Virginia Ann (Rustad) Spear, 83, of Gentilly, MN, passed away at her home Tuesday, November 28, 2023, comforted by her loving family gathered at her bedside.
Virginia was born on March 16, 1940, one of seven children of the union of Orville and Orella (Hedberg) Rustad. Sadly, her twin sister, Maren, died as an infant. Virginia, lovingly known as Ginger, was baptized and confirmed in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and began her elementary education in the Cathedral School. In her junior year of high school, she met classmate, Duane Spear. He asked her to the prom, she said yes, and as Duane said, “That was that”. After graduation from Cathedral High School with the Class of 1958 Ginger moved to the Twin Cities to work in the accounting department of Minneapolis Transportation while Duane enlisted in the US Air Force. Upon her return to Crookston, she and Duane were united in marriage on April 23, 1960 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. The next 20 plus years would see the births of 4 amazing children: Brenda, Michael, Reneé, and Maren. It also meant calling Air Force Bases throughout the US home, including Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ, Vandenberg AFB at Lompoc, CA, Offutt AFB, Omaha, NE, and Sheppard AFB Wichita Falls, TX. After Sheppard, Ginger and her daughters returned to Crookston for 2 years while Duane was sent to Vietnam. Following his safe return stateside the reunited family was off to Hill AFB in Ogden, UT followed by Duane’s last assignment prior to retirement at the Minot AFB, Minot, ND. Throughout all these moves Ginger was Super Mom as she and Duane raised their children in many loving homes and she settled their family into each one within 3 days. Many friendships were formed with other Air Force families and to this day have proved to be lifelong. While at Minot AFB, Ginger worked as a lunch lady in the elementary school, and upon their return to Gentilly she was employed in the Polk County Auditor’s Office until her retirement.
Ginger enjoyed spending quality time with Duane and their growing family while she created many traditions centered around the holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, camping outings, antique shopping with her girls, and other milestones that meant so much to them all. She liked to spend time reading, quilting, and knitting. She made quilts with lots of love for each of her grandchildren and also knitted newborn caps for babies in the NICU. Ginger had a heart to help loved ones and friends whose families were going through challenging times by taking in and caring for their children. She was a devoted member of the St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Gentilly, the Catholic Daughters, American Legion Auxiliary, and looked forward to lunches with her Red Hat Society friends.
Virginia is lovingly survived by Duane, her husband and best friend of 63 years; their 3 daughters and sons-in-law: Brenda and Brett Hegarty of West Fargo, ND, Renee and Bill Tate of Crookston, MN, and Maren and Patrick Schilling of Fargo, ND; 12 grandchildren: Katie (Dylan) Engel, Timothy Hegarty, Nikki Hegarty, Danielle Tate, Michael (Madison) Tate, Montell (Marie) Tate, Emilee Tate, Blake Addison, Ciena Addison, Brandon Schilling, Gabriella Schilling, and Michaela Schilling; 9 great-grandchildren: Carter Hegarty, Kassia Hegarty, Eliana Robinson-Auger, Oaklynn Hegarty, Xander Spickenreuther, Kamia Engel, Gabrielle Engel, Brooklyn Tate, and Tucker Tate. She also leaves 4 siblings: Gary and Mickie Rustad of Phoenix, AZ, Kenny and Rose Rustad of West Fargo, ND, Dave and Deb Rustad of St. Hilaire, MN, and Cheryl and Kenny Pazdernik of Ada, MN; together with several nieces and nephews, extended family, and many friends both near and far.
Virginia was preceded in death by an infant son, Michael Duane; her parents, Orville and Orella (Hedberg) Rustad; infant
twin sister, Maren; brother, Bobby Rustad; and parents-in-law, Jesse and Florence Spear. Forever treasured be the
memory of Virginia Ann (Rustad) Spear.
Mass of Christian Burial honoring Virginia’s life will be held Monday, December 4, 2023, at 2:00 p.m. in the Cathedral of
the Immaculate Conception in Crookston with Msgr. David Baumgartner, presiding. Visitation will be for one hour prior to
the Funeral. Visitation will also be at the Cathedral on Sunday, December 3rd, from 5-7:00p.m., with a prayer service and
the sharing of memories at 7. Burial will follow the Funeral in Calvary Cemetery, Crookston. Both services will be
livestreamed by going to www.crookstoncathedral.com and clicking on the prompt to view. A recording of the services for
later viewing will be available on Virginia’s obituary page at www.stenshoelhouske.com. Messages of condolence may be
offered to Duane and the family on the funeral home website as well. In lieu of flowers please consider a memorial in
Virginia’s name to the Hospice of the Red River Valley.