Virginia Blair peacefully left this world on July 12, 2019 after a short illness. She was born in Afton, Wyoming on May 20, 1933 to Richard Ivan and Emma Estella Anglesey. She was the oldest of 4 children, with younger siblings being Elaine Hyde, Ione Potter and Garie Anglesey.
Virginia was an outstanding student in school. She knew from the start that the farming life from which she was raised was not for her so after graduating from Star Valley High School in May of 1951, Virginia moved to Jackson to find work. She worked for George W. Lumley at Lumley’s Drug Store. Rumor has it that on or near the 4th of July of that year, she was crossing the street in front of the Wort Hotel, when a wild young rancher named Calvin Blair was out cruising around with friends and thought it would be funny to try to run her over……..it was love at first sight and they were married on December 5, 1951.
Her next employment was working for Ella Mercill at Mercill’s Dry Goods Store from June 1952 to February 1953. She then got the opportunity to work at The Jackson State Bank for Felix Buchenroth Sr. as a bookkeeper. She had found her calling. She worked her way up the banking ladder from bookkeeper, to teller, to Head Cashier, then to installment loans and finally to Assistant Vice President. She eventually advanced to Vice-President and finally Senior Vice President. During her tenure with Jackson State Bank, she worked under various Presidents, not only with Felix Buchenroth Sr, but also Robert E. Stewart and finally Felix Buchenroth Jr. She received a degree from the National School of Real Estate Finance from The Ohio State University. She also attended classes at the University of Washington Pacific Coast Banking School. Keep in mind, all of these accomplishments were made in a time where women didn’t advance in banking…..but Virginia did. In 1981, the bank was sold and Virginia decided it was time to move on after 28 years of assisting the folks of Jackson with their financial needs. She decided to retire.
In the summer of 1981, she spent time in Grants Village with Calvin, as he worked construction and was working on the construction of the sewer treatment plant that serves that area today. It was an exciting summer for both of them as camping didn’t make it seem like work. But Virginia was lost without giving back to the community. In 1983, Jolynn Coonce rang her up and asked if she could come to work part time for her and Jeannine Mayer splitting time between the County Clerk’s office and part time for the County Treasurer’s office. Virginia said yes, seeing it as an opportunity to give back to the community. Her “part time” gig turned in to a full-time career for 12 years when she finally retired July 1, 1995.
Calvin and Virginia loved everything about Jackson Hole and its opportunities. They would jump in the car after work, with nothing but a can of pork and beans and a loaf of bread for dinner, and head to Jackson Lake. Virginia learned to waterski but didn’t learn to swim until many years later. In the winter, they would haul the snow plane up to Jackson Lake to spend the day ice fishing. In October of 1961 they welcomed daughter Sherry and in November of 1964 their family increased to 4 with the addition of son Brad. Both children accompanied Calvin and Virginia on every trip the couple went on.
In later years, she and Calvin loved to take trips to Mesquite, Nevada and try their luck at the penny slots but their trips began to get few and far between as their dedication was to care for Calvin’s aging mother, LaPreal. Then in later years, Virginia spent the majority of her time caring for Calvin. After his passing, Virginia continued to give to the Church, have lunch with the girls, and of course, get her hair done every Friday. In all the 68 years she spent living in Jackson, whenever Jackson played Star Valley in sports, she always cheered for Star Valley.
Virginia served this community in various organizations throughout the years, including Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce, Teton County Planning Board, National Association of Bank Women, Business and Professional Women (BPW), Soroptimist, and the Community Task Force now known as the Community Safety Network, along with the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of America, to name a few. All of these organizations have benefited from Virginia’s many contributions.
Virginia was preceded in death by her husband Calvin, her parents Ivan and Estella, and sister Elaine. She is survived by her daughter Sherry (Bruce) Daigle of Jackson, son Brad (Cherilyn) Blair of Broomfield Hills, Michigan, and grandchildren Cody Daigle, Kate Daigle and Emma Blair, and her sister Ione (Ernie) Potter and brother Garie (Janice) Anglesey, both of Lake Havasu, Arizona. The Family would like to thank the caring staff at the Sage Living Center for the phenomenal care and respect they showed Virginia in her short stay and would ask that donations be made in her honor to the Living Center in lieu of flowers.
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