Virginia L. Dietrich

01/04/2011 5:36 PM |

Virginia Dietrich died on December 22, 2010, at age 86. She was born on December 29, 1923, in Brooklyn, N.Y., to Albert and Minnie Leonard. She and her family summered in Peconic on the North Fork throughout her childhood. She started her public school education at age eight and completed elementary school five years later. Concurrently, she studied gymnastics at a privately owned gymnasium in Brooklyn operated by two German instructors. Her high school education was conducted in Brooklyn, and she studied Latin and French extensively and also earned junior and senior lifesaving techniques at the school’s swimming pool. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English at Brooklyn College, which she attended for four years. She continued her studies in Latin and French during the college years, was on the fencing team, swimming team and was a member of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority, where she served as Vice President for two years. She then attended New York University for one year, during which she earned her Master’s degree in English Education.

In September 1946, Virginia married Robert Dietrich, who had returned from serving in Europe during World War II with high distinction and many commendations of valor. Virginia and Bob continued, along with other members of her family, to spend their summers on the North Fork while maintaining home and careers up island. Their first son, Robert, was born during the summer of 1947. He died at the age of seven. Their second son, Ronnie, was born in 1955. In 1962, Virginia and Bob bought a home in Floral Park, and in 1967, they realized their long-standing dream of owning a second home on Long Island Sound by buying a waterside house in Southold.

She taught secondary school English from 1946 through 1979 at Sewanhaka High School in Floral Park, New York. During this period, she attended Hofstra University, where she earned a second Master’s degree in counselor education. During her career, Virginia taught every level from special education students through honors classes. She took special gratification from a program, which she conceptualized and administered, wherein she trained some of her more gifted students in teaching techniques. These trainees then privately tutored other youngsters who were having difficulty in class until those students were brought back to a level where they could rejoin their class. She also enjoyed working with students on plays and mass media — new courses of study, which supplanted junior and senior English.

Virginia and Bob both retired from their respective careers in 1979 and moved to their Southold home full time. Virginia joined the First Universalist Church in Southold where she and her older sister, Ruth Peck, served as newsletter editors for 12 years. Virginia (along with Ruth) later became a founding member of the North Fork Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Jamesport. She was a member of the Greenport Homemakers for many years and took special pleasure in her association with the Play Reading group of the AAUW (American Association of University Women).

Predeceased by her husband in 2000 and her sister in 2009, Virginia is survived by her son, Ronald G. Dietrich, and his children, Nicole and Ronald, Jr. Cremation and services are private.

Memorial donations may be made to the North Fork Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, P.O. Box 27, Greenport, NY 11944.

This is a paid notice.



2 Comment

  • Virginia Dietrich was my High School English teacher in my sophomore year at Sewanhaka High School, in Floral Park New York. We remained friends for 51 years, and I was fortunate to have visited with her shortly before her death. It was an honor to have known this gifted educator. She will be sorely missed.
    Rose Orenstein

  • Though I was never actually assigned to any of her classes at Sewanhaka, she was still my teacher. Many decisions in my life were made under the scrutiny of “What would Mrs. Dietrich think of this?”. I don’t expect that to change.
    Art Shaller