IN MEMORY OF VIRGINIA L. ABLAH
Jeff Ablah called to tell me his mother, Virginia, passed away Wednesday, August 19, 2020. Of course for a moment there was sadness at that news, but I quickly realized that Virginia is now with George which is all she ever wanted. What a couple. I was so fortunate to represent George and Virginia, for more than 30 years. To describe them as “unique” does not even begin to do them justice. The lives they lived were large indeed. And Virginia was there every step of the way. Virginia was comfortable in New York, dining with the Mayor and Governor and many other dignitaries dressed to the nines! George loved Las Vegas almost all of his life and Virginia adopted it as well. They enjoyed hundreds of weekends with family and friends in Vegas. It was great fun to go out to eat dinner with Virginia in Vegas. She would order 3 or 4 entrees with 3 or 4 desserts! She would take a couple of bites from each at the most and then pass them around the table. While New York and Vegas were exciting and fun, Virginia and George were Wichitans through and through. They were accessible to everyone. I once met someone who had wanted to get into the New York Marathon, but entry was by lottery and he was not selected. Without knowing the Ablahs, he called Virginia and asked if she could help him. Virginia immediately called Ed Koch, the then Mayor of New York, and that day he was in the race.
Virginia officed outside George’s office. She was present every day and worked hard. Anyone who called George had to go through Virginia, and that usually meant at least a five minute conversation. She was intimately familiar with all of George’s business acquaintances and friends. She knew their names, spouses, family and a great deal about them. She had the most uncanny memory for names. When traveling with them in Las Vegas, we were amazed that she always knew all the waiters’ and bartenders’ names and if there was someone new, Virginia made sure she found out his/her name. She also kept track of everyone’s birthday and would call the birthday person every year and sing “Happy Birthday.”
Virginia was extremely loyal to her family and friends. There could be no better friend. She was also passionate about animals, especially dogs. For many years Virginia and George owned German Shepherds and nothing was too good for those dogs! Just as I could count on a birthday call each year, I could count on a call from Virginia asking for a contribution to Woolfstock, a fundraiser for the Humane Society.
Virginia’s passing represents the passing of a remarkable era. She and George lived the American Dream to the fullest extent. They loved and did so much for Wichita, and they left lasting memories for family and friends.
Most importantly, a fantastic reunion of Virginia and George has occurred!
Ron H. Harnden