Virginia (Rehkopf) Feeley died peacefully at the age of 103 on September 9, 2014 in Topeka, Kansas. Virginia, a native of Topeka, was a beloved wife, mother and a lifelong advocate for children and women’s education.
After graduating from high school in 1928, she worked to put herself through college. She attended both Emporia State Teacher’s College and Washburn University, where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy in 1936. During her time at Washburn, Virginia studied under Dr. Karl Menninger and, after graduating, went to work for the Menninger Foundation. While at Menninger, she was encouraged to continue her education in social work at Smith College in Northampton, MA.
With a letter of recommendation from Dr. Menninger, Virginia applied and was accepted. She graduated from Smith College in 1939 with a Master’s Degree in Social Work. She returned to Kansas and went to work for the juvenile courts system as the first Kansas native with a Master’s degree in social work.
On December 30, 1939 she married the love of her life, Newell Feeley, a newly-minted dentist. Following his service in the Navy, they settled in Topeka and raised three sons. In addition to being a mother and a wife, Virginia continued to work for children and the disenfranchised throughout the balance of her life.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 50 years, Newell, and her brother Charles Rehkopf.
She is survived by her sons Kenneth, Raymond and Roger, their wives (Nedra, Pam, and Diane), seven grandchildren (Rebecca, Sarah, Jason, Kevin, Kristin, Elisabeth and Emilyn) and three great grandchildren.
At the time of her death Mrs. Feeley was the senior member of the Episcopal Church in the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas having been baptized at Grace Episcopal Cathedral in 1911. She is also the senior member of St. David’s Church and was instrumental along with Dr. Feeley in the organization and construction of the Churchyard on the southeast corner of our building.
Funeral Services for Virginia Feeley will be held at 10:30am Saturday, September 20, 2014 at St. David’s Episcopal Church.