Virginia Gurdak, 1930-2021

Virginia Gurdak, 1930-2021
Virginia Gurdak, 1930-2021. Photo provided

LUDLOW, Vt. – Virginia “Ginny” Gurdak, age 90, died peacefully at Springfield Hospital Wednesday morning, March 31, 2021. A lifelong resident of Ludlow, Ginny was born in her family’s home on Depot Street June 14, 1930, to parents Frank and Amelia Yankowski. She was the youngest of six children and born on Flag Day, and throughout her life she would joke that the flags were flying in her honor.

Ginny grew up playing kick the can down the streets of Ludlow and helping out in her family’s general store on Depot Street. After excelling in high school, she received a scholarship to the University of Vermont and fulfilled her dream of becoming a teacher. She went on to teach English at Black River High School for 29 years and touched the lives of hundreds of young students. In her later years, she worked at a gas station in town and affectionately became known by locals as “Jiffy Mart Ginny.”

In 1953, Ginny married John Gurdak and they eventually moved into their home on South Hill where she lived until her death. Together they had five children: Paul, Steve, Theresa, Cynthia, and Julie. They grew up as a close-knit family who often went on drives together and watched sitcoms on Friday night. Her husband, John, passed away in 1995, and Ginny never remarried, though she ensured that her family remained close. She had a total of ten grandchildren and five great-granddaughters, and she hosted every major holiday in her home and spent two weeks each summer with her entire family at the Bensons’ cottage on Echo Lake. On Sundays, she would always cook a big dinner after church for whoever could attend. Sometimes there would be 30 people in her home, but Ginny welcomed everyone with open arms and plied them all with more food than they could possibly eat.

Ginny loved music and theater, and she spent years volunteering as an usher at the Weston Playhouse. She often joked that she should have been a Broadway star and would sing showtunes while she cooked for her family. She loved doing puzzles and playing Scrabble, especially since it gave her a chance to show off her extensive vocabulary and impeccable grammar. She was also adventurous and loved to travel with her close friend, Theresa Moore. She flew many times with her son Paul and was his first passenger when he got his new pilot’s license.

This past year, her family was able to celebrate her 90th birthday with a socially distanced parade and the flags flying just for her. They will always be grateful for the time they were able to spend with her, and she will be greatly missed and forever loved.

Due to rising Covid cases, the family will be waiting until July to hold an official celebration of Ginny’s life at Echo Lake, with more details to come.

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