After a long, productive, happy life, Virginia Bench Mugartegui passed away on December 26, 2021, five days shy of her 97th birthday.
Virginia Lee Bench was born to Howard and Charlotte Doty Bench on December 31, 1924, in Ellensburg, Washington. Shortly thereafter, the family moved to the Olympia area.
After graduating from Olympia High School in 1943, Virginia helped with the war effort by working at Fort Lewis during WWII. She took great pride in telling her family how she delivered supplies at Fort Lewis while driving a “deuce and a half” Army truck.
At Fort Lewis, Virginia met the love of her life, Joe Mugartegui. After a brief courtship, Joe and Virginia were married on June 24, 1945. They were married 64 wonderful years before Joe’s passing in 2009.
Virginia was considered a pioneer in the health food industry. She and Joe opened one of the first health food stores in Washington State in 1966. J-Vee Health Foods was well known in the Olympia area, as well as in the entire state. Virginia and Joe went on to open additional health food stores in Tumwater and Chehalis.
Virginia and Joe were honored in 2006 with the Pioneer Award from the Northwest Nutritional Foods Association for their contributions to the industry.
Her husband, Joe, and their daughter, Kathryn, predeceased Virginia. She is survived by daughter, Charlotte (husband, Gerald); son, Craig; eight grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren. Virginia’s first great-great-grandchild was born 12 days before her passing.
The family would like to give a heartfelt thank you to the Guardian Angels for six years of loving, compassionate care of Virginia.
At Virginia’s request, no services will be held. If you choose to donate in Virginia’s memory, please give to your local senior services.
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