Virginia Mae Hopkins
January 16, 1936 – March 29, 2021
Virginia Mae Hopkins (Gerlosky, 85y) ascended to Heaven on March 29th, 2021. A loving wife-mother-caregiver, retired elementary school teacher, and active member of Mayfield and Garfield United Methodist Church. Treasured her involvement with “Catch the Spirit Choir”. Enjoyed ceramics, cards, and cherished her family and grandchildren most. Virginia was preceded in death by her husband Dick, her parents “Butch” and Mary, son Rick and son-in-law Tim. She is survived by her children Sharon Aberle, Fred (Vilija) and grandchildren Nathan, Tyler, Clark, Issac, and Luke. Private family services. Entombment Western Reserve Memorial Gardens.
We “Praise The Lord” She is WHOLE Once More-this Extraordinary Faithful Woman of God. Virginia “Jean” succumbed to the unrelenting deterioration of Alzheimer Disease peacefully on March 29th2021. She was the first born to Mary Reho and “Butch” Gerlosky in their row-House #47, in the mining town of Whitsett, Pennsylvania on January 16th, 1936. Brothers “Bud” and Ray in years to follow, and Sister Kathy ’the first hospital baby’ once the family relocated to Cleveland, Ohio. Virginia met Richard “Dick” Hopkins at Doan Elementary School, fostered their infatuation through Patrick Henry Junior High years and even sustained their relationship when She attended Shaw High School (‘54) and Dick moved to Brush. They married August 18th, 1956. It was only my father ‘Dick’ and her dear friend Lolly that continued to call her “Virginia”. In her yearbooks, she was referred to as ‘Ginny, Jean, Virginia’ and she went by ‘Jean’ the rest of her life, so it seemed. Dick and Jean would have three children: Sharon, Richard Jr. ”Ricky” and Fredrick “Freddy”.Virginia had an Organized, Disciplined, Hard Working Nature. She was Encouraging, Kind and illustrated 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, The ‘love’ Directive…She ‘cared’ Unconditionally and had a special way of putting others first without expecting anything in return. She committed to be an integral part of caring for many ailing family members without reservation: In-Laws, parents, husband, son to mention only a few. Once her children were all in school, Virginia started taking classes at the public library, for her own love of learning. Prompted by an instructor who mentioned, “have you ever considered that these are college classes you keep signing up for, and could count toward a Higher Education Bachelor Degree?”…Cleveland State University Day-and-Night Courses for years, homework in our basement when we were all in bed while a Wife, mother, immaculate housekeeper, Home Maker and She Graduated, with Honors No Less, in 1971. Virginia would be an excellent and enthusiastic Elementary School Teacher within The Richmond Heights School District, Co-Workers became friends, and she retired in 1997. Dick and Jean planted the seed of A True Legacy in 1969….Family Vacations (and I mean ‘family’…their own and variations of grandparents, Aunts/Uncles, Cousins, invited friends, their Children’s families as they grew AND the Canadian Families we met again-n-again and grew to treasure) for cumulative weeks at Grandview Lodge, Sparrow Lake, Ontario, Canada cultivating relationship for years …So Many Memories. Yes, A Legacy. Virginia was gifted with Artistic Talent that was obvious throughout her life. Even as young as High School she was recognized with Award for a crayon piece in a National Competition and won $25…I am certain she saved-it or gave to a need (fiscally responsible and generous). She was Invited to participate in The Cleveland Institute of Art Summer Program in the atrium each day at The Cleveland Museum of Art, again during high school. Ohhh my goodness the bulletin boards She Created in her Elementary Classrooms were wonderful, and she continued this visual enthusiasm sharing bulletin boards again at Sunny Acres volunteering through church service, eliciting joy yet again to the residents there for years. Ceramics was another artistic outlet-expression for Virginia…first with her mother, other family, her daughter, then teacher friends (Mrs. Hosler’s basement) and on----gifting many of her meticulously exceptional pieces of art and love for generations. Her work was Truly Outstanding and It was the deteriorating quality-of-her-creations that lent confirmation of her dementia diagnosis come the mid-late 2000s in reflection. Although seemingly submissive, Virginia Whispered Strength. She was Strong-Courageous-Wise-and Loved as Commanded by God. Her Faith sustained her. Involved loosely as a child (she will be entombed with her Bible given 1945), committed firmly as a wife and mother, she was a member of The United Methodist Church. She taught Sunday School, Supervised the Acolyte Program, Volunteered Most once she retired from her fulltime teaching job. Anna Circle of Women became her Core, and beyond ‘service’, there was care-and-fellowship as they were an active group of friends. Also associated within her church life, Music evolved as an intentional passion later in life (late 90’s 2000s)…Church Choirs, Voice Lessons, and traveled Here-and-Abroad performing-touring with members of “Catch The Spirit” …their sound was exceptional and she Loved her Music with This Extended Family of Friends. Virginia never wanted to ‘play favorites’ and in choosing where she would down-size her home, she actually---marked on a map, each of her children’s homes and Her Church and took a compass point most center, drew a circle to find the region for her next home--Macedonia, OH—a 30-minute drive from each child. ‘Jean’ always had Wonderful flower-shrubbed-manicured Outdoor Beds at each home Dick and Jean shared (East Cleveland-Richmond Heights) and on to her cluster home in Macedonia----she taught the appreciation and ease of ‘perennials’, and need to tend routinely. Perhaps an extension of her artistic spirit. She loved Reading Novels (preferred a HARD Cover in hand), Scrabble, Crosswords, Cards (‘Bridge’ with The Girls always chocolate, dessert, oh-and cards), Jigsaw Puzzles and Coloring Books. Another indication of a deteriorating mind as her disease progressed showed her mastery of these hobbies fading. She was a coffee drinker and forever Loved Chocolate! Although fully invested in Sharon, Rick and Fred’s lives… Grandchildren became her delight, happiness, and joy. Nathan, Tyler, Clark, Isaac and Luke became a focused devotion to share her culture of Faith-family-love-learning. She participated sincerely, attending their programs-sports-activities at every opportunity with love, an impacting-affecting presence. Weekend overnights, trick-or-treat, special recognitions, holiday treats, So Many Gifts, and “a movie at the theater is not a movie without popcorn, duh”. She was a hushed-promoting-incentive, motivating excellence. She Cherished her Five Grandchildren. The Loss of her Father (2007) and then the tragic death of her Son (2011), accelerated the disease process of Dementia already taken hold of Virginia’s Brain. She moved south to live with Sharon-Tim-Nathan-Tyler at Rick’s passing (with Invaluable Support of Fred-Vilija-Clark-Luke-Isaac for years) and stayed with them until 2016, at which time The Inn at CoalRidge Wadsworth became her ‘home’. The Unfathomable Sincere Care and Love of the Staff at CoalRidge was Spectacular and Beyond Measure….They truly truly loved “Jean” “Miss Virginia” and Mourn this Loss sincerely. We are forever Grateful for their Kindness-Compassion and Love….not to mention their daily skill and support transitioning Mom through her ‘Jeweled’ phases of descent. Tim LOVED His Mother-in-law dearly, “Mom” Always, and managed her ‘affairs’ endearingly, and She LOVED Him especially as her own. There are So Many significant friends and family that have supported Us through this disheartening journey of corrosion, Each-of-You-Blessings in this trial of losing a loved one. The Gilcrest Adult Day Center and their program and Staff were another Godsend of extended care…she attended there throughout the week, until no longer an option. Again, giving sincere ‘care’ and love, as instructed in scripture. We are grateful for their support during that passage of time as well. My mother was ‘A Quiet Faithful Woman of God’…an inspirational example in Life’s’ Highs and Valleys, reaching toward and following Him with All Her Heart, and We Rejoice Her New ‘Home’ Eternal at HIS Table in Heaven.
Private Family Service
Virginia Mae Hopkins
April 7, 2021
It’s truly heartbreaking to loose such a beautiful soul. I am, however, so fortunate to be filled with many years of great memories. Sharon and Fred.... remember our family camping trips and boating? So much fun was had at our sleepovers, playing dress up, and laughing for hours. Your parents were so kind and patient. How about our special gatherings that ended up in the music studio with everyone singing or playing an instrument. Your parents were stars at those events. I’ll always remember your parents kindness and much laughter from both of them. They are together now. ❤️
April 6, 2021
I knew few, if any, honest details about my Mom; those you learn as an adult-becoming friends-asking questions-counseling life….because DEMENTIA captured her mind early and history and loves, opinions, and hates (I don’t think she ‘hated’ at all, ever!?) …all drifted to be LOST---before I could tap them. THAT breaks-my-heart, a shattered the dream of truly really KNOWing My mother---her childhood, her adulthood, her mothering years, marriage, desires, regrets, philosophy. Please (sigh) Take Advantage of ‘your’ opportunity. Mom’s Generation was private, a respected-apparent line between parent-and-child, only to cross with maturity and age. Can Not even imagine what was beyond-beneath-within the Gentle, Obedient, Conservative, Thoughtful, seemingly submissive, Courageous Woman I hardly got to Know…She was gone when my own children were teenagers, she was gone to resource being a widow, she was gone to share Christ and Our Faiths Interactively…..I lost her a long time ago…..and even still…I’ve been So So Blessed. It was a privilege to Care for My Mother….xoS
April 5, 2021
Your mom was a wonderful person. I so enjoyed singing with her at Northside Christian Church. Right in a row Tim, Me, Grandma, Sharon ... so fun I shall miss her as she was one in a Trillion !! I can still hear her say ‘where have you been’ :) Tim and Grandma dancing to their own beat with Jesus 😇
Much love Laura and family
SUSAN & Mitch Miklus
April 4, 2021
So sorry to hear about your mom we have many fond memories of her.
Thinking of all of you during this time
Susie and Mitch
April 4, 2021
So sorry to hear this Fred and Sharon. I have great memories of her and our family gatherings. She was always so patient with our rowdy ways. I can't eat KFC without thinking of you guys. May god bless you and your families.
April 4, 2021
So many memories! So sorry for your loss.
Hank and Diane Telep
April 3, 2021
Condolences to Fred and Sharon on the loss of your mom.