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Motherhood a gift for generations

When Laurie Thiess thinks of her mother, she sees a hands-on, loving mother, who has been a great babysitter for her grandchildren, and a supportive fan of her great grandchildren.

Memory Support resident Virginia Karpowicz raised five children, who in turn gave her 16 grandchildren, who then gave her 16 great-grandchildren. Through it all, she’s been a supportive, caring, and nurturing mother.

“My mom was an accomplished writer, prior to having kids,” Laurie said. “She wrote for local newspapers and was a writer/producer for a radio program. She was a great helper with homework and a great editor. She was a wonderful homework helper - late into her 80s she was still helping grandchildren edit resumes or papers.”

Virginia was also a huge sports fan - taking the family to St. Louis Cardinal games as often as possible each summer.

“She loved the Cardinals, and knew all the players by name,” Laurie said. “She was familiar with other teams they were playing, but she was a lifelong Cardinals fan. She got that from her father.”

In fact, Virginia, who is now 94, attended a Cardinals game just about 5 years ago. In addition to the Cardinals, she faithfully rooted for Notre Dame.

Virginia had her children relatively close together - with a set of twins to round out the family.

“She had a bunch of young people at once,” Laurie said. “Mom loved the chaos, and family truly was the most important thing to her.”

As her children grew to have children of her own, Laurie said her mother quickly made the transition to doting and attentive grandmother.

“She was a kind, loving, typical grandmother,” Laurie said. “The kids all loved going to grandma’s house. She’d let them eat ice cream and let them stay up late. She was a huge supporter of the grandchildren. Even though at some point all the children lived out of town they made the extra effort to visit the grands all over the country.”

All the while, she was active in her church and her children’s schools.

“If they ever needed a volunteer, they could always count on Mom,” Laurie said. “She was just a lovely, friendly, kind woman. My brothers and sisters talk about how lucky we were to have her for all those years.”

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