.
Known to friends and family as Ginny, she worked as a naturalist and preschool event coordinator at Boardman Park. She then went on to become the Assistant Recreations Director at the Mill Creek Metro Parks and was there for more than 17 years.
Ginny had a long and varied list of accomplishments and interests. She was an enthusiastic birder, was a member of the Grant Cook Birding Club for a number of years, and rarely missed the annual Vodrey Hike in Fredericktown. As an actress, Ginny was involved in numerous plays at YSU and the Oakland Center for the Arts. Her appetite for reading was voracious and eclectic. It is therefore no surprise that her knowledge on any subject was encyclopedic. With her lifelong friend Marcie Welch, she founded and led the Eclectic Book Club at the Boardman Barnes & Noble for over 10 years.
Ginny’s love of animals resulted in many being rescued and finding new sanctuary in her home. She was a great poet, loved music, and had a passionate love of language. Ginny was also a gourmet cook and accomplished at many kinds of exquisite needlework.
Ginny had a love for traveling. She and Galen both especially treasured their vacations taken with members of the Warren clan to England, France, and Austria, not just to sightsee, but also to experience other cultures and appreciate the riches that each country had to offer.
Ginny is best remembered for her grace and generous nature. She was the “Fairy Godmother” to many of the children of her friends and family. She carried with her the rare gift of genuine caring. All who knew her recognized her compassion and warmed to her brilliant sense of humor.
Ginny is survived by her husband, Galen; her son, Paul; goddaughter Kathryn; her twin brother, John; brother Mathew, sisters Carol and Mary; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends too numerous to mention. She had a special relationship with her great-niece, Hayley.
A memorial service will be held on Jan. 15, at 11 a.m. at the Westminster Presbyterian Church, 119 Stadium Drive in Boardman.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made In Memory of Virginia Elser to Susan G. Komen for the Cure at www.Komen.org/donate or sent directly to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Attn: Donor Services, P.O. Box 650309, Dallas, TX 75265-0309.
Arrangements handled by the Davis-Becker Funeral Home