6 N Main • Caldwell, KS • 620-845-6424
June 8, 1928 ~ September 28, 2019
Virginia Elizabeth (Neumann) Fitch, 91, of Manhattan, Kansas, died on Saturday, September 28, 2019, with her daughter Julie and son Greg at her side. Virginia was born to Henry P. Neumann and Elizabeth (Janzen) Neufeld Neumann in Grant County, Oklahoma, on June 8, 1928, on a farm a few miles east of Medford. She was the last of eight children born to Elizabeth. Virginia grew up on a farm southeast of Medford with three older brothers, where she performed farm chores such as milking the cows and watering the chickens. (Three older siblings were already living away from home by this time, and one had died as an infant.)
Virginia attended Mount Vernon District #69 grade school, usually walking to school and back each day, until 1942, at which time she entered Medford High School, graduating in 1946. Her family attended the Medford Mennonite Church as she was growing up, where she was baptized on June 18, 1944 and where she played the piano for the church choir, the men’s quartet, the men’s chorus, and the congregational singing for several years.
After high school, Virginia attended Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva, Oklahoma, long enough to be granted an “emergency” teaching certificate that was good for one year. The certificate allowed her to teach country school during the teacher shortage that was associated with World War II. After the certificate expired, she worked as a bookkeeper at Singer Sewing Machine Company in Enid, Oklahoma, for several years.
In the mid-to-late 1940s, Virginia’s brother Willard Neumann introduced Virginia to Arthur William Fitch, who was farming in the Medford and Caldwell, Kansas, regions after having returned from serving in Europe during World War II. On March 12, 1950, Arthur and Virginia were married. They remained married for over 53 years until Art’s death in November 2003.
Art and Virginia lived on a farm until early 1955. They became a family of three in 1955 when a son, Greg, was born, and then a family of four in 1957 with the birth of a daughter, Julie. By this time, Art and Virginia had moved to Caldwell into a house at 619 North Osage. Greg and Julie grew up in this house, where Art and Virginia lived until after both kids had left for college and until Arthur retired from farming in 1981. Virginia viewed the years 1955 through 1980 as the most precious years of her marriage, raising and enjoying (mostly) her children and helping them to get their educations. Virginia was a member of the Caldwell United Methodist Church during her many years in Caldwell, and was active in Evening Circle and other church groups and activities.
Virginia was a homemaker and mother and helped extensively with the farming during the years in which Greg and Julie were growing up. In 1970, after having been out of college for over twenty years, she took the extraordinary step of enrolling in a number of college courses at Cowley County Community College in Arkansas City, Kansas. These courses helped her gain employment at the George K. Reeder Insurance Agency in Caldwell, where she worked for ten years as a licensed insurance agent and office manager. When Insurance Services of Caldwell purchased the George K. Reeder Agency, Virginia continued to work for Insurance Services for another two years.
In 1982, after Art’s retirement, Virginia and Art moved to Enid, Oklahoma, where they lived for 18 years. Virginia worked in the Garfield County Assessor’s office for eight of these years. She retired in 1990. In the following years, Art and Virginia fished, traveled (going twice to Canada), and were frequently visited by their children and, eventually, grandchildren.
In 1998, Art and Virginia moved to Manhattan, Kansas, to be near Julie, Greg, and, by this time, four grandchildren: Nathan, Erika, Augie, and Andy. Virginia had a unique and special relationship with each grandchild, and each has fond memories of her. Virginia joined the College Avenue Methodist Church in Manhattan and was active in the church in a variety of ways.
After Arthur died in 2003, Virginia continued to live in their house in Manhattan. In 2016, due to declining health, she moved to Via Christie Village in Manhattan, where she resided until her death.
Virginia was preceded in death by her husband Arthur, by her parents, by sister Anne Neufeld Nickel, by sister Emma Neumann Fast, by brothers Gus Neufeld, Alvin Neuman, Willard Neumann, and Harold Neumann, and by an infant sister, Ida Neumann. She is survived by a son Greg, of Kansas City, Missouri, a daughter Julie, of Manhattan, Kansas, and four grandchildren: Nathan Wurst, of Roeland Park, Kansas, Erika Wurst, of St. Louis, Missouri, Augie Fitch, of Manhattan Kansas, and Andy Fitch, of Manhattan, Kansas.
A memorial service will be held Friday, October 11, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. at the United Methodist Church in Caldwell, Kansas, followed by the interment of cremated remains at the Caldwell Cemetery.
Memorial contributions in Virginia’s name may be made to the Caldwell United Methodist Church and may be left in care of the mortuary.