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Memorial from SAN FRANCISCO Chronicle Dec. 19, 2014:

Virginia Rezek O'Hagan Herbert January 3, 1919 - December 4, 2014

Virginia Rezek O'Hagan Herbert, a longtime Palo Alto resident, died suddenly but peacefully at home after a short bout with pneumonia. She would have been 96 years old next month. Teaching and inspiring young people was her passion, and she dedicated her life to communicating her vibrant love of literature, drama, and the arts. Intellectually and emotionally engaged until the very end, Virginia is deeply mourned by many friends and former students for her true gift for friendship, and the delight with which she pursued life.

She was born in Roanoke, Virgina and was primarily raised there as well. In 1938, she and her mother moved to California, and Virginia finished college by graduating with a major in English from the University of California, Berkeley in 1940. She then trained as a teacher, and her first job was teaching English and Drama at Elk Grove High School. About 40% of her students that first year were Nisei whom she sadly watched be forcibly interned after Pearl Harbor. They brought her boxes of wonderful strawberries which had to be harvested early before they left for the camps.

She taught English and Humanities for 38 years at various schools in several states, but primarily in the Sequoia Union High School District, notably Sequoia and Carlmont High Schools, before finishing her career at San Carlos High School, teaching there from 1960 until she retired in June, 1979. Her retirement was reimagined and celebrated with a special "Realivement Occasion" attended by many former students. For her sabbatical year of 1965-1966, she won a John Hay Fellowship in the Humanities and attended Harvard, where she studied poetry with Robert Lowell and Robert Fitzgerald.

Virginia was married three times and had two children. Her first husband, Herschel B. Chipp, was a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy when they married in 1944, and later became a Professor of Art History at UC Berkeley and specialist in Pablo Picasso. He was the father of her son Dennis. Her second husband, Turlogh O'Hagan, was the father of her daughter Maureen. Both these early marriages ended in divorce after a few years. She married her third husband, LeRoy V. Herbert, in 1988 after being single for many years, and they lived and traveled happily together for ten years until his death in 1998.

Virginia loved to travel, and visited many countries, notably Japan, Mexico, England, Ireland, France, Italy, China, Indonesia, Russia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Tahiti. After retirement she was active in the Peninsula Symphony Association, the Radcliffe Club of the Peninsula, and the First Baptist Church of Palo Alto.

She is survived by her daughter Maureen O'Hagan (Joel) Steed of Ukiah, her nephew Penn (Nancy) Butler of Atherton, and her niece Lynn (Brian) Chichi of San Clemente. Preceding her in death were her sister Anne Butler of Menlo Park, her son Dennis Browning Chipp, and her three husbands.

A memorial service was held on December 13, 2014 at First Baptist Church of Palo Alto, and a Celebration of Life party will be held next Spring. For information on the party contact Maureen at mohagan1454@att.net. Memorial contributions in Virginia's honor may be made to Defenders of Wildlife or Earthjustice.

Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Dec. 19, 2014 - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/sfgate/obituary.aspx?pid=173458672#sthash.NpISgcmK.dpuf