Obituaries: Virginia Tartar Holway

Obituaries: Virginia Tartar Holway

OYSTERVILLE - Longtime Oysterville resident Virginia Tartar Holway, 97, died May 3, 2007, at her home on Willapa Bay in Oysterville. The daughter of Herman and Stella (Parsons) Tartar, Oregon pioneer descendants, she was born on Sept. 16, 1909, in Corvallis, Ore. She spent her childhood among a large clan of aunts, uncles and cousins in the Willamette Valley.

At age 7, she moved back East with the family. Her father pursued his doctorate in chemistry from the University of Chicago. The family moved to Seattle in 1918 where her father taught chemistry at the University of Washington until his retirement. With her brother, she continued her schooling at University Heights Elementary and then Roosevelt High School from which she graduated in 1927.

She continued her studies at the University of Washington, finishing in 1931 with a B.S. in home economics, specializing in nutrition. She taught high school, two years at Burlington and two in Olympia.

In 1935, Virginia married Theodore W. Holway, a schoolmate, marine biologist and oysterman. They moved to Oysterville where she lived for 72 years. Mrs. Holway was one of the founders of the Oysterville Community Club, a member of the Oysterville Women's Club, a member of the United Methodist Church and Friendship Circle, AAUW, Daughters of the Pioneers, Eastern Star, Roosevelt High School Golden Grads, Sandpiper Square Dancers, NAMI and others. She served on the election board for years.

A cheerful person, her positive attitude affected everyone who met her. She had a keen wit and an easy laugh. She loved birds, flowers, her garden, writing and receiving letters, reading, music, dancing, children and watching the future generations grow.

With partners Glenn Heckes and Roy Kemmer, she and her husband owned the Keystone Packing Company (formerly the McGowan Cannery in Ilwaco) and the Northern Oyster Company in Oysterville. Later they got out of the "fish" business, trading their share in Keystone for sole ownership of the Northern Oyster Company which is still family-owned by the third generation.

The couple was always active in civic affairs, from the Oysterville Community Club, the school and their church; they enjoyed playing cards with friends and square dancing. After Mr. Holway's retirement in 1965, they traveled across the country and to Europe, especially England, Hawaii and Australia where they visited friends and relatives. They made acquaintances that came to visit them in Oysterville as well. After her husband's death in 1985 instead of "fading on the vine," she quietly began a life of her own, which lasted 22 years. Many of her new friends only knew and admired her as an independent lady living on her own.

Survivors include her children, Ruth (Dick) Sheldon of Nahcotta, Ann (Les) Driscoll of Ilwaco, Susan Holway of Oysterville, Katherine (Doug) Smith of Seattle; grandchildren Don (Jenny), Rodger and Brian (Marilyn) Sheldon; Dan, Ava, and Dennis Driscoll, and Scott and Virginia Smith; eight great-grandchildren, two great great-grandchildren; nephews, Nick (Reba) Tartar and Jim Holway; nieces Helen (Bud) Bynack and Wanda (Norm) Thompson, Bonnie Holway Rubbert, Julianna Holway Pickrell and Millie Holway Place; her first cousin Ann Reid, and numerous great nieces, nephews, and cousins. Her husband, Ted, brother, Vance, son John and niece Mary Scofield Eberle preceded her in death.

A memorial service will be held on May 12, at 1 p.m. at the Oysterville Church. Before the service, viewing will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, as well as from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday. A graveside service will be held at 1 p.m. on May 15 at Lake View Cemetery in Seattle.

She both loved flowers and was generous in her giving. She made contributions to many organizations including church, civic and education. It is difficult to pinpoint only two. The family asks that those wishing may donate to the Oysterville Community Club at P.O. Box 21, Oysterville, WA 98641, PACE Nutrition, P.O. Box 579, Ilwaco, WA 98624, or to a charity of choice.

Arrangements are by Penttila's Chapel by The Sea, Long Beach. Please sign the guest book at

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