Tribute by: Christina Gentzsch
Virginia Crick was my grandmother (Grammy)
on my mother’s side. She was born on
January 6, 1940, in Ashland, KS. I heard so
many different stories from her growing up.
She was raised on a farm in Kansas yet had
dreams of being a concert pianist, but realized having a family was really her dream. She was the first female police officer on the streets in Dodge City, KS. She sold and modeled Mary Kay products but her final career was as an executive assistant for High Plains Journal in Dodge City, KS for over 20 years. On the weekends she loved going shooting and riding motorcycles.
Grammy had the amazing ability to be beautifully polished and also rebelliously rugged. She was President of the Dodge City Women's Chamber, board member of United Way, active in Relay for Life, and sang with the Sweet Adelines women's acapella group. She was also a member of the Single Action Shooting Society where she earned awards in marksmanship as well as her designs for all of her handmade time-period clothing. She was a member of the Patriot Guard and loved going on long motorcycle rides to Colorado with my Grandpa Rod.
She had this amazing ability to accept what life gave her and make the best out of any situation. When my Grandpa Rod was diagnosed with diabetes, she got excited about crazy "lizard saliva" medicines that she could give him. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer and lost her hair with her chemo treatments, she bought all kinds of wigs and had fun being blonde one day and brunette the next. When I moved away to college, she became a pro at navigating the train for visits. There was nothing that could stop her from enjoying life.
She loved her family more than anything. Her house was where everybody gathered. I have lots of memories of sitting around the piano at Christmas and singing Christmas carols.
She loved animals, but especially cats. I know whenever one of my pets has to cross the rainbow bridge, Grammy will be there to cuddle and care for them on the other side.
She loved music, all kinds! There were so many instruments at their house! A banjo, an autoharp, an electric organ, a dulcimer, and of course a piano. After one weekend of non-stop dilly-dallying on her piano, she made sure my mother had a way to get me into piano lessons. I have memories of summer bluegrass festivals, musical theater, and symphony concerts, all with Grammy by my side humming and tapping her fingers to the beat.
Above all else, I know her favorite music was the music I played. I don’t have a memory of playing music that doesn’t involve her. She came to my piano recitals, my orchestra concerts, and my music festivals. When I left for college she would take the train that left Dodge City at 12:00 a.m. and reach Topeka at 6:00 a.m. to hear whatever concert or recital I was in. The last big road trip she took was with my mother and my aunt to drive from Dodge City, KS to Iowa City, IA to hear my Master’s Recital. I remember how happy she was that whole weekend (I had purposefully scheduled my recital to be on Mother’s Day for her). She was happy to be with her girls and see the musician I was growing up to be.
There's no way I would be the human, musician, and cellist I am today without my Grammy. She always made sure I was okay. She had an uncanny way of knowing when I was in need of help and would do whatever she could to make sure I was okay. Sometimes it was a hug, maybe a phone call or a card, or just a stern talking to. I feel her every day in some aspect of my life. It's an honor that I can dedicate my studio to her.