The life and times of Virginia Ann Kautz (née Cliff) came to a peaceful close on Saturday July 6, 2019, and what the world now lacks heaven has gained.
On Nov. 28, 1951, Virginia was born in Lake City to Max and Myrtle Cliff, the fifth of their seven children. She grew up on the Cliff place, just two miles east of Zumbro Falls, graduating in 1970 from Lincoln High School in Lake City and going on to complete a computer programming course at Control Data Institute in Minneapolis. She returned to the Zumbro Falls area and in 1975 she married Duane Kautz whom she later divorced.
Though she worked as a computer data operator for seven years at Gould in Lake City, the majority of her career took place at IBM of Rochester, where she spent 12 years as a system control specialist, reaching the highest level, and then moved to the Research and Development area, where she spent 16 more years until her retirement in 2006. Her career was never boring. She felt that as a woman working in computer systems and technology in the 70s, she was leading the way for other women to work in these areas too.
Through her work and leisure, she enjoyed travel to Japan, Germany, France, Switzerland, Hawaii, the Bahamas and Canada along with riding horseback in the Rockies and steam boating on the lower half of the Mississippi River.
She loved her 10 acre homestead south of Zumbro Falls, which was apparent to those zipping by on highway 63, in the manicured lawn, the beautiful flowers and the horse grazing behind the white board fence. She shared this home with the animals she loved dearly. Through the years, she typically had a horse for riding (at least four of them), a number of miniature Schnauzers, one or two at a time and also any stray cat that chose to adopt her. She was a lifelong member of the U.S. Humane Society.
Her care and concern for others also manifested itself in her civic involvement, where she served for a time as vice president of the VFW Post 1802 Auxiliary, volunteered as an election judge, supported the group Judicial Watch and the MN Voters Alliance. She had a strong sense of fairness and accountability which could be noted in the letters to the editor you may have seen in the local papers. She would have liked more years but did mention that she lived long enough to see that she was right in her efforts to oppose the overbuilt, tax burden of a jail that sits mostly empty in Wabasha. Who will defend the underdog now that Virginia isn't here?
She is survived by one brother, Charles (Ranee) Cliff of rural Lake City; and two sisters, Lynn Cliff of Zumbro Falls, and Julie (Eric) Porcher of Rochester; and numerous nieces and nephews who will miss their "fun aunt." She is preceded in death by her parents and three brothers, Gary, Tom and Jim.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, July 16, at her church home, Zumbro Community Church, 58324 County Road 7, with Pastor Dave Mohler officiating. Burial will be in the Mazeppa Cemetery. Friends and family may visit from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday, July 15, at the Schleicher Funeral Home in Lake City and for one hour prior to the service at the church.
Memorial contributions may be made to RideAbility (therapeutic horse riding center near Pine Island).
"If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." - Will Rogers (and Virginia)
Funeral arrangements by Schleicher Funeral Homes, Lake City Chapel. Guest register may be signed at www.schleicherfuneralhomes.com.