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Virginia Z. Smith

Virginia Z. Smith, 92, passed away on May 7 at Cedar Health in Charles City.

Born Virginia Ruth Zastrow in 1924 in Charles City, she graduated from Charles City High School in 1941 and from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music in Ohio in 1945 with honors. She taught instrumental music in the Charles City schools for two years and married James F. Smith in 1947. Virginia dedicated her musical training and talent, which included absolute pitch, to teaching young people and playing violin for many services and celebrations. She was a member of the Wartburg Community Orchestra and choir director at the former Central Methodist and First Methodist Churches.

Over the years, she was a member of several civic, church and women’s organizations, including Chapter CY P.E.O., the Charles City Women’s Club, AAUW, the 19th Amendment Society and City Improvement. She loved Girls Scouts, serving as a troop leader and assisting the organization on the regional level.

Virginia was recognized for her heart-felt laugh and sunny spirit which enriched the lives of all who knew her.

Virginia is preceded in death by her parents, Ralph and Alma Zastrow; and her sister, Helen Noah.

She is survived by her husband James Smith; her children, Ralph Smith (Ruth) of Charles City and Pamela Smith Finkelman (Roy) of Wilmington, Del.; grandchildren Rachel Smith and Karl Smith, Andrew Finkelman and Jeffrey Finkelman; great-grandchildren Sophie and Emma Finkelman.

The family would like to thank the staff of Ruth’s Way at Cedar Health for the care they provided over a long illness.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, May 12, 2016, at Trinity United Methodist Church in Charles City. A private family inurnment will take place at Riverside Cemetery. There will be no gathering of family and friends prior to the church service, but all in attendance are welcome to join the family for lunch and fellowship following the memorial service.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be sent to the Charles City Schools Orchestra Program, 500 N. Grand Ave., Charles City, IA 50616.

Hauser Funeral Home, 641-228-2323, in Charles City, is in charge of local arrangements. Online condolences may be left for the family at


Virginia Z. Smith