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Ganum Virgil Findley was born on October 7, 1926 in Grayson, Missouri. The son of a farmer and teacher, Ganum Alvin Findley, and his wife, Mary Leora Findley, Virgil shared their rural home with his sister, Mary Margaret, until her death at age two and three-fourths years on July 28, 1937 at a Kansas City hospital.

After three years of high school in Worth county, Missouri, Virgil and his father travelled to Wichita, Kansas, where they both worked in the airplane factory during World War II. Virgil’s mother died there on April 29, 1944 of complications from diabetes and gallbladder disease. When Virgil turned 18, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, inducted on February 21, 1945 as a paratrooper and sharpshooter. He and many young men like him were stationed in the Philippines prior to a planned drop of paratroopers on the rice fields of Japan. Instead, the lives of these young men were spared by the development and dropping of the atomic bomb and subsequent surrender of Japan.

After a service injury and hospitalization in the Philippines, Virgil returned to his father’s home, which was now in Delphos, Iowa.  He arrived two months before the birth of his sister, Ellen Sue Findley, on January 6, 1947, to his father’s second wife, Aileen Marie Milligan Findley, a former commerce teacher at Mount Ayr high school.

Virgil farmed for his father for several years before subsequently rejoining the military. He was in charge of ground transportation for NATO at SHAPE headquarters near Paris, France for four and one-half years. He then served in Texas operating heavy equipment before returning to Ringgold county, Iowa to farm for Denzil Waugh. 

Virgil shared a home near Redding with Denzil and Socorro Waugh, their two children, Eugene and Martha, and Socorro’s mother, Maria Ramirez, where he was considered more than just a good friend. He was a very special member of the family. During this time Virgil also worked as a mechanic for Ames Cross at his garage in Mount Ayr, Iowa. Virgil enjoyed farming and raising cattle for a number of years before their retirement to Benton, Iowa in 1985. Virgil was a member of the Redding American Legion Post #617 for over 50 years, serving many years as commander.

Virgil entered Clearview Nursing Home in Mount Ayr on November 30, 2005. He died quietly there on the morning of Saturday, January 26, 2013. 

Virgil is survived by his sister and 15 cousins out of the 31 grandchildren of William Valentine Findley and Sarah Tennessee Findley and their many descendants. The surviving cousins are Max Findley of Grant City, Missouri, Eunice Deathridge of Saint Joseph, Missouri, Ellis Findley of Kansas City, Kansas, Drexell Findley of Gower, Missouri, Kathleen Eckhardt of Stanberry, Missouri, Sharleen Green of Independence, Missouri, JoAnna Thompson of Kansas City, Missouri, Jackie Findley of Saint Joseph, Missouri, Alice J. Tidwell of Bella Vista, Arkansas, Nancy Covington of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Rick Findley of Kansas, Nita Draut of San Diego, California, Ernestine Bowden of San Diego, California; William Findley of Chattanooga, Tennessee and Helen Joy Carlock of Saint Joseph, Missouri.

A memorial fund has been established to the Mount Ayr Public Library and the American Legion Ringgold Post #172 in Mount Ayr.

A prayer service was held at Watson-Armstrong Funeral Home in Mount Ayr on Sunday, February 3, 2013. with Rev. Terry Roberts officiating.

Casket bearers were Eugene Waugh, Brent Ricker, Joseph Ricker, Jake Ricker, Steve Knapp and Eric Walter.

Honorary pallbearers included Amon Hunt, Francis Junior Hanks, Gene Motsinger, Maurice Hunt, Cloyd Richardson and Leo McDaniel.

Burial was Monday, February 4, 2013, at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery in Van Meter, Iowa.

Military rites were by IA ARNG Honor Guard and Carlisle VFW #2099.


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