In the early morning hours of today, August 15, 2005, the world lost a wonderful lady. For those of you
who did not know her personally, Virginia Cyr was a truly beautiful person. She was loved and
respected by hundreds of people. She was a woman who, while she did not know it, was a pioneer.
She succumbed to Post Polio Syndrome. PPS is where Polio returns to claim those that escaped its
grasp early in life.
While a young girl of 4 ½, Virginia was stricken with Polio during the New England Hurricane of 1938.
She was on of those kids you she the pictures of who were in an Iron Lung. She received one of this
country's first muscle transplants in her left leg. She was victorious over that first bout. Blessed with a
tenacious attitude, this little girl worked her way out of the Iron Lung; endure thousands of hours of
physical therapy at a time when the professionals were making the procedures up as they went
along. She was able to shed her leg braces until the extra strain of carrying children forced her to
resort to one full-length brace.
While she couldn't go out and see the world, she brought the world to her. She amassed a large
collection of 78's - of the Big Bands. She listened to a world at war over the radio. Amazingly, she had
an autograph book that contained the names of Movie Stars like Don Amicee, athletes like skater
Sonja Henning, the ENTIRE 1939 Boston Red Sox (with a rookie name Ted Williams) and even
Eleanor Roosevelt. How did she get these? She would ask someone who would be at an event to get
the autograph. In many of the cases, like Mrs. Roosevelt, she mailed her book with a letter requesting
that they please add their name to her collection and mail it back.
She went on to graduate from high school in 1948. It was an amazing feat for a young woman of
immigrant parents who had been crippled most of her youth. She was one of the first in that group of
"independent" women. The ones we now call a "Working Full Time Mom." She married, had three
boys, and endured a far less than ideal marriage until the late sixties, when she became one of the
first single working mothers.
Realizing the need to be at home for her boys while still earning a living, she became the local News
Correspondent for the Milford Daily News. She had no training, no fancy degree in Journalism, just an
old Olivetti-Underwood typewriter, a pile of newsprint, the phone and her car. A grouchy old news
reporter- editor named Nick Tosches, showed her the ropes and guided her during the first few
She went on to not only report on the Garden Club and births and marriages, she began to cover
local politics and other local more serious stories. In a time when "Handicapped Accessible" was not
even thought of, she would fight stairs to get to a news story. At times, she would send me. What a
way for a politician get ambushed! Give a quote to a 13 year old and it ends up in the next day's paper!
She loved doing human-interest stories. The longer the story, the better it was. Mom was paid by the
inch, not the hour. Many times people would call her and thank her for the job she did. Other times
those she caught in the act would curse her! She continued to write for the News for over 30 Years.
Her kids were her life. All of her work and energy went to that end. We got the best part of this
wonderful person that so many people know and respect.
She is survived by three sons, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren and hundreds of
friends. Mike Cyr, August 15, 2005.
going to the homepage and entering her name in the site search box.
Memories Menu HOME