The first time I ever went to Fred and Virginia Wagner's house, a framed letter hanging on the wall caught my eye. It was addressed to Virginia and signed by J. Edgar Hoover. Startled, I read what was obviously a personal response to a letter Virginia had written to the FBI as a young child. She had apparently expressed her goal to be a "G-man" when she grew up.
In the rejection hanging on the wall, Director Hoover thanked the girl for her interest and then gently informed her that women weren't allowed to be FBI investigators. But the fact that Virginia had such a daring childhood goal and then took the initiative to write to Hoover, always seemed a symbol of the energetic, frank, lively and loving friend I came to know through the years - as determined as she was dear.
Virginia epitomized the term "community spirit," and threw herself into tasks would better Bay St. Louis. The last photograph I took of her was at Bay BridgeFest in May, where she had volunteered to sell t-shirts in record-breaking heat. And looking back through my archives for pictures of her, I found that they were almost all taken while she was volunteering in some civic capacity. Her dynamic smile and powerful spirit beams from every image. I'm profoundly grateful for having known her and believe that I'm far from alone in feeling that she'll remain a guiding light for the rest of my days.
The contributors of the Fourth Ward Cleaver extend their deepest condolences to her family.