This obituary is part of a series on people who died in the coronavirus pandemic. Learn more about the others here.
Virginia Shackles was painting a misty scene on canvas one day when she taught her young grandson a lesson on how to create endless colors with different mixtures of shades. Colors don’t just exist in a box of crayons, she tells him.
Using photos, sketches and travel postcards, Ms. Shackles painted elaborate scenes in oils and watercolors throughout her life. She often included her grandson on her inspirational journeys, as part of her efforts to expose him to the world.
Mrs. Shackles died on December 16 at the Riverview at the Park Nursing Home in Ste. Genevieve, Mo. The cause was complications from Covid-19, her daughter Paula Dustman said.
Ms Shackles celebrated her 99th birthday at the nursing home on December 4, with no family but with cards and her favorite dark chocolate cake. The next day, while painting a landscape in watercolors, a nurse interrupted her to inform her that she had tested positive for the coronavirus. She was transferred to a room in the house with other Covid-19 patients, where she died.
Virginia Frances Turner was born in 1921 in Wichita, Kan., De Wyotte Dellavan Turner, piano saleswoman, and Frances (Land) Turner. She moved to California with her parents in her youth.
Ms Shackles, in her 20s, looked after her mother, who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis. Her mother’s illness prompted Ms. Shackles to convert to Catholicism, where she found meaning in her mother’s pain and her own experience of her, according to Ms. Shackles’ daughter, Rosemary Valeska.
Mrs. Shackles worked in a store that supplied religious articles for Catholic churches and there met her husband, Frank J. Shackles. They married in 1950. Ms. Shackles also worked as an advertising representative for a local newspaper.
After her death in 1976, Mrs. Shackles felt lonely when she learned to live her life without her husband. She never remarried.
After Ms Valeska became a single mother in Monterey, Calif., Ms Shackles moved in with her in 1983, helping to take care of her grandson, Alex Goldberg, while Ms Valeska had a job as an office assistant. in the planning of the Town Hall of Monterey. department, often working late at night.
In addition to Mrs. Dustman and Mrs. Valeska, Mrs. Shackles is survived by another daughter, Teresa Cruise; one son, Stephen Shackles; four grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
Mr. Goldberg recalled that his grandmother taught him to appreciate things more often savored by adults, including bitter dark chocolate and opera. She took him on trips to the Monterey Peninsula and on long bus rides to Big Sur, a rugged coastline in central California. Ms Shackles was drawn to the Monterey Coast and inspired to paint it, her family said.
“She painted the landscape of my childhood,” Mr. Goldberg said. “These are all of these places and things that we have experienced together.”
Mrs. Shackles believed in her works of art and stood up for them warmly. At a fair, she walked into a room where she experimented with dark colors, using a dark branch as the subject of her piece. The judges tried to disqualify her, telling her that she had put her in the wrong category. She felt she had been wronged, Mr. Goldberg said.
“It was like watching a coach yell at a referee,” he said.