Virginia E. (Tomasso) Collis

Virginia E. (Tomasso) Collis

Virginia E. (Tomasso) Collis, of McLean and formerly of Brookings, passed away on Sat. July 14, 2019.  She was 93 years old. Virginia:”Gigi”, “Ginny” was born on June 3, 1926 in South Waverly, Pennsylvania, the youngest of five children of Joseph and Minnie (Cocco) Tomasso.  She graduated from Waverly High School in Waverly, New York in 1944 and entered the Federal Cadet Nurse Program at Sisters of Charity Hospital in Pensacola, Florida. As Virginia liked to tell it, she and her life-long friend, Romaine, carefully selected this program based on the highlighted directive in the school pamphlet to bring FOUR party dresses.  She completed training in 1946 and became an RN, remaining in Pensacola to work.

In 1949 she met her future husband, Jim, a Navy pilot on a blind date.  Jim and Virginia were married in Pensacola in June of 1950. The following years were spent as a Navy wife traveling back and forth across the country to eight duty stations, raising four children, forming friendships, packing and unpacking, and making the hard decision each move whether to bring the dog or not.

After 22 years of service, Jim retired from the Navy, and they moved to Falls Church, Virginia.  Virginia returned to her nursing career. Their children finished high school, and college and left home.  In 1985, Jim and Virginia retired to Brookings to live on a cliff overlooking the ocean. They were active in community life there joining the Elks, volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, chairing the local Republican party, were members of Star of the Sea Catholic Church, and engaged in a variety of other civic activities - for them every commitment was a joint-effort.

Virginia was a loving and much-loved wife, mother and grandmother.  She was a great cook, especially during her “gourmet” phase in the 70’s.  She enjoyed golf, she knitted, sewed, refinished furniture, re-upholstered furniture, and helped with the all too many DIY home improvement projects.  She was unstinting in her attention and love for her grandchildren - sewing quilts, and stuffed dolls, and sending endless quirky gifts and cards.

She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Jim, grandson John Gabriel Muller, and her sisters Lena Daugherty, Ann (Mike) DeSisti, Charlotte (Jerry) Wilcox, and sister-in-law Janet Lehr Tomasso, nieces Susan Daugherty, and Carol (David) Keeffe.  She is survived by her son Bill Collis of Dhaka, Bangladesh; daughters Sandra (John) Muller of Suffolk, Virginia, Lisa Collis (Mark Warner ) of Alexandria, Virginia; son Jim, Jr. (Sue) Collis of Simi Valley, California, and seven grandchildren - Rebecca (Nathan) Soule, Faith Muller, Madison Warner, Gilliam Warner, Eliza Warner, Jack Collis and Graham Collis; and two great-grandchildren Luke and Ryer Soule, and also survived by her brother Louis (Rita) Tomasso; and many nieces and nephews.

Virginia will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery at a date to be determined.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Curry County Habitat for Humanity (zip code 97415) at their website:

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