Virginia May Griffin Petersen Wunder, 92, of Howard, SD passed away on Monday, November 11, 2019, at the Madison Community Hospital in Madison, SD. After 11 days of dealing with swallowing difficulties and pneumonia, she left her loved ones and passed peacefully to be with the loved ones who have gone before.
Virginia May Griffin was born August 6, 1927, to Harry and Mabel Griffin on a farm near Havelock, Iowa near the Des Moines River. At the age of six months, her family moved to Garretson, SD and later Colton, SD. During the Depression, they moved back to the Griffin family farm in Edgerton, MN.
She attended the District 69 country school through the 8th grade and finished high school at Edgerton Public School. She went on to obtain her Teacher’s Degree at the Mankato Teacher’s College in Mankato, MN. After graduating, she taught second grade in her hometown of Edgerton, MN.
She was a member of and very involved in the Presbyterian Church in Edgerton where she married her high school sweetheart Henry Petersen on December 21, 1947. Their first son Kim Elliot was born on January 30, 1952, their daughter Jill Lynette on June 29, 1954, and their son Kevin Jerome on February 12, 1956. Because of Henry’s work as an elevator manager, they moved to Okabena, MN in 1959 and later to Appleton, MN in 1962. In July of 1963, a daughter Susan Janette was born and died in Appleton, MN.
In 1966, they moved to Brandon, SD. Here as members of the Grace Communion International church, Henry was ordained a Local Elder and she was ordained a Deaconess in the church. After the children left home, she took Business and Floral Design classes and opened Virginia’s Flower Boutique in Brandon, SD in 1974. She sold the business in 1985.
She and Henry loved to travel and their travels took them to many states in the US – a trip to England and on two Caribbean cruises. On November 19, 1991, her husband Henry died of heart failure. In 1993, she sold her home in Brandon and moved to Howard, SD to be near her daughter Jill and son-in-law Colin Wunder and grandchildren. She purchased the “Buttenob” home in Howard and spent the next few years traveling – a trip with her sister Vivian to Hawaii and a tour of Europe with her friend Julia Schuur. In 1995, she lost her good friend Joyce Wunder to cancer.
In October 1997, she was pleasantly surprised by John Wunder’s proposal to be his wife. They had a church wedding on December 27, 1997, and would have celebrated their 22nd anniversary in December. They loved living on John’s farm near Howard, SD until moving to town in November of 2018.
Virginia’s loves have been her husbands, Henry and John, and her family, close and extended. She exemplified a deep love and devotion to her Creator God and Savior Jesus Christ. Her hobbies included cooking, nutrition, gardening, breakfast Bible study and close contact with family through calls, letter writing and birthday cards. She was an active member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Mary Chilton Chapter in Sioux Falls, SD, where she served as Chaplain.
She was preceded in death by her father Harry Griffin, her mother Mabel Griffin, her husband Henry Petersen and infant daughter Susan Petersen.
Those grateful for having shared her life include: her husband John Wunder of Howard, SD; her children Kim (Judy) Petersen of Bushnell, SD; Jill (Colin) Wunder of Howard, SD; Kevin (Leslie) Petersen of Pierre, SD; her stepson Lee Wunder of Astoria, OR; 11 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren; sister Vivian Malcomson of Rochester, MN; brother Gerald Griffin of Estelline, SD and younger brother Mike (Harris) Griffin of Albuquerque, NM.
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