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Virginia N. “Ginger” (Weisensee) Becker

Virginia N. “Ginger” (Weisensee) Becker died unexpectedly on July 14, 2020 in Asheville, NC of COVID-19 at the age of 78. She was a beloved mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and friend. She will be dearly missed.

Ginger was born in Minneapolis, MN on Oct. 28, 1941, the oldest child of Dr. Sidney Forbes Becker and Marjorie Norton Becker. Her family relocated to Sioux Falls, SD where Ginger grew up near her beloved grandparents Max and Mary Ellen Norton. She made lifelong friends in Sioux Falls and graduated from Washington High School. Ginger was a “straight-A” nursing student at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. She was offered a position in the medical school which she later regretted declining.

Ginger met and married Tony Weisensee of Sioux Falls and continued her education at the University of South Dakota where he was in law school and they lived near friends in the married student housing, eventually earning her degree as a registered nurse.

While raising 4 young children, Ginger and her family relocated several times due to her husband's law practice, moving from Sioux Falls to Los Angeles, to Omaha, and then to Atlanta in 4 years. They eventually moved back to Sioux Falls where the family was members of St. Mary's Catholic Church and the children attended O'Gorman High School. Ginger worked as an RN most recently at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Sioux Falls and after retirement, relocated to North Carolina to be near her children and grandchildren.

Ginger was a fun-loving lady who welcomed adventure. When Tony took a job in California in 1969, Ginger transformed a school bus into an RV complete with bunk beds, kitchen and bathroom with running water. She then packed up the kids and they set off on a 4-month-long journey across the western US to Seattle and down the west coast to LA, visiting every National Park and their family in Oregon along the way.

Ginger had an incredible natural talent for renovating homes and making them new again. She remodeled all of her many homes, then a cabin on Lake Madison, several homes that she "flipped" and sold, and eventually homes for her children. She could also fix anything, a talent which her sister Barb attributes to Ginger’s “can-do” spirit. She refinished antiques, repaired and reupholstered furniture, and even built furniture. Her latest project was her home in the mountains in North Carolina. Ginger had an active mind and a generous heart. She recently worked on a design for affordable tiny homes she hoped could be built for the homeless. She passed on her passion to 2 of her grandchildren who are studying to be architects.

Ginger loved to travel, especially with family. She visited all 50 US states including a long road trip from Sioux Falls to Alaska with her brother Bob, later telling us stories of camping near wild bears and moose. She backpacked all over Europe with her daughter. She spent 2 weeks in China, walked the Great Wall, sailed on the Yangtze River and posed with giant pandas. Ginger took many trips to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico often with her sons and once spent 5 months there using her talents to renovate the family's condo. Ginger's last trip to Mexico was last October 2019 with family and old friends. She also enjoyed guests at her home and recently was visited by her sister Shannon along with nieces Hannah and Claire, and by her brother Mike and his wife Jan.

Ginger's greatest love was for her children and grandchildren. She lived with her son Pat and his boys Tony and Sam when they were little and they have always been close to her heart. Recently she lived with Pat near her son John and grandson Jack. She loved having meals with them, working on her house together, gardening and playing cards. She relied on Jack to help  her with her computer and her phone. She enjoyed visiting her son Matt and his children Savannah and Jacob in New Orleans and going out with them after visiting the kids in college at LSU. Ginger visited her daughter Anne, son in law Todd and their girls Lizzie and Mary Kate in Minnesota often and enjoyed going to their cabin in Wisconsin where they spent the Holidays.

Ginger relished the simple joy of spending her time with them all, whether she was painting a house, visiting a beach, seeing her boys play football, watching her grandkids’ sports or concerts, playing her favorite games (Scrabble and Facts in Five) or just cuddling to watch a movie. This is what we will all miss most about Grandma Ginger.

Ginger is survived by her 4 children, daughter: Anne Weisensee (Todd Purtell); sons: John, Patrick, and Matthew; 7 grandchildren: John (Jack) Weisensee, Tony and Sam Weisensee, Elizabeth (Lizzie) and Mary Kate Purtell, and Savannah and Jacob Weisensee; 4 siblings Michael: (Jan) Becker, Robert Becker, Barbara (Steve) Elkjer, and Shannon Sumner; 2 sisters-in-law: Juanita (Teta) Roland, Jeannie (Francis) Reiser; and many beloved nieces, nephews and friends. Ginger was preceded in death by her parents and her husband.

Memorial contributions in remembrance of Ginger’s life may be made to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sioux Falls, 721 E. Amidon St. Sioux Falls, SD 57104 or online at


Condolences can be mailed to Anne Weisensee at 8904 Springwood Drive, Woodbury MN 55125 or made online at

Because this funeral honors the life of a victim of COVID-19, Ginger's family respectfully requests that guests wear a mask and observe social distancing for the safety of all.

  Memorial Mass at Christ the King Catholic Church in Sioux Falls at 2:30 following 1:30 vigil which will be live-streamed. 

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