July 6, 1919 – December 29, 2014
Visionary | Volunteer | Philanthropist
Fiercely independent and full of life, even known as the “hat lady” at one point, Virginia brought one hundred percent to everything she did. She was one of those rare people: a systems engineer with a flair for being colorful. As a committed volunteer, Virginia believed in providing permanency to organizations to be able to help others. A native of Canton, OH, she graduated from Kent State University. She was a member of Alpha Gamma Delta and received her degree in Business Education.
“Virginia thinks the world a stage and so she plays her part.”
– McKinley (Ohio) High School Yearbook
In an era when few women broke through the glass ceiling into professional positions, she was the exception – advancing to one of IBM’s Senior Systems Engineers. Hired by IBM during World War II in 1944, Virginia trained at what would become known as “Tent City”. She completed her training for punch card equipment while residing inside a temporary tent on the IBM Campus in Endicott, NY. Virginia worked with IBM’s major customers on accounting systems that became the precursors of the earliest computing applications in the 1950s and beyond. She retired in 1975, after dedicating 31 years of her career to IBM, and shifted to caring for her mother.
Virginia believed in helping people willing to help themselves get ahead.
After moving to Port Charlotte in 1995, Virginia volunteered at Fawcett Memorial Hospital through Senior Friends. In 2009, she was an honoree of the HCA First Humanitarian Award for her support in creating a clinic to provide free healthcare to the underserved working poor in Charlotte County.
Virginia’s generous gifts included the acquisition of permanent headquarters for two local non-profit organizations, the Virginia B. Andes Volunteer Community Clinic and Charlotte Community Foundation. The remainder of her estate created a permanent endowment fund at the Charlotte Community Foundation known as the “Virginia B. Andes Healthcare and Scholarship Fund”. This endowment supports college scholarships for health-related programs, the volunteer clinic, and grant funding for Charlotte County non-profit organizations.
“Be proactive to advance yourself. Choose to be a survivor and take responsibility in your life to get ahead.”
– Virginia B. Andes