Virginia Helen Riker, 94, died of natural causes on January 29, 2013 at her home in Alexian Grove, Chattanooga, Tennessee.
She was born in the Bronx, New York (New York City) on Oct. 23, 1918, the daughter of Annie Doyle and Arthur Jaeger, both of Manhattan (New York City). She lost her father at age five.
Virginia (Ginny) graduated from Roosevelt High School in the Bronx in 1935. She met her future husband Walter F. Riker, Jr. in New York during a Lucky Strike promotional campaign for the American Tobacco Company. They married on Nov. 28, 1941 in the chapel at Columbia University soon after Walter graduated from Cornell Medical School, remaining there as a professor and chairman until his retirement. After living in the Riverdale section of the Bronx for many years, the couple moved to Fort Lee, N.J., where they lived happily for 40 years until Walter’s death in 2004.
In 2005 Ginny moved to Chattanooga. Ginny touched all she met with a selfless sense of optimism, quiet dignity, and sense of humor; she accepted all life’s challenges not with complaint, but joy. She will be missed by all who knew and came to love her. Above all, her life’s devotion was to her family.
Virginia was sister to four brothers, Arthur, Joseph, and twins Raymond (Pep) and Donald, and two younger half-sisters, Ann and Marion (Patsy) Whitaker. Donald was killed in action during World War II off the coast of Normandy on June 11, 1944 when Ginny was 26.
Virginia is survived by her half-sister, Patsy of Howell, N.J., her husband, Thomas Baker, her sister-in-law, Virginia Huebner of Wells, Me., her sons, Donald Kay Riker, and his wife Leigh, of Soddy Daisy, Walter Franklyn Riker III, and his wife Christine, of Alpine, Wy., and Wayne Scaford Riker of Solana Beach, Ca. She is also survived by seven grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, and as of Oct. 14, 2012, one great-great-grandchild, Cyrus Sampson Riker, making a total of five living generations.
A memorial service celebrating Virginia’s life will be held at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Chattanooga Funeral Home, Hixson, with Wayland Stewart officiating. Visitation will follow the memorial service, at the funeral home, with a catered reception.
Interment and a graveside service will occur in the spring at the family plot in Woodlawn Cemetery, The Bronx, New York.
Donations in Virginia’s memory should be made to the Residents Honor Fund, Alexian Grove, 100 Asbury Oak Lane, Chattanooga, Tn. 37419.
Arrangements are by the Chattanooga Funeral Home Crematory and Florist, North Chapel, Highway 153, Hixson, Tn. 37343.
Please share your thoughts and memories at www.ChattanoogaNorthChapel.com.