A Groveport life

By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Editor


Edna Virginia (Rager) Roof loved being the center of attention and that she was at her 100th birthday celebration, according to her granddaughter Tammy Roof Elliott.

Virginia, who passed away on Oct. 25, would have been 103 years old in January 2022. She was the daughter of Worley and Iva Rager whose family has long and deep historical roots in Groveport. Rager Road is named for the family.

Elliott said it is believed Virginia, a 1937 graduate of Groveport Madison High School, was the oldest living Groveport Madison High School alumnus at the time of the most recent alumni banquet.

Virginia was born in 1919 in a house on Rager Road and later raised in a Civil War era home built in 1861 that still stands on Groveport’s Blacklick Street. Her father, Worley Rager, worked for the Farm Bureau and was well known in Groveport. Worley Rager also served as a township trustee for many years and the one time Chevrolet business in Groveport was owned by the Rager family. Virginia had two brothers, Luther and Gayle Rager. She was married to Earl Roof of South Bloomfield.

“Her mind was amazing,” said Elliott. “She was really sharp and could talk about anything.”
Elliott said Virginia shared stories of her youth with her such as she and her mother getting dressed up and riding the Scioto Valley Traction Line electric interurban railway from Groveport to Columbus to go shopping at the downtown Lazarus department store.

“The interurban railroad depot (long since demolished) was just down the street from where she grew up,” said Elliott.

It would have been a common sight for Virginia to see electric interurban railway cars gliding along Blacklick Street on their journeys to Columbus, Canal Winchester, Lancaster, or other parts of central Ohio. The tracks are still there embedded in the street.

Virginia grew up in a time when Groveport was much smaller and surrounded by small farms. Traffic was not something anyone thought much about back then.

“My grandmother (Virginia) told me she and her friends used to roller skate from Groveport to Canal Winchester down Groveport Road,” said Elliott. “Can you imagine doing that now?”

Elliott said Virginia also loved school dances when she was a youth and that her mother worked at the Elmont Hotel, which once stood where Groveport Middle School Central now stands on Main Street.

In her adult life Virginia worked for Federal Glass for 30 years. She loved playing bingo and she loved country music.

“I took her to a Vince Gill concert back in 1988 and arranged for a backstage visit,” said Elliott. “Vince hugged her and called her grandma.”

She also loved eating and shopping at Cracker Barrel and had been given $101 for her 101st birthday and was saving it for one last trip, but unfortunately the COVID pandemic halted those plans.

Through her long life, she enjoyed three children, six grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, and three great-great grandchildren.

“She could be a spitfire,” said Elliott of her grandmother. “She was outspoken and you always knew where she stood. She was also forward thinking. She did not live in the past. She loved fashion and home decor and stayed in touch with the latest trends. She kept up on all her family was doing and always asked about everyone and enjoyed seeing photos of all her grandchildren. She loved having her picture taken as well and asked that it be put on Facebook.”

She also loved peacocks.

“Her room at Altercare Canal Winchester was decorated in them and we gave other residents her peacocks after she passed,” said Elliott.

Elliott said she cherishes the relationship she had with her grandmother.

“She was my grandmother, but also my friend,” said Elliott. “I adored her.”

Virginia fully lived and enjoyed her more than century of life. We can learn much about life and history from our elders. Their experiences, no matter how large or small, have meaning. They deserve to be remembered.

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