Obituary: Virginia Tourigian (1925-2011)

Virginia Tourigian was born on May 6, 1925 to Mardiros Tourigian and Nevart Sadjian. She had a sister, Lucy, who predeceased her and a brother, Martin John Tourigian.

Virginia graduated from West Philadelphia High School. She started working at the Pennsylvania railroad (PRR) on Feb. 1, 1943. PRR then became Penn Central Railroad, which then became Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail).

She retired from Conrail on July 5, 1989 with 46.5 years of railroad service. There is a plaque with her name and service on the wall at the railroad museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg, Pa. When she retired, a giant retirement party was held in her honor. She had friends everywhere, and knew people all over the country.

Virginia was a lifelong member of St. Gregory’s Church, a member of the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) Ani Chapter, the Armenian Students’ Association, an Armenian theatrical group, the Knar Choral Group, and the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF).

Virginia joined the AYF at 15 and seldom, if ever, missed an Olympics. She served the executive in most every capacity. During World War II, with her sister, Lucy, and Rose Giragosian, she published the WYF Newscaster, which was dispatched to AYF servicemen off fighting the war. Through this publication, she wrote to the Armenian soldiers from Philadelphia to help their morale, and shared their letters and stories with other Armenian soldiers serving on different continents and in different battles. Virginia collected money for war bonds and spent considerable time recruiting members to fill the ranks during the lean years. Her Convention days date back to 1947, when she also bowled and played basketball.

Virginia also organized the Olympics trip to Los Angeles in 1972. She served on the ARS Executive and helped children attend AYF Camp Haiastan with scholarship aid. She was a member and part of the fundraising committee of St. Gregory’s building project, and was instrumental in raising considerable funds.

1 Comment

  1. Virginia was the most colorful individual ever. She lit up a room just by being in it.  Her dedication to Garmeer Khatch was unparalleled.  She really was an aunt to me, my siblings and my cousins and we think of her often.  May she rest in peace.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.