Virginia Rooke Closs, 95, passed away peacefully at home on Monday, March 19, 2018. Virginia, (Gini) is survived by her children and their spouses; William (Katharine) Closs, Elizabeth (Michael) Hatfield and Linda Hovis; 9 loving grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. She is predeceased by her husband of 65 years, Bill Tom Closs, her parents Dayton and Elizabeth Rooke, her sisters Helen Sutherland and Judy Schomaker, her brother Donald Rooke and her beloved dog, MaiTai.
Gini was born in Steubenville, Ohio on February 18, 1923, and she moved with her family to Pasadena, California as a young child. Gini excelled in school and became a leader in student government. Known to her friends as “Rookie,” she was involved in community activities including marching in the Rose Parade. She was selected to join a group of young people on an exchange program to Mexico after attending Pasadena Junior College for 2 years. She went on to earn a degree in International Studies from Stanford University, and joined the Chi Omega sorority. During World War II she volunteered for the Women’s Air Raid Defense, or WARD, and was stationed in Honolulu, Hawaii. There she met and wed the love of her life, Bill Tom Closs, a Marine lieutenant from Texas.
Returning from the war, Bill started playing professional basketball in the newly formed NBA, and Gini became adept at raising her young family while moving from place to place, including Texas, Indiana and Philadelphia. Later they moved to California where Gini worked hand in hand with Bill to start their first business, a sporting goods distribution company. This led to a new chapter in their lives with international travel and new friendships when Bill became an Adidas distributor.
A multi talented, creative, and devoted mother, Gini took pride in her home and had a passion for gardening, interior decorating, sewing clothes and home décor, raising many family dogs, and becoming an accomplished tennis and bridge player. As an active and involved mother she introduced her children to music, dance, sports, camping and cultural experiences such as hosting a Swiss daughter, Vreni, who is still an important part of the Closs family.
In retirement Gini and Bill spent much of the year at their home on Flathead Lake in Montana, raising Arabian horses, collecting Western art and developing a wonderful group of friends. As avid sports fans, Gini and Bill supported numerous athletes at their alma maters, Stanford, and Rice University with athletic scholarships. They were cofounders of an innovative housing development for seniors in downtown Palo Alto, The Hamilton, where they happily spent their final years.
Virginia Closs was outstanding in every way, and her presence in our lives was a true gift. She will be missed and remembered always as a beautiful and loving mother, wife and friend. Her grandchildren and great grandchildren will cherish their memories of their fun and supportive “Gigi.” Her life will be celebrated with family and close friends at a time and place to be determined. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the charity of your choice.