Virgil Linderoth shared her lifelong love of learning

  • Article by: TIM HARLOW , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 21, 2009 - 8:31 PM

The creative and energetic elementary teacher and Girl Scout troop leader also was a dedicated volunteer.

Whether she was teaching elementary school students, volunteering as a Girl Scout troop leader or leading church discussion groups, Virgil Linderoth did it with energy and creativity.

From 1969 to 1982, Linderoth taught sixth grade at Minneapolis' Cooper Elementary School (since closed), where she became a favorite of students, parents and faculty members who remember her for the innovative hands-on interactive lessons in math, science, music and art.

"She was always enthusiastic about everything with the kids," said retired Cooper second-grade teacher Donise Wright. "She always had projects for them. She made things fun."

Linderoth, who lived most of her life in Minneapolis, died after suffering a stomach ailment July 12 while at Overlake Hospital in Bellevue, Wash. She was 94.

Linderoth developed her inquisitive mind while attending school in Cochrane, Wis. She was such an avid reader as a child that when her family moved to Winona, Minn., she was allowed to skip a grade. She graduated early from Winona High School, said her daughter, Karin Linderoth Reep, of Duvall, Wash.

At 16, Virgil enrolled at Winona Teachers College, but put her education on hold after she married Karl Linderoth. Later, she finished her schooling by taking classes at St. Cloud State Teachers College and graduating from the University of Minnesota.

She started her teaching career as a substitute in Minneapolis. "Teachers often would ask for her because they knew she would have the respect of the kids," her daughter said.

At Cooper, she was known for having an "active classroom" and devising lessons to meet the needs of all types of learners. She created math games to encourage students to engage in abstract thinking, had students make sculpture out of discarded telephone wire and planned numerous field trips. For her efforts, Linderoth was a nominee for Minnesota's Teacher of the Yea in 1975.

"She was always putting more into her job than required," Karin said. "She wanted kids to be excited about learning."

She brought that same indefatigable spirit to the lectures and study classes she led at Lake Harriet United Methodist Church in Minneapolis, where she was a member for more than 50 years, said Marge Spannaus, chairwoman of the church's Women's Groups.

Linderoth had high standards as a Girl Scout leader for 23 years, Marlys Koursh said of her troop leader.

"She was a taskmaster, but we all loved her," said Koursh, of Minneapolis. "She was a phenomenal woman who demonstrated her creativity and energy."

Linderoth also taught horseback riding to Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and church groups, delivered Meals on Wheels, volunteered for ARC of Hennepin County and helped organize the American Cancer Society's annual garage sale, her daughter said.

In addition to her daughter, Linderoth is survived by two sisters, Nancy Mourning Johnson, of Rockville, Md., and Susie Potter, of Ellsworth, Wis.; two brothers, Bobby Mourning, of Alamogordo, N.M., and K. Tedd Mourning, of Crosby, Texas; two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Her husband and a son, Roger, preceded her in death.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at Lake Harriet United Methodist Church, 4901 Chowen Av. S., Minneapolis.

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