Virginia Joy Poffenberger, 78, died of natural causes on Thursday, Oct. 3. She was born in Perry, daughter of Charles and Loraine Joy.

Ginny graduated from Perry High School in 1953 and earned her Bachelor Degree from Iowa State University in 1957. She used her Home Economics degree while working as a dietician at Drake University.

She married Richard Lee Poffenberger and, together, they raised three children: Elizabeth, Thomas and James. While her kids were in high school, Ginny went back to Drake and earned her law degree. She then became partner in the family law practice in Perry, where she worked for many years. Ginny ran for office and served two terms as Iowa State Representative (1979-1983).

She enjoyed a full life in Perry until she and her husband retired and moved to Tierra Verde, Fla., in 1999. Always active in her community, Ginny was a member of the Perry and Saint Petersburg Methodist Churches, P.E.O. (chapters in both states), Business and Professional Women, Dallas County Women’s Political Caucus, Dallas County Farm Bureau, Saint Petersburg Yacht Club and Dolphin Sailing Club. She served on numerous boards and started day care centers through her involvement with the Methodist Churches in both cities. She was also Director of West Central Mental Health Center and served as advisor to the Iowa State Social Workers for several years.

In retirement, she and Dick enjoyed sailing Florida’s coastal waters. They were a fun-loving couple who could turn any situation into one filled with laughter. As such, they easily made friends and their kind-hearted nature ensured that these became deep and lasting friendships. Ginny was petite, but those who took her petite size as an indication of her stature were invariably surprised that so much energy, intellect and strength were in such a small package. She had very small shoes, but they will be impossible to fill.

Virginia is survived by her two brothers, Bill of Perry and Jim of San Francisco, Calif., her three children, Liz, Tom and Jim, and her four grandchildren. Memorial service and Celebration of Life will take place on Saturday, Oct. 12, in Saint Petersburg, Fla. The family suggests that, in lieu of flowers, please consider a donation or memoriam gift to any of these organizations: Epilepsy Foundation,, or the National Stroke Association,, or the Alzheimers Association,