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Suzanne Vollmayer Girkins

October 7, 1927 January 8, 2019
Suzanne Vollmayer Girkins
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Obituary for Suzanne Vollmayer Girkins

Suzanne Vollmayer Girkins died peacefully in Ashanti Hospice at Sunset House on January 8, 2019. Born on October 7, 1927 in Toledo, Ohio, she was the fourth child and second daughter of George J. and Ruth Coles Vollmayer.
Sue graduated from DeVilbiss High School in 1945 where she was a member of the Gamma Lambda sorority. Because both of her parents had died by the time she graduated, Sue was forced to give up plans to attend college. Her high-school interest in shorthand and typing, though only lukewarm, was immediately marketable. She worked as a secretary in the executive offices, first, of Willys Overland and, later, of Owens Illinois until 1950, when she married Robert C. Meader and started a family. In 1960, the young family moved to Chicago and then in 1966 to Edina, Minnesota. Like many women in the ’50s and ’60s, Sue found contentment in her role as wife and mother; she derived most of her personal satisfaction from husband and children.
Ties to Toledo remained strong and the family returned in 1970. She soon began a 17-year career with Mercy Hospital and quickly rose to office manager of the Diabetes Care Center.
In 1978 she married Ralph Girkins, Jr., an old high school acquaintance. Aided by his practicality, intelligence, and encouragement, she was able to pursue her interests. Sue enrolled in the Adult Liberal Studies Program at The University of Toledo. To overcome a fear of public speaking, she joined Toastmasters International. Because of her keen interest in and skill with gardening and horticulture, she became a Master Gardener. She was president of the Garden Club Forum and a member of the Corey Woods Garden Club. She was also a member of the Public and Facilities Team of Toledo’s Committee of 100. In recognition of her efforts to beautify Toledo’s public spaces “one flower at a time,” she received a CIVITAS award from Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner in 2000. At 73, she bought a piano and began taking lessons from pianist Robert Ballinger. She gave recitals until she was in her late 80s. She was an enthusiastic and dedicated member and officer of the Toledo Symphony League whose mission is to support the TSO Youth Orchestra.
Self-improvement was not Sue’s sole motivation during her retirement. Public affairs, friendships, music, scholarship, and - above all - family were important to her. While she was realistic about her age and despite the dimming prospects for her future, she never lost her dignity nor stopped looking ahead.
Sue was preceded in death by her husband, Ralph C. Girkins, Jr.; her parents; her sister, Mary Jo; and her brothers Karl and James. She is survived by her children, Shelley (Richard) Walinski, Charles (Angela) Meader, and Jeannine (Dan) Filippini; her grandchildren, Ben (Janelle), Kristen (Fred), Richard (Angeliki), Elizabeth, and Kathryn; her four great grandchildren; her nieces, Cheryl Bernritter, Carla Deasy, Anne van Tonningen, and Mary Broxon; and her nephews, David Vollmayer and Jeff Newcomb.
The family will receive friends on Saturday, January 12 from 2-4 p.m. at Walker Funeral Home 5155 Sylvania Ave (west of Corey Rd). Services and interment will be private. Those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider the TSO Youth Orchestra.
The family is indebted to Allen L. Markowicz, MD for his many years of thoughtful medical advice and compassionate care and to his staff for their many courtesies. We are grateful to the staff of Sunset House and its Ashanti Hospice for their consistently charitable attention, which was nothing short of heroic. There are saints among us.

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11:00 AM 1/12/2019 11:00:00 AM - 1:00 PM 1/12/2019 1:00:00 PM
Walker Funeral Home

5155 W Sylvania Avenue
Toledo, OH 43623

Walker Funeral Home
5155 W Sylvania Avenue Toledo 43623 OH
United States

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