Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice was recently part of the 103rd birthday celebration of Virginia “Ginie” Dowe Cherepy. Virginia, currently a resident at Valley View Rehabilitation and Health Care Center in Newton, NJ, was born May 31, 1919, in Bloomfield, NJ to Karl A. Dowe and Violet M. Search. Her mother was a professional nurse while her dad played the piano for silent movies at Franklin and other theaters. Mr. Dowe also had an orchestra, gave music lessons, and owned a music store in Summit, NJ. An only child, Virginia, grew up with Aunts around her age and considered them her sisters.
Virginia attended Ogdensburg Elementary School, where she was the Valedictorian of the 8th grade class. She graduated from Franklin High School in 1937 where during her stay she achieved the rank of Valedictorian of her 9th grade class.
Virginia worked as a secretary in many different places including the New Jersey Zinc Company in Franklin New Jersey for six years from 1937 – 1943. Her employment history includes Virginia Electric & Power Company, VA; Tong Sol Electric Inc. N.J.; TWA, DE, VA, and MO; Fluid Chemical Co., N.J.; Interpace, N.J and Picatinny where she retired from after 14 years of employment on October 2, 1987.
On November 19, 1943, Virginia married Coloman Cherepy in Bell Air Maryland. They were married for 56 years. Coloman, an Army Veteran, died on May 10, 1999, at the age of 83. While they were unable to have children Virginia has many nieces and nephews.
When asked about her hobbies and interests Virginia commented that she likes ice skating, roller skating, sports, reading, card games, baseball and football games, movies, piano playing, and bingo, but “I LOVE TO TRAVEL AND SHOP!”
“When Coloman was employed at Reaction Motors & Thiokol Chemical Company as a service representative and sent to Germany, we enjoyed traveling in France, Germany, and Italy. In Paris, France, we went to our first huge flea market, and we ate at the famous Maxim’s Restaurant,” said Virginia. “In Rome, Italy while at an audience with the Pope, we were so close to him that we could almost touch him. In Munich, Germany, we went to Oktoberfest. Also because of Coloman’ s work, we traveled all over the United States of America including FL, MS, VA, DE, MO, NJ, and CA.”
Virginia is a longtime member of the Berkshire Valley Presbyterian Church. “I joined the church when Pastor Dana was there,” stated Virginia. At the church she served in many roles including typing the weekly bulletin and running it off on a mimeograph machine, serving twice as church Elder, assisting with rummage sales and tail gate sales. “I made a Samaritan’s purse, knitted for the needy and for many years I sang in the choir,” said Virginia.
Virginia had two cakes at her 103rd Birthday Party but made it known that cheesecake is her favorite. Pat Keegan a Certified Home Health Aide for Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice was there to help Virginia celebrate her day, which was really special as May 31st is also Pat’s Birthday!
Virginia is an honorary member of the American Legion Post #132 in Franklin, NJ and a lifetime member of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association. On her Birthday, Virginia received a congratulatory phone call from Governor Philip Murphy. Governor Murphy also sent a congratulatory letter to be presented to Virginia that stated, “Through life’s trial and challenges, you have always persevered and maintained your integrity. It is because of your unbreakable spirit that you have become such a strong pillar for both your family and your community. On this day, all those you have touch throughout your life come together to celebrate you for your commitment and dedication.”
Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice is a not-for-profit healthcare organization which provides a full continuum of high quality medical, emotional and spiritual services to hospice patients, their family members and the community. Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice is licensed by both the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Department of Health as a certified Medicare and Medicaid Hospice. For more information on the services, we provide please call 973-383-0115 or visit us online at KarenAnnQuinlanHospice.org.