On November 21, the first day of the liturgical calendar and the 76th anniversary of her marriage to her first husband, Virginia Kloss Vogel McLeod of Port Monmouth, (formerly of Red Bank, Glen Ridge, and Upper Montclair) entered into eternal life. She was at home, surrounded and supported by her loving children and the two friends, who had been her devoted aides for the past seven years.
Virginia was born in 1917 in Brooklyn, New York, to Charles and Vera Kloss. Her father was a chemist and poet, her mother a teacher. The family soon moved to Upper Montclair, where she attended Lacordaire Academy and, later, Montclair State’s College High School, where her love of learning, philosophy, discussion and debate was nurtured. At sixteen, she met Robert J. Vogel Jr., who would become her great love and the father of their seven children. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at the College of Mount St. Vincent in Riverdale, New York, and worked at the Morgan Guaranty Trust in Manhattan until her marriage in 1940.
In 1941, Virginia and Bob moved from Brooklyn, New York, to Bloomfield to care for Bob’s aged father, Robert J. Vogel Sr., with whom Virginia had a very special relationship. Together, they built Bob’s law practice. After the first five of their children were born, they moved to a larger home in Glen Ridge, where two more children were born and they raised their family. They were active in Sacred Heart Church in Bloomfield and helped found the Cana movement for young married couples.
After Bob’s death in 1971, Virginia fell in love with Montclair dentist Thomas D. (Don) McLeod. They married in 1974 and moved to Spring Lake shortly thereafter, where she hosted Thanksgiving festivities and touch football games for a huge extended family.
Faith and family were at the center of Virginia’s life – a life of service and prayer. Each day she would do a mental review of her many beloved family members, and the friends and religious, who had become family to her, to ensure that each was doing well. All were included in her daily prayers and rosaries.
Virginia made each person feel as though he or she were the best and most worthy person in the world. So many felt that knowing her had changed their lives. It seemed that everyone she met sensed she was a very special person and was drawn to her. No one ever heard her say a mean word about anyone.
Wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, as well as matriarch of the Kloss-Vogel Family, Virginia lived a life of service-to her family and God, by helping anyone she met, who was in need. She and husband Bob were pioneers of the Cana and Family Life Movements in the Catholic Church of the 1950s and ‘60s. When Bob died in 1971, she went back to school to earn her masters in teaching and became a certified teacher of English. Later, she pursued her true calling, earning a masters in pastoral counseling at Iona College and receiving her degree, at age 65, to a standing ovation from her classmates. She worked for Catholic Community Services in Red Bank for several years, where she developed and taught a parenting program.
An excellent writer and published author, Virginia wrote the Teachers Guide for a radio documentary on teenage suicide, distributed to hundreds of school districts. She wrote proposals for the Newark Literacy Campaign and won several grants for them. While wintering on Marco Island, Florida, she worked in a soup kitchen for migrant workers in nearby Immokolee. One of her happiest achievements was becoming a Eucharistic minister at St. Leo’s R.C. Church in Lincroft.
In her 90s, she organized small workshops with her friend Monsignor Thomas Ivory on Vatican II and on Laudato Si, the newest encyclical of Pope Francis.
Virginia was predeceased by her beloved husbands, Robert J. Vogel Jr., and Thomas Donald McLeod; her dear stepson, Tom McLeod; her parents, Charles L. and Vera McHale Kloss; her father-in-law, Robert J. Vogel Sr.; her beloved sister, Margot Crocker O’Connell, and brothers, Charles and Fredrick Kloss; her granddaughter, Rory Vogel; daughter-in-law, Teresa Watson Vogel; Mary’s partner, Tony Long; nieces, Meg and Mary Crocker and Margaret Kloss; nephews, Fred and Charles Kloss; and beloved cousins, David A. and Peggy Strenz.
Virginia is survived by her daughters and sons: Virginia V. Vogel of Alexandria, Virginia, Christine Vogel of New York City and Port Monmouth, Dr. Mary Elizabeth Vogel of Atlantic Highlands and London, Marie Virginia McLeod and Linda McLeod of Sewell, Robert and Nancy Vogel of Red Bank, Dr. Mark F.X. and Teri Vogel of Ho-Ho-Kus, Dr. David Vogel of Port Monmouth, Dr. Clare O’Keefe of Spring Lake Heights and Eric and Anna Marie Vogel of Kansas City; and her “adopted” children, John and Pat Callahan. Her beloved grandchildren: Conrad, Derek and Nicolas Vogel, Jennifer and Dan Schroeder, Eric and Kaitlin, Erin and Kathleen Vogel, Jessica Vogel and Caitlin and Ross Johnstone, Kristopher and Chelsea Leary, Robert (Rob) and Lauren Vogel, Rustin and Vicki Gallagher, Catherine and Richard Grason and Alan and Erika McLeod. Great-grandchildren include: Ryan and Stella Vogel, Lucy and Cecilia Grason, Ella Skye and Nora McLeod and Katie and Ryan Gallagher. Also surviving are her brother, E. Christopher Kloss and his wife Joyce of Delanco; nieces, Elizabeth and Jenny Crocker, Monica and Nancy Kloss, Gary and Sue Kloss and Cathy Marshall; nephews, Mike, Drew and Billy Kloss; and her home health aides and dear friends: Anastasie Nervais and Lori Guenther.
John F. Pfleger Funeral Home, Middletown, was in charge of arrangements. For more information or to send condolences, please visit www.pflegerfh.com.
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