Virginia M. Hernandez
July 4, 1933 — Nov. 6, 2015
Virginia M. Hernandez, loving mother, grandmother and sister, went to her Lord and Savior on November 6, 2015, at Waukesha Memorial Hospital at the age of 82.
She was born on July 4, 1933, in Switz City, Indiana, to Earl H. and Katherine M.(nee Swartz) Whitstone. The family moved back to her mother’s hometown of Waukesha in March 1935.
Virginia attended Randall Grade School and Waukesha High School, graduating in 1951.
Although she was baptized in Indiana, the family renewed the family’s membership at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Waukesha and Virginia was a lifelong member there. She married Trino Hernandez at St. Joe’s on October 19, 1953. Before her illness, Virginia was active in many activities at St. Joe’s including holding offices in Christian Women and the elders group as well as serving on the Human Concerns Committee and being a Eucharistic minister for a number of years.
Virginia had been a member of the Girl Scouts as a child and became a Girl Scout leader in 1962 when her oldest child, Margaret, wanted to be a Brownie Scout and couldn’t because of a lack of leadership. She continued in Girl Scouting for 20 years, leading three different troops as well as serving as a trainer, a camp director, a neighbor chairperson and a member of the Board of Directors of the Great Blue Heron Girl Scouts.
Although she had worked at many part-time jobs when her children were quite young, she began working at White Rock School in 1969 as a reading aid. This led to her becoming the school secretary, a position she held until 1993. White Rock was the first bilingual school in Waukesha. Virginia had two years of high school Spanish, but learned to speak quite fluently after marrying Trino. He had been raised in Texas and Waukesha and spoke English very well, but his mother didn’t, and much of her Spanish was learned from her mother-in-law.
Her volunteering as a Girl Scout leader lead to many years of volunteer work. This included acting as a volunteer at White Rock School after she retired. She was a member of RSVP for 20 years, worked at the Share program for about 15 years and at The Hope Center for 21 years. In 1963, a small group of people were concerned that few of the Hispanic high school graduates were going on to college. Virginia was one of the founding members of the Scholastic Fund for Hispanic Students and was a continuing member until her death.
In 1976, after her father’s death, she wanted to know more about his family from Ohio. This lead to her great interest in genealogy that included many visits to Ohio and other states. In 2009, she compiled a genealogy book on Trino’s Mexican family from 1890 to 2009. This included many visits to Mexico, Texas and California. After that, she began more intensive work on her maternal grandmother’s family from Germany in 1860 to meeting many relatives in Wood County. She has been a member of the Waukesha County Genealogical Society for 20 years as well as the Waukesha County Historical Society.
Virginia joined a bowling league when she was 18 years old and bowled for 40 years in women’s, couples and mixed leagues. Although never a great bowler, she enjoyed the sport. She loved to read and after learning to read in first grade, there was always a book at her side. She also enjoyed playing sheepshead and joined the Waukesha County Golden Agers to play every Wednesday afternoon.
Spending time with her family and cooking for them was a great joy. She learned to cook Mexican food and would have a houseful every time she told her family that she was cooking Mexican food. Her home was always open to family and friends.
Virginia was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Trino, in 2002; two sons, Michael and Christopher; sister Ann Gonzales; brother Dick Whitstone; aunt Marian Collins; father and mother-in-law, Juan and Seferina Hernandez; and her favorite sister-in-law, Anita Benavides.
She is survived by her daughters, Margaret Kennedy, Kathy Hernandez-Kennedy, Mary Jo Hernandez and Trinette Hernandez, and six grandchildren, Rob Kennedy, Ronald (Katie) Kennedy, Michael (Kelly Miller) Kennedy, Amy (Jim) Klaesing, Tricia (David) Perez and Amanda (Justin) Beller. She also leaves 14 great grandchildren, Cody, Brandon, Samantha, Ayanna, David, Isaiah, Tyler, McKenzie, Selena, Shia, Benjamin, Angelina, Salvador and Ryker. She is expecting a great-great grandson due to arrive in January 2016. She is further survived by her sisters Mary (the late Frank) Garcia, Eleanor (the late Roger) Goodspeed and brothers John (Ginger) Whitstone, Larry (Jean) Whitstone and Joe (Geri) Whitstone as well as her best friend Rose Bengs, many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Visitation will take place on Friday, November 13, from 4:00 p.m. until the 7:00 p.m. vigil service at Randle-Dable-Brisk Funeral Home, 1110 S. Grand Ave. Waukesha. Prayers continue for the family on Saturday, November 14, at 10:00 a.m. followed by the procession to St. Joseph Catholic Church, 822 N. East Ave., Waukesha, WI 53186, for the 11:00 a.m. funeral Mass. The family requests for everyone to please meet them at church for the Mass. Graveside services will follow at St. Joseph Cemetery.
Memorials are appreciated to SFSHD (Scholastic Fund for Students of Hispanic Descent) P.O. Box 552, Waukesha, WI 53187; The Hope Center, 502 N. East Ave., Waukesha, WI 53186; St. Joseph Catholic Church (address above); or Alzheimer’s Association SE WI Chapter, 620 S. 76th St. Suite 160, Milwaukee, WI 53214.
Randle-Dable-Brisk Funeral Home, Crematory and Preplanning Services is honored to serve the family.
For further information, please call the funeral home at 262-547-4035 or visit our website at www.randledable.com for directions or to leave the family an online tribute message.