Virginia M Figgins
March 14th, 1922 ~ April 4th, 2011
Virginia Mary "Gigi" Figgins, 89, of the Washington Odd Fellows Home, Walla Walla,
passed away on April 4th, 2011. Mrs Figgins was born Mary Virginia Leonetti on March
14th, 1922 to Francesco and Rosina (Fazzari) Leonetti.
She grew up on the family farm south of Walla Walla and was educated at Braden School, St Patrick's School and St Vincent's
Academy, graduating from grade 12 in 1938 at the age of 16. She was noted not only for her
academic achievements and perfect attendance, but also for having been awarded the distinction of Most Valuable
Player for basketball, along with her first cousin, the late Arthur Fazzari. After high school, she had aspirations for
a vocation with the Catholic Church, but her plans for the convent were pre-empted by her mother's illness. She instead
went to work for Baker-Langdon Farms where she met Berle Wilson Figgins, who had recently arrived in
Walla Walla from Scandia, Kansas.
The two were married at St Francis of Assisi church on August 23rd, 1942,
with Fr Hugo Pautler officiating. Mr Figgins enlisted in the US Navy, and the two moved first to Portland, Oregon
and then to Providence, Rhode Island for his initial training. When Mr Figgins was sent overseas, Mrs Figgins returned
to the family farm with a newborn daughter, Cheryl Kathleen. She went to work as a nurse's aid at McCaw
Military Hospital until the close of World War II. Upon Mr Figgins' return, the couple built a house on Truman Street
with the help of Mrs Figgins' brother, George Leonetti. As the family grew, they settled in 1953 into a new home on
South Third Avenue, where eight children were raised. Mrs Figgins devoted the second half of her life to caring for her
seventh child, Cynthia Marie, who is profoundly afflicted by Down syndrome. She continued to provide care for her
until 2008, when her own health began to fail. She was a resident of Garrison Creek Lodge and the Washington
Odd Fellows Home in her final years of life.
In her younger years, Mrs Figgins enjoyed cooking, sewing, playing Bingo and department store shopping. She loved to dance to old-time Country and Western music, and she could be found at the VFW and Elks clubs where she and her husband were members. Always known for
her youthful spirit and her flair for fashion, she often defied her true age. She was a member of St Anne's Altar Society,
DeSales Booster Club, VFW Ladies' Auxiliary, Lady Elks and the Italian Heritage Association. She was a life-long
parishioner of St Francis of Assisi Church.
Her husband, Berle W Figgins, Sr, a daughter, Cheryl K Chenault, a son, Timothy S Figgins, a grandson, Ian A Figgins (Loiacono), her two brothers and three sisters preceded Mrs Figgins in death. She is survived by daughters Linda Gayle Figgins, Laurie Lee Figgins (Robert George
Boldman) and Cynthia Marie Figgins, and sons Gary Steven Figgins (Nancy Marie Figgins), Gordon Dean Figgins and
Berle Wilson Figgins, Jr (Julie Alison Figgins), all of Walla Walla. Grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as follows,
also survive her: Tamara, Amy, Christopher, John, Amber, Shaun, Barbara, Jamie, Melanie, Caitlyn, Sabrina, Raegan,
Scarlett, Ella, Trevor, Mykella, Baylie, Aubrey, Zackary and Nyelie. Additionally, she is survived by numerous nieces
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the care of the Herring-Groseclose Funeral Home, where viewing of the deceased is scheduled for 1 pm, Sunday, April 10th. Viewing continues until after a rosary ceremony, which is scheduled for 6 pm that evening. A funeral mass will be
celebrated at 10 am, Monday, April 11th, at St Francis of Assisi Church, with Fr Patrick Kerst as officiant. Interment
will immediately follow at Blue Mountain Memorial Gardens. A luncheon banquet and celebration of Mrs Figgins' life will be held at the St Francis of Assisi Church parish hall after the graveside service.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Down Syndrome Foundation in Mrs Figgins' name.