Virginia Brooks Sasser
April 10, 1924 –– Aug. 5, 2018
Virginia Brooks Sasser was born in Wallowa, to George and Rae McGinnis Brooks. She grew up on the McGinnis Ranch on Powwatka Ridge.
She attended grade school at the Powwatka School, which was located on the ranch. She graduated from Wallowa High School in 1942. She loved singing and playing the piano. She was self-taught and excelled in music.
After graduation, she worked in Wallowa as a bookkeeper, and then married Kenneth Sasser in 1947. In 1948, their son Steve was born. They lived in Milton-Freewater and Wallowa, and then moved in 1960.
They settled in Roseburg, Ore., where Virginia worked as a bookkeeper, and Kenneth in the lumber industry. Virginia worked for Douglas County and was elected Douglas County Treasurer. She loved her work and retired in 1984.
Virginia and Kenneth moved to Florence after retirement. They spent their winters in Yuma, Ariz. Virginia loved the Yuma winters and laughed about how different they were from winters on Powwatka Ridge.
Virginia really enjoyed visiting with family and attending her grandchildren’s school and athletic events. She also liked to vacation in Hawaii.
She and Ken always came back to Wallowa for Memorial Day to put flowers on family graves, attend the Wallowa High School reunions and of course visit as many relatives and friends as possible.
Virginia had a great interest in Native American culture and especially Nez Perce history. She loved attending the powwows in Wallowa and knew many of the participants.
After Ken’s death in 2000, Virginia moved to Salem, and then Portland, to be near family. She lived in a retirement community and participated in their group choir and other events.
She was known as the piano-playing lady, and entertained community residents in to her 90s. Most people did not know she could not read music and played everything by ear.
Virginia told the community residents about her love for Powwatka and Wallowa County. She showed them her pictures and told them her stories of growing up “in the woods,” as she said.
Virginia passed away in her apartment with family present. She was preceded in death by Kenneth; her parents, George and Rae Brooks; and her siblings, Wilma Guillory, Kenneth Brooks, Vera Jean Miller and Nancy Brooks.
She is survived by her son, Steve Sasser (Kathleen); grandchildren, Brooke Berry (Clint), Scott Sasser (Raquel), Matt Sasser (Dianna) and Greg Sasser (Jenni); 12 great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
Virginia will be buried with her husband in the Wallowa Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the Wallowa History Center.
Reprinted to add photo.