Virginia Emerson Karns


Virginia was born in Fairhaven. She graduated from Bellingham High School and took additional schooling in accounting. During WWII she worked in banks in California. She returned to Fairhaven and worked in accounting the Pacific American Fisheries in Fairhaven. She also worked in an accounting position at Western Washington State College (now WWU). She and Russ were introduced by a student and eventually married. She worked for the college/university until she retired.


When she was about five years old her mother entered her in an amateur show at the Mount Baker Theater. When she got on the stage to dance she became scared as she could not see the audience. However, she noticed her shadow on the curtains and decided to dance with the shadow.  Several years ago the glass beaded skirt she wore was donated to the Whatcom Museum along with a photograph by an early Bellingham photographer whose work is in their archives. Virginia was known for her baking skills, particularly desserts, much to her family‚Äôs continuing delight.


Virginia led an active life and loved to go camping in the great Northwest and up and down the west coast. She and her husband had boats, airplanes and a camper. They often camped under the wings of the planes during their travels. One of the planes was an amphibian, that her husband had built, and it could land on water or the ground. This enabled them to go more secluded places to enjoy the great outdoors. Virginia also liked to travel abroad. She and her daughter explored Great Britain, Hawaii, the South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand.


She enjoyed her grandson Art, from changing diapers, to camping trips and boating with grandpa, and seeing him graduate from Sehome and WWU and settling into life. She is survived by her husband Russ, her daughter and son-in-law, grandson Art and wife Dannette, nieces Renee, Andree, Stephanie, Suzanne and great niece Cory.