January 12, 1922, marked the beginning of the life of Vira Gladys Miller Hershberger. It ended nearly 101 years later when she passed away peacefully Nov. 23, 2022, as a resident of Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community (VMRC) in Harrisonburg, Va. Born in rural Wellman, Iowa, to Daniel J. S. and Catherine Blucker Miller, Vira attended Nira and Franklin Schools during her childhood. Thereafter, she left home to work to help support her family during the Depression years.
Vira’s family included five brothers: Fred, John, Howard, Mervin and Willard; and two sisters: Irene and Marie. On Feb. 26,1943, Vira married Reaford Hershberger of Milford, Neb. in Mercer, Pa., having met in Frytown, Iowa.
Reaford was in the Army at the time, and following his discharge after the war they returned to Iowa and farmed near Keota and South English. They left the farm and moved to nearby Keswick in 1958. By then they had four children, Larry, Donna, Keith and Joann.
In 1969 they relocated to Harrisonburg, Va., where both worked at Eastern Mennonite College. Following Reaford’s death in August 1993, Vira continued working at EMC in the food service area until retiring in1995.
Vira’s long life personified an abiding and unconditional devotion to her family, to her church, and to her God. She had a kind, caring, and forgiving heart which overflowed with love for everyone who had the privilege of knowing her.
Vira’s generous spirit touched many as she always thought first of what she could do for others, never of herself. She was generous and unselfish in all aspects of her daily life, and a woman of deep and unshakable faith who put her trust in God’s Word, committing much of it to memory. Until the last few months of her life, she could recite in order the 66 books of the Bible. A devout Christian in every sense of the word, she faithfully attended Park View Mennonite Church until she was no longer able.
Vira was always grateful for life’s simple things, like a cold drink of water, or sitting on her porch watching the birds and squirrels. She loved beauty and nature, loved to read, and wrote long, newsy letters to friends and family with perfect penmanship.
In addition to her husband, Vira’s parents and seven siblings preceded her in death.
Family members who survive are her four children: Larry (Betsy), Donna Litchfield, Keith and Joann (Jim) Henderson; seven grandchildren: Amy and David Hershberger, Emily Hershberger Parker, Thea Litchfield Campbell, Mila Litchfield Woolridge, Anna Henderson Jones, and Max Henderson; and 11 great-grandchildren.
A service celebrating Vira’s life will be held at a later date.
Vira’s family expresses their heartfelt thanks to the staff at Sentara Hospice, and at Oak Lea and Warsack House at VMRC, for the care they provided her during the last several months of her life. Their sensitivity and concern for the family was also greatly appreciated.
Donations in Vira’s memory may be made to Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) at P.O. Box 500, Akron, PA 17501; Online at, donate.mcc.org; or by calling 1-888-563-4676.
Online condolences may be made to the family by visiting www.mcmullenfh.com.
McMullen Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.