Cover photo for Virginia Catherine Cullen's Obituary
1944 Virginia 2024

Virginia Catherine Cullen

January 22, 1944 — April 24, 2024

Ginger passed into eternity on April 24, 2024, at 6:30 pm, surrounded by her devoted daughters, Colleen and Mary, and beloved grandchildren, Ellie and AJ. 

Ginger was the third of eight children, born into the Irish Catholic family of Thomas (Red) and Lucille (nee McLoughlin) Linane. She was born in January 1944, a year before the end of World War II. Her first home was on the South Side of Chicago, near the stockyards. Ginger lived near Comisky (White Sox) Park, as did her favorite uncle, Joe McLoughlin. As a girl, she learned to do the Irish step dance. She also loved to do the jig, especially on St. Patrick’s Day. 

Ginger had three brothers: Tom, Jerry and Mike, along with four sisters: Marianne, Kathy, Noreen and Peggy. As one of the oldest daughters, Ginger learned to be a caretaker early in life. She shared stories of how as a child, she would go home at lunch, then go out to the store to buy lunch meat and bread, then return home to feed her siblings, and then shepherd them back to school. For elementary school, Ginger attended St. Kilian’s and remembered the nuns brandishing rulers, checking the lengths of skirts (maybe with the rulers?), and ensuring that the students wore pantyhose. For high school, she attended the Academy of Our Lady. She told these stories to her incredulous daughters, as many things had changed from her time in Catholic school to theirs.  

After high school, Ginger worked at Peoples Gas. Always a dancer, Ginger, her friend Rita Murphy, and her sister Marianne regularly attended weekend dances at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. One fateful Friday night in 1964, she met Joseph (Joe) Patrick Cullen. The group went to coffee that night after the dance. Ginger joked that Joe was a bargain-basement special at the Merchandise Mart. Another running joke was that Joe was not a dancer; he in fact had no rhythm. Good thing Joe had a sense of humor!

Ginger and Joe had their first date at Comiskey Park (home of the Chicago White Sox) with Joe’s army buddy Gary Hopkins and his wife, Edie. Ginger had grown up a Sox fan, as she lived near the old Comiskey Park. Joe was a Cubs fan, as his Uncle Andy Kloiber lived near Wrigley Field and took him to games. In spite of their Cubs/Sox and dancing differences, Ginger and Joe fell in love. 

Before marrying, Joe converted to Catholicism. Ginger taught Joe how to drive and how to drive a stick shift in the navy VW Beetle that they purchased together before their wedding. Miraculously, they still married on August 7, 1965, joined by family and friends including maid of honor Marianne Linane and best man Leonard (Lenny) Hawkinson.  

Early in their married life, the young couple lived in Chicago. Ginger had to leave her job at Peoples Gas when she was expecting their first daughter, Colleen Marie. A year and two weeks later, their second daughter, Mary Brigid, arrived. During Ginger’s second pregnancy, she and Joe took 9-month-old Colleen on a road trip to California in the infamous blue VW Beetle. Thus began their love of travel. The trip to California was the only trip in the navy VW, as it was stolen shortly after that trip while they lived in Chicago.

Ginger and Joe bought a house in Calumet City, a southside suburb. Ginger became a talented homemaker who managed the family budget, sewed matching clothes for her daughters (and sometimes herself too, for siblings’ weddings), planned and made meals, led her daughters’ Brownie troop, and became a beloved member of the neighborhood. One day, Ginger had Colleen, Mary, and Margaret Murphy (no relation to Rita) baking in the kitchen when another mom came in but promptly turned around and left, dismayed by the mess. Ginger taught the girls to bake and to clean up after themselves.

Ginger was an avid reader and lover of books and poetry, and her daughters learned from her to love literature. Mary, who used to get up and go downstairs several times a night, recalls always finding Mom sitting in the living room reading. Ginger said that there were no new stories, only different characters and situations. 

In her role as keeper of the family budget, Ginger saved for family vacations. The family traveled to Disneyland and Disney World and multiple times to New Jersey and the East Coast to visit Joe’s stepmother. In 1976, the family took a vacation to Colorado Springs to visit distant relatives. The visit included stops in Leadville and much mountain driving. Joe, Ginger, and the girls then spent a week at a condo in Dillon. They fell in love with Colorado and moved to Colorado Springs in November 1977. 

After moving to Colorado Springs, Ginger held several jobs. She found her work home at the Colorado Springs Police Department, where she worked for about twenty years. Ginger retired early from the police department in July 2000 to spend time with her beloved Joe and welcome her first grandchild.

After retirement, Ginger and Joe moved to Monument, where they were very involved in St. Peter’s Church. It was there that they met a couple who became lifelong friends, Rich and Judy Johnson. Joe and Ginger enjoyed retirement, traveling with tours to Hawaii, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, the Canadian Rockies, and the East Coast to enjoy fall colors. 

Ginger and Joe celebrated milestones with their children, such as Colleen’s marriage to a fabulous son-in-law, Tom Panton. In 2000, Ginger and Joe traveled to Chicago when Colleen gave birth to their granddaughter, Elizabeth Mary (Ellie). Ginger was a doting grandmother and made many trips to visit and help with Ellie, who brought Ginger and Joe great joy. 

In 2008, Mary’s son August Joseph (AJ) was born. Both Ginger and Joe immediately fell in love with AJ, delighting in him as an infant and driving from Monument to Denver to attend preschool events. Ginger was always available to help Mary when August was an infant, even when Mary had the norovirus. August named his grandparents Nana and PopPop and loved them dearly. At a Christmas party, someone commented that three adults was the right number to keep up with the busy toddler. 

In 2015, Ginger and Joe celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with their daughters and their families. Marianne Linane, Ginger’s sister, and Lenny Hawkinson, Joe’s best friend, came to Colorado to celebrate. Rich and Judy Johnson joined the anniversary dinner as well. Ginger and Joe were fortunate to have more than 55 years together. Shortly after Joe passed in May 2022, Ginger moved to Claremont Park. Once again, Ginger made new friends and was embraced by her new community. Ginger’s family and friends were grateful to have had a lifetime with her. Although quiet, Ginger made an impression on everyone she met with her kind and bright presence.  

Ginger is survived by her daughters, Colleen Cullen (Tom Panton) and Mary Cullen, along with her much-loved grandchildren, Ellie Panton and AJ Cullen. She is also survived by her seven brothers and sisters: Thomas (Tom) Linane and his wife Pauline (Pinky); Marianne Linane; Gerald (Jerry) Linane and his wife Karen; Kathleen (Kathy) Kunst and her husband William (Bill) Kunst; Noreen Linane; Margaret (Peggy) Nystrom and her husband James (Jim) Nystrom; and Michael (Mike) Linane and his wife Sheila; along with numerous nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews and many friends.  

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Virginia Catherine Cullen, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Rosary

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

9:30 - 10:00 am (Mountain (no DST) time)

All Souls Catholic Church

4950 S Logan St, Englewood, CO 80113

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Mass

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Mountain (no DST) time)

All Souls Catholic Church

4950 S Logan St, Englewood, CO 80113

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Graveside Service

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

12:30 - 1:00 pm (Mountain (no DST) time)

Fort Logan National Cemetery

3698 S Sheridan Blvd, Denver, CO 80236

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