Virginia "Virgie" Lou Holberg, 76, of Springfield, died Wednesday, January 6, 2016, following an extended illness due to pancreatic cancer.
Virginia was born December 18, 1939, in Kansas City, to James and Virginia (Asherst) Lynn. She worked for the Southwestern Bell Company as a long distance interchange operator for hotels and major businesses in downtown Kansas City. She was also a nationally competitive synchronized swimmer and widely known aquatic instructor specializing in teaching adults to swim. She became the cruise director for her brother’s riverboat business “River City USA” of Kansas City. The firm operated two large riverboats; the 600 passenger “Missouri River Queen” and the 800 passenger “America” until the gambling boats destroyed the dinner cruise market.
Virgie and her husband David moved to Springfield in 1993 after the flood of ’93 flooded their Parkville home. She worked for nine years at Bass Pro Shops as a telephone specialist.
After retiring, she and her husband built and operated the Joplin & Springfield Railway. She was President of the railway and hosted free train rides for the Fourth of July, Halloween and numerous parties since 2002. She, along with many helpers, created over 100 displays each year for the Halloween season. Over the past two years alone, she and the railway gave nearly 14,000 total passengers free train rides.
Virgie and David traveled in Europe and in the United States on mining related projects. She was one of the few women who visited the 8,000-foot below sea level of the United States’ deepest mine, Homestead Gold Mine, located in Lead, South Dakota.
Virginia and David Holberg were married on November 27, 1993 in Bridal Cave.
She is preceded in death by her parents and brother, Captain Richard "Dick" Lynn.
Virginia is survived by her husband David of the home; sister Celia Irwin and husband Marty, of Independence; son Rick Burns and wife Charlene, of Liberty, daughter Bronwen Hinson and husband Leroy, of Independence, and their father Richard Burns, of Independence; stepdaughters Andrea Holberg and husband Rod Shampine, of Houston, Texas; Heather and Carla Holberg of Chicago; 6 grandchildren, Nick, Kelley and Richie Burns, of Liberty, Harrison Stallings, of Independence, and Ruby and Carl Shampine, of Houston; many nieces and nephews; extended friends and family, and pets Bessie, Spike, Katy, Bell and Whistle.Virginia's body has been donated to MedCure to aid in medical research and education. Her remains will then be cremated and given back to the family sometime in the spring. Her remains will be given one last train ride as President of Joplin & Springfield Railway along with a train ride and picnic for family and friends.