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Unsung Heroes

Virginia Wantz

Caroline Trevorrow

"But everyone knows me!" said Virginia somewhat ruefully when I approached her to "star" in my latest article. This may be true, but for those of you out there who don’t know Virginia Wantz, read on. For those of you who do know Virginia, I can guarantee that I won’t be able to do this wonderful little lady any justice to be sure, but read on anyway. Like the dawning of the sun every morning and the changing of the seasons, there has always been one constant at Toms Creek United Methodist Church besides the beautiful stained glass windows and the tall wood paneled doors dividing the parlor from the sanctuary. That one constant is Virginia, on whom you always can depend. When I visited Toms Creek Church over twenty years ago when I was only 16 years old, believe it or not, Virginia is one of the few people that I distinctly remember. Much has changed, but Virginia hasn’t changed much over the years. She is still the sassy, vivacious gal that she’s always been. She is the choir director at Toms Creek Church and has been diligently playing hymns on the organ, up in the front of the old church since she was only a young girl of thirteen years old.

Church and Sunday School have always been a big part of her life. She has taught pre-school age children Sunday School for 45 years and has watched those children grow up and make their place in the world, hopefully instilling some good old-fashioned Christian values to take into the world with them. Virginia has definitely made her mark in this life and it is a good one. In one way or another, Virginia has touched countless people over the years with her music and her adorable personality. It’s hard to believe, but she’s been filling the little country church with organ music for 60 long years. Since 1949, the melodious sounds of the church organ (not the same one for the last 60 years mind you) have come alive at her fingertips. It comes as second nature to her and anyone at church can see that she enjoys every minute of it. Whenever she catches my eye, she usually gives me a knowing wink and a smile.

She can be what Simon Cowell from "American Idol" would probably call a "mischievous little minx." She has a very memorable way about her. Having experienced Virginia’s charming and hilarious candor first hand, let me tell you, she is a lot of fun. I have had the pleasure to fill in for absentees in the choir and Virginia is a joy to work with to say the least. Once, when we were singing a little weak and off key she said in an exasperated tone "Oh come on now! You sound like your dead! Pick it up will ya!" Another interesting little tidbit I learned from Virginia is that she doesn’t particularly like to smile for photographs. Once after cleaning up after a church supper she said to me "Why do people always smile when they think they’re having their picture taken? (she displays a fake grin as she says this) I think people should just look like they feel". (she displays a solemn expression) and then she bursts out laughing. After all these years, Virginia is still just a kid at heart.

She was born during the great depression on November 28, 1935 into the loving Baumgardner family. She was raised by her parents, John and Maude on Keysville and Four Points Road and has three brothers and one sister. There on the family farm in Emmitsburg, Virginia worked hard doing daily farm and household chores as all country girls do. Virginia graduated from Emmitsburg High School in 1953 with a class of about twenty. She has many fond memories from there. On a cold winter’s day in January 28, 1955 she married the proverbial boy next door, Donald Wantz who lived a mile from her. Virginia and Donald had three children, David, Mary Harner and Virginia Lee Schaffer. She has six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Virginia became a widow in 1993 when her beloved Donald passed away. Donald and Virginia had a successful electrical business called "Wantz Electric" for about 20 years and then decided to go into a different direction. Virginia went to work for Mount St. Mary’s University in 1981 and is still there doing the purchasing for Physical Plant and is the vehicle coordinator. Virginia loves people and Christian fellowship and she thanks God everyday for her life and I have no doubt that God is glad to have met Virginia.