School 31

Virginia Mae (Seeley) Frates

October 14, 1927 ~ August 12, 2023 (age 95) 95 Years Old
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Virginia Frates Obituary

Virginia M. Frates age 95, of Paxton, Ne. died Saturday, August 12, 2023, at Anschutz University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, Co.

Virginia, was born on October 14, 1927, in Keith County Nebraska to Lucy Virginia Williams Seeley and Walter Austin Seeley.  She had one older brother Oriss who was born in 1924.  Virginia and her family homesteaded near Theis Bay on her aunt Anna’s farm.  The family lived there until 1931 when they moved to the Fairchild Place and in 1933, they moved to the George Williams ranch 20 miles north of Lewellen.  This ranch was owned by Lucy’s father.

 Virginia attended Country school until eighth grade and then moved to Oshkosh to attend high school boarding with a family friend.  She was an active high schooler participating as a cheerleader, band majorette, singing in the choir, and solo competitions.  She aspired to have a singing career and was spotted by a talent scout at a competition who offered her a singing contract but her father Walter vetoed the idea.

 Virginia’s older brother Oriss George Seeley was drafted into the Army during World War II in roughly 1945 and was killed, shortly after completing his training while fighting in the Philippines and awarded the Purple Heart.  This was a terrible loss for Virginia as she and Oriss were the best of friends and a devastating loss to her parents.

 She graduated from Oshkosh high school in 1945 and attended two sessions of summer school to gain her normal schoolteacher training in Kearney, Nebraska.  Her first teaching job was at a country school between Oshkosh and Chapel where she taught kindergarten through eighth grades for one year.  Her next teaching position was at Brule, Nebraska teaching third through fifth grades for two years.  This is where she met the love of her life Gerald Ray Frates.

Virginia and Gerald’s grandmother had made friends at the local restaurant and one evening Grandma Frates invited Virginia to the town basketball game.  That night Gerald made a spectacular save of the ball and landed in Virginia’s lap.  They started dating and two years later they were married on August 26, 1948, at the Brule Congregational church. Virginia and Gerald welcomed their first daughter Cheri Lea on December 7, 1950.  Virginia continued to substitute teach at the Brule school for 12 years.

In 1959 Virginia, Gerald, and Cheri moved to the Seeley ranch and enjoy the life of family ranching and then moved to Paxton in May 1964.  On January 22, 1964, Virginia and Gerald welcomed the birth of their second daughter Beverly Ann.  Virginia and Gerald farmed, raised cattle, and continued managing the Seeley ranch until they sold it in 2007.  From 1992 to 1994 Virginia worked for Ogallala Counseling, Beverly’s business, as an office manager.  After being a housewife and right arm to Gerald all these years Virginia really enjoyed this new phase in her life.  Over the years Virginia was a brownie leader, sang soprano solos for various celebrations and occasions, and was in the garden club, auxiliary club, Methodist women’s group, and extension club.  She was an avid canner and gardener for years.  She especially enjoyed weekly bridge club and Bible study for years.  She has been a member of the Methodist Church for over 60 years in Paxton.  Virginia was an amazing lady, full of compassion, patience, grace, and humor.  Strong in her spirit and determined, she lived a wonderful full life.  In the final 16 years of her life, she became a grandmother to two beautiful grandchildren, Savanna KaiDee and Harper Faith who shared hours of joy and laughter with her.  Virginia attended almost every event her children and grandchildren were in.  Even though her voice became weak in her final year, she still would clap and commend her girls on their performance.

Virginia lived independently on the farm until a week before her passing and enjoyed all the love and care her son-in-law Chuck Tapia dedicated to keeping her home and farm immaculately groomed.

Virginia will be missed by all who knew her.

She is survived by her daughter, Beverly Frates-McMahon, granddaughters, Savanna and Harper McMahon of Paxton, Ne, and son-in-law Chuck Tapia of Lakewood, Co.  Three nephews, Stan and the late Jan Spencer of Peru, Indiana; Randy and Leslie Spencer of Pheonix, Arizona and Kelly and KeliAn Frates of Dalhart, Texas; and numerous grand nephews and nieces.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Gerald, daughter Cheri, parents Walter and Lucy Seeley, brother Oris Seeley, In-laws Ray and Lila Frates, and one nephew Tim Frates.

Funeral services will be Saturday, August 19th, 2023 at 10:00 A.M. held at The Paxton United Methodist Church with Pastors Mark Baldwin of The Paxton United Methodist Church and Michael Loy of The Faith Global Methodist Church of Ogallala.

Visitation will be Friday, August 18th,2023 from 1:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. at Draucker Funeral Home Chapel.

A memorial has been established in Virginia’s memory for the Nebraska Children’s home society in Omaha, Nebraska.

Internment will be in the Paxton Cemetery.

Online condolences may be left at www.drauckerfh.com. Services will be live-streamed at www.drauckerfh.com by clicking the "watch live" button.

Draucker Funeral Home has been entrusted with arrangements.

To send flowers to the family, please visit our floral store.

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