Virginia Louise Kleffman
June 18, 1930-Aug. 28, 2023
Virginia, a devoted wife, mother and grandmother whose family and friends meant the world to her, passed peacefully in her home with family by her side. She was 93 and succumbed to chronic heart and lung problems.
Also known as Gin, Virginia was born to Carl and Irma Purtle in Rosston, Arkansas, during the Great Depression. The youngest of six children, Virginia grew up in a farmhouse that lacked electricity, a furnace and indoor plumbing. She graduated from Laneburg High School as valedictorian of her class.
It was between her junior and senior year of high school that Virginia, while visiting her sister in Kansas City, met the love of her life, Don Kleffman of Creston, Iowa. She would date other people during her senior year of high school but she knew her time with Don was special. She kept the tickets from their first date at a roller derby for the rest of her lifetime.
Virginia and Don were married on March 17, 1949, beginning more than 71 years of devotion. Their deep love and commitment to each other were an inspiration to all who knew them. She worked briefly at a soda fountain, telephone and insurance companies, but her true passion was being a wife, mother and grandmother. After giving birth to Sandra, Debra and Timothy, the young couple moved from Des Moines, Iowa, to Sunnyvale, California so Don could become the first video applications engineer at Ampex in Redwood City. He rose through the ranks of the company, eventually becoming president of Ampex International. The shy girl from rural Arkansas suddenly found herself the wife of a high tech executive traveling around the world with Don, including trips to Europe, Hawaii, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Africa. They especially loved Grindelwald, Switzerland, where they would sometimes be joined by Don’s two sisters, LaVerna and Marilyn. Virginia and Don created many warm holiday family gatherings that were cherished by all. Family members lovingly recall Virginia’s delicious prime rib Christmas dinners, special Christmas cookies and chicken noodle soup. Virginia and Don also loved spending time with their grandchildren, Natalie and Kevin, who brought incredible joy to their lives. In 2013, Don and Virginia moved to the Village at Ironwood in Pleasanton to be closer to their children. When Don passed in 2020, Virginia missed him dearly but her spirits were lifted by daily visits from her children, her many wonderful neighbors and their pets. Virginia and her family also deeply appreciated the companionship and excellent care provided by her caregivers, including Rocio, Debora, Ismenia, Angela and Mekdes.
Virginia will always hold a very special place in the hearts of those who knew her and will especially be remembered for her gentle kindness, concern about others, graceful strength, and devotion to family and friends.
Virginia was preceded in death by her father and mother, Carl and Irma, her brothers Dale and Mal, her sisters Irlis, Eva Nell, and Doris, her sister-in-law Marilyn, and her husband Don. She is survived by her daughter Sandra Kleffman of Pleasanton, her daughter Debra Lee and husband Richard of Livermore, her son Timothy Kleffman and wife Deborah Rosa of Pleasanton, her granddaughter Natalie Papolos and husband Alex of Washington, D.C., her grandson Kevin Kleffman of Boston, her sister-in-law LaVerna Kleffman of Iowa, and many beloved nieces and nephews.
Plans for a celebration of life are pending. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Alameda County Community Food Bank, P.O. Box 2599, Oakland, CA 94614. Their website is donate.accfb.org