Bend businesswoman dies at 94

Bend has lost one of its most vibrant characters as well as a part of its history.

“She was very flamboyant,” said her daughter, Marcia Wolfe. “She was the kind of person with a different drummer.”

Virginia “Ginny” Wolfe, a longtime Bend resident and business entrepreneur, died of natural causes June 5.

She was 94.

Born in Muskogee, Okla., in 1918, Wolfe moved with her family to Bend when she was 6. She graduated from Bend High School at 16, and studied premed at Willamette University, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree. She came back to Bend and married Jake Wolfe in 1945.

The Wolfes started Jake’s Diner, WB Anderson Mobile Home Sales, and The Copper Room, a fine dining restaurant in downtown Bend, in the 1970s. Jake’s Truck Stop and Diner, now known as Jake’s Diner, used to be on South U.S. Highway 97 near Badger Road and was operated out of the house Virginia Wolfe grew up in. Jake Wolfe also helped start the Bank of the Cascades in 1976.

“They had a big part in the way that Bend was shaped,” Marcia Wolfe said.

At one point in the 1970s, the Wolfes were one of the larger employers in Central Oregon, employing more than 100 people, said Virginia Wolfe’s son, Kim Wolfe.

But Virginia Wolfe wasn’t all business. She had a fun-loving side, too. She was elected Queen of the Bend Water Pageant in 1935, and was a hand and hat model for a department store in Portland when she was young, her daughter said. Virginia also loved to wear bright, bold colors and wear flashy watches. Her grandchildren called her “Grandma Bling.”

“There was nobody that she didn’t love,” Marcia Wolfe said. “Everybody wanted her as a mom.”

Source: The Bulletin ©2012

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