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Virginia Lee (Frink) Thorn
Virginia Lee (Frink) Thorn

Virginia Lee (Frink) Thorn was born in Topeka, Kansas, near the Indian reservation where her parents, A. Virginia (Lee) and Corydon Thomas Frink were missionaries to the Potawatomi Indians. Eighteen months later they would work and teach to the Yuma Indians in Arizona. When Virginia Lee (known to friends -and relatives as Ginny Lee) was three the family returned to grandparents' farm in Iowa before relocating in Evanston, IL, where Corydon would be studying at Garrett Theological Seminary for the Methodist Church. Their next home would be in Van Brocklin Church southwest of Freeport, IL and two years later, Thawville in central eastern IL. It was there that Corydon died and Virginia Lee's mother would temporarily take over the pulpit. However, they would soon relocate to Bloomington, IL where her mother would become an associate pastor.

But it was a difficult time for jobs, and soon mother and daughter were back in Erie, PA where Virginia Lee's mother had been born and raised. She became ill during that time, and Virginia Lee would attend three different schools before traveling to Illinois for a new life on the farm. Graduating as Salutatorian from Orangeville High School, Virginia Lee entered the University of Dubuque, Iowa that fall. However, it was during the height of the Korean War, and high school sweetheart Richard and one of his buddies had enlisted in the U.S. Navy. Fearing he would be sent overseas, the two sweethearts decided to marry. Instead, Richard was sent to Sonar School in Key West, FL, where he would eventually be assigned to an experimental minesweeper.

The next three and a half years would be spent on the east coast where Richard was stationed in the mine force. Children born during that time were Jeffrey Lawrence Thorn, Charleston, SC., and Diana Lee Thorn in Key West, FL. They returned to IL in early 1954 to settle in Freeport where both Virginia Lee and Richard would find jobs. Virginia Lee found most rewarding her position in the Medical Records Department of Freeport Memorial Hospital.

At the age of five, Virginia Lee began playing the piano by ear. Lessons came later, and when entering college music was her major. When her local church needed an organist she stepped in to fill the need, learning the organ technique as she went along. Her experience as an organist, playing not only for morning services, but for weddings and funerals as well, lasted for almost 30 years. And after retiring, with time on her hands, she began composing as well, and writing poetry and novels. Living at Lake Summerset for more than 40 years, Swimming and biking were added to her schedule of activities.

Of the years Virginia Lee worked in Freeport, her years at the Freeport Memorial Hospital were the most memorable in that the friendships made there lasted for the rest of her life. After retirement, the friends (and husbands) met at least once a year to visit and dine together. Some special outings were held at Lake Wisconsin hosted by the Mullarkeys. Other gatherings were held at restaurants in and around the Freeport area, as well as the friends’ homes. It was the best of times…

Virginia Lee was preceded in death by her husband, Richard, father, mother, grandparents, aunts and uncles. She leaves behind a daughter, Diana (Bob) Verhulst, grandsons Jonathon (Krystina) Roemer and Wesley Roemer; son, Jeffrey (Christine) Thorn, grandson, Jared (Kehlie) and granddaughter, Ashley, and great grandson, Caleb. Interment will be at the Oakland Mausoleum next to her husband Richard. Condolences may be shared at In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to NIAS, Salvation Army, and Goodwill.