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Virginia Mae Howe

November 8, 1936 — October 4, 2020

Virginia Mae Howe


Virginia Mae (Birbeck) Howe (Ginny) of Hays, Kansas, retired special education teacher, passed away October 4, 2020, at Good Samaritan Society Hays. She was 83. Ginny was born November 8, 1936 on a farm outside of Stanberry, Missouri to Ray and Mary Ellen (Evans) Birbeck. She married Virgil Keith Howe on June 3, 1956 in King City.

She started school in a one room country schoolhouse and graduated from King City High School in 1954. She attended Northwestern Missouri State College graduating in 1958 with a Bachelor of Education and Home Economics degree. She later attended Western Illinois University earning a Masters of Education degree in Special Education. In 1988 she began working for USD 489 serving both Victoria High School and Thomas More Prep-Marian as a special education teacher. She retired in 1998.

Before settling in Hays, Ginny and Virgil lived in several cities including Albuquerque, New Mexico, Ames, Iowa, Natchitoches, Louisiana, and Macomb, Illinois . Ginny was an active member of every church she belonged to always singing in the choir. While in Hays, she was a member of The First Presbyterian Church, PEO, actively helped her husband with his Rotary endeavors and, through Rotary, became a Paul Harris Fellow.

Once she and Virgil were retired, they hit the road. She claimed her suitcase was always packed. They visited all 50 states as well as several countries abroad including England, Scotland, Yugoslavia, Russia, Brazil, and Argentina among many others. Ginny purchased a souvenir spoon from each place she visited. The collection eventually spanned an entire wall.

She is survived by her husband, Virgil, of 64 + years; a daughter, Christine and husband Mark Milford, of Kingman, KS; a son, Daniel and wife Amy Howe of Lexington KY: six grandchildren, Jessica Quinn and husband Sean Greenlee of Haysville, KS; Grant Quinn and fianc, Caroline Houghtelling of Omaha, NE; Ian Quinn and wife, Jessica of Kingman, KS; Wesley Howe of Lexington, KY, Austin Howe and fianc, Sarah Scott of Fort Myers, FL; and Zachary Howe of Lexington, KY: two step-grandsons, Jacob Milford of Wichita, KS and Riley Milford of Kingman, KS: three great grandchildren, Vivienne, Adele, and Rhett Greenlee of Haysville, KS: sister and brother-in-law, Mary and Jack Bush of Dallas, TX; sister-in-law, Mimi Birbeck of Mankato, MN and several nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents, and three brothers, Lester Birbeck, Robert Birbeck, and Herbert Birbeck.

The family is planning a small private service. When things are safer, and we can be together again, the family will have a Celebration of Life event in hopes that many can attend.

Until then donations may be made to the First Presbyterian Church of Hays, or the Dr. Virgil K. and Virginia M. Howe Fund for Excellence through Fort Hays State University Foundation. Memorials may be sent in care of mortuary.

Services are entrusted to Clines-Keithley Mortuary of Hays, 1919 East 22nd Street, Hays, Kansas 67601.

Condolences can be sent via e-mail to or can be left at guest book at


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