Virginia Minerva Wise Onnen

Deceased: 12 May 2023

Under: Obituary
Virginia Minerva Wise Onnen

On the evening of May 12, 2023, Virginia, 96, passed away in Austin, Texas in the presence of family.

Born in a farm house in Sawyer County, Wisconsin, Virginia was the youngest of five children. Her parents were Lawrence Anthony Wise and Olga Goffin Wise. The family lived on the farm until 1930, when they moved to Ladysmith, Wisconsin. They stayed in Ladysmith for 3 years and then in 1933 moved to Des Moines, Iowa. They lived in Des Moines for 16 years, during which time Virginia finished high school at North High School. She graduated in June, 1945 just as World War II was ending. She married John Henry Onnen on September 1, 1947, in Des Moines, Iowa.

In 1951, John began working for the Arabian American Oil Company (Aramco), and they moved to the company headquarters in New York City. They stayed there for two years until 1953, when John was transferred to the oil fields in Saudi Arabia. Virginia stayed in the USA for a few more years with their two daughters, Sally and Mary Jane, until they joined John in Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia and lived there from 1954 to 1969. Three more daughters, Amy, Becky, and Jennifer, were born in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. From 1969 to 1972, the family lived in Beirut, Lebanon. In 1973 John and Virginia lived briefly in Manhattan, New York City and then returned to Saudi Arabia to live in Dhahran, Aramco's headquarters They were in Dhahran for ten years until John retired in 1983.

They made their new home in Austin, Texas for many years, hosting lots of family gatherings. Christmas was a special time for the children and grandchildren at their house on Thaddeus Cove. Virginia and John had traveled extensively and continued to travel during retirement. Virginia was an artist and had many hobbies, including ceramics, drawing, quilt-making, and sewing. Her ceramic owls were especially recognized and won a first place award in an art show.

Virginia was preceded in death by her husband John Onnen after 62 years of marriage and by her daughter, Rebecca Eichelberger.

She is survived by four daughters: Sally Duncan, Austin TX; Mary Jane Onnen (Ken Bus), Peoria AZ; Amy Lynn (Mike), Kalispell MT; and Jennifer McDaniel (David), Austin TX. Also mourning her are her grandchildren Denis Collins, Rachel Bus, Danielle Bus, Mariesa Bus, Henry Lemire, Tim Lemire, John McDaniel, James McDaniel, Nick McDaniel, and seven great-grandchildren.

A private memorial service will be held at a later date.

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