Virginia L. Ingersoll


Virginia L. Ingersoll, Clear Lake Public Library’s first children’s librarian, died Aug. 23, 2013 after a long illness.  She was 91 years old.  In accordance with her wishes there will be no funeral service.  A private family 

interment of her ashes will be at Clear Lake Cemetery at a later date.  The family will hold an open house on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013 from 3-8 p.m. at Bob’s house, 511 N. Shore Drive, Clear Lake.

     Ginny was born on Jan. 7, 1922 in Prussia Township in Adair County.  She graduated from Greenfield/Fontanelle High School and the American Institute of Business, then worked at Employers Mutual Casualty Company in Des Moines, Iowa. She married Robert F. Ingersoll on Aug. 11, 1943 at First Methodist Church in Des Moines.  After Bob’s service in World War II, they moved to Iowa City, Iowa, and then to Clear Lake, where she lived for the rest of her life.

In 1956 Ginny started her working career at the Clear Lake Public Library.  She organized the first children’s library in the basement of the old Carnegie Library and was the program’s director for 29 years.  Ginny saw the need for outreach to get children and their parents to use the library, so she started Story Hour for preschool and young children.  Later she introduced a variety of programs, including the bookmobile, to attract older children.  The programs were so successful that the director of the North Iowa Regional Library System roped Ginny into presenting workshops for other libraries in the area.

During her years at the library, Ginny also made other contributions to library work.  She served on the board of directors of the Iowa Library Association and on the State Library Standards Committee.  She served on the Iowa State Library committee that helped plan summer reading programs across the state.  She set up the local Friends of the Library, and with the help of several older Clear Lake residents, she created the Clear Lake Historical Slide Program, a short course in local history for all elementary school children, as well as old and new members of the community.

Ginny was one of the organizers of the Clear Lake Arts Council and the annual Art Sail in the Park. She served on the Arts Council for nine years and chaired a variety of committees. She also was involved with the Girl Scouts; she was in charge of Brownie Scouts Day Camp on the Island and also worked with older girls.

A member of the First Congregational Church, Ginny sang in the choir and, with her husband, was in charge of the Youth Fellowship for a number of years. She also served on the church’s library board for several years.  In 1995 the congregation recognized her for her work with youth and for advocating the arts in church.

Ginny is survived by her husband, Robert, of Clear Lake; one brother, Clair Lane, of Greenfield, Iowa; a sister-in-law, Shirley Ingersoll, of Clear Lake; her nieces, Lyn Ingersoll (Marc Rosenbaum) of Washington, D.C., and Kathy Arends (Brad) of Fort Dodge, Iowa; her nephews, Doug Ingersoll (Diane) of Lakeville, Minn., and Dave Ingersoll (Dawn) of Clear Lake; and many other nieces, nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Walter and Francis Lane; three sisters, Mildred Roberts, Loretta Newbury and Evelyn Ehrenfried; and one brother, Howard Lane.

Memorials may be directed to the Children’s Department of the Clear Lake Public Library, Hospice of North Iowa or the First Congregational Church.

     Ward-Van Slyke Colonial Chapel,  was in charge of arrangements.   

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