Virginia K. Gralla

December 25, 1937November 17, 2020

Virginia Carol Kirkwood was born on Christmas Day in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Charles and Estelle (Roll) Kirkwood. While her parents only had eighth grade educations, ‘Ginny’ graduated first in her class from Frankford High School and earned a full scholarship to Penn State University. She majored in Education, joined the Phi Mu sorority, and reigned briefly but benevolently as the “Queen of the Milky Way” at the annual Dairy Exposition. Ginny later earned a Masters in Counseling from Southern Connecticut State University.

During her senior year of college Ginny met Edward J. Gralla, a veterinary student at the University of Pennsylvania. Their first date was to a horserace, where they bet on a long shot named “Miss Susan” and won. They spent their winnings on wedding rings for their marriage the following year.

Ginny pursued her career as she raised her family, and served as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for the NC Division of Services for the Blind for twenty years. She secured employment for many individuals, including those who had never held a job, and won awards for “Case of the Year” and “Counselor of the Year”. Ginny’s greatest professional accomplishment was the establishment of statewide community-based learning centers, where those who were losing or had lost their vision learned skills that enabled them to continue to live independently. Ginny’s greatest personal achievement was seeing her daughters graduate from college.

Ginny’s favorite activities were reading, traveling, and going to the beach. She participated in the “Friendship Force”, an international exchange program through which she made lifelong friends across the globe. Summer was not complete without a weeklong vacation at Emerald Isle, NC, where she stationed her surf chair at the water’s edge and read books. The weather always cooperated for Ginny.

Ginny is survived by her daughters, Susan Gralla; Lorna Donovan; and Lynda Mottershead, and her six beloved grandchildren. Services will be held privately for the family. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Ginny’s memory to the Wake County Public Library.

If you would like to leave a message of condolence to her family, you may do so below within "add a memory".

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November 25, 2020

Dear Susan, Drew, Kirk, Evan and Family, We are so sorry for your loss and hope your grief will soon be replaced in your hearts by many special and fond memories of your Mother/Grandmother. Love Gary and Diane Anderson

Robin Sanchez

November 23, 2020

To my dear friend Susan and her entire family, Darren & I send our deepest condolences for Ginny's passing. Whether I was playing 3rd wheel to a mother/daughter luncheon, or "we" needed to stop and visit with her for an afternoon, Ginny had such a bright spirit in her eyes when listening to life's adventures for that day. I know she will be deeply missed.

Robin & Darren Sanchez

Mike & Markie Johnson

November 23, 2020

To Susan and all the family, our sincere condolences. Your mother's remembrance tells of a beautiful life and much love. Susan, the inspiration for your name is a fascinating story! Sending our warmest thoughts to your family.

Patty Bayer

November 21, 2020

Ginny was a dear friend. She was a second family to me. I really enjoyed our coffee time, where she shared her wisdom with me. I will miss her dearly. Rest in peace my friend I will see you again .
You were loved.

George J. Kirkwood

November 20, 2020

Going to the Tom McCan she store at 4th and South St. where her father my Uncle Chappie, (Charles Kirkwood), was manager, would give me and my brother "free shoes". A standing joke. My father would assist his brother every holiday with sales. We will miss ginney , rest in peace. Cousin George and Cecilia.

Ravi Vyapuri

November 20, 2020

Rest in Peace & God bless!

Teresa Parker

November 20, 2020

I am a co-worker of Susan's and I am Praying for the family's strength and peace throughout.

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