Obituary – Virginia Lee Candlin Bursiel
Known to many as Candy Bursiel, Virginia died surrounded by her family. As Virginia put it, at 93, “I’m old enough.”
Virginia was born in Fort Collins, Colo. to Zelda Ivadale Candlin and Charles Lee Candlin. She joined her older sister, Donna. Their dad’s work building railway spur lines saw the family living in a boxcar until Virginia was three. The Depression took the family to live in Greeley, Colo. Virginia told stories of growing up skating with the boys and of biking to her mom’s store. Virginia graduated high school and college in Greeley, obtaining her education degree.
In June of 1946, Virginia married a local boy, Robert French Bursiel. Bob had just returned from WWII. Bob and Virginia had their first child while he finished his geology degree. Upon graduation in 1948 they promptly loaded up their war surplus Jeep, their daughter, and friend Warren Coonrad, and drove up the AlCan to Alaska. That road ended in Anchorage, but Virginia’s journey didn’t.
Loading themselves and the Jeep on a railroad flatcar they rolled south to Girdwood. They drove up the road in Girdwood to California Creek where Virginia made their new home in a camp beside the creek. Bob, Virginia and Warren began building the log house that still stands today. They camped near the creek from July until they could get the original cabin mostly finished in mid October. They stayed, in Virginia’s case, for seventy years, as the trees and town grew.
Virginia and Bob had eight children. Their friends’ children and their children’s friends were all welcomed. Virginia was a wife, a school teacher, a postal clerk, a librarian, an avid reader, a skier, a painter, a pianist, and an organist for the Girdwood Methodist Church for over sixty years. Virginia sang whenever she could, including with the Anchorage Community Chorus, traveling to sing at Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center. Traveling through North America and Europe pleased her.
Virginia enjoyed visiting with her friends and family, especially in Hawaii. Virginia’s capacity to be delighted with the beauty of the world and with us all, knowing “this too, will pass” was boundless. The day she died Virginia admired the morning’s beautiful moonset. Virginia is survived by seven of her eight children and their spouses, nine grandkids and their spouses, and six great grandkids. We will miss her.