by Neena Strichart
Folks in Signal Hill received heartbreaking news last Thursday when they learned of the passing of their friend and neighbor Frank Virga.
I’ve known Frank and his lovely wife Bonnie for many years and have enjoyed working with them at various community events and sitting with them at city meetings. Just three weeks ago, I stopped by Signal Hill’s Concerts in the Park. Instead of listening to the music or visiting with others in the audience, I pulled up a chair next to Frank, who at the time was staffing a table for the Sustainability Committee. We exchanged our usual pleasantries and then chatted about various happenings in our life. Frank mentioned that I looked a little down, and I shared some personal information with him regarding some family challenges I had been facing. He gave me that sweet smile of his and nodded knowingly, stating that he too had been through something similar in his life. I asked him how he dealt with his issues on the subject, and he generously gave me some sage advice about how I should stick to my guns and continue to follow my instincts on the matter.
When I left for home that evening, I felt better knowing that someone else had been in my shoes, and I certainly felt a lot closer to Frank. Little did I realize that evening would be the last time I would ever see him.
The day before yesterday, I spoke with Frank’s dear wife Bonnie. Through her grief, she was able to communicate to me her deep sense of loss. We spoke of Frank’s kindness, sweet ways and caring nature. Although Bonnie has been asked often about memorial services for Frank, she made it clear to me that she just can’t think about any type of services now. Bonnie also expressed to me that in lieu of flowers, she and the family ask that folks make donations to the Children’s Cancer Center at Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach.
For those of our readers who did not know Frank Virga, here are words spoken by Mayor Mike Noll in Frank’s honor at the Aug. 20 Signal Hill Council meeting:
Frank Virga moved to Signal Hill with his wife Bonnie in 2001. Since that time, Frank dedicated himself to our community and to community service. He dedicated thousands of volunteer service hours to the city.
Frank was recently appointed to his third term to the Civil Service Commission, and he served on the Sustainable City Committee looking to create long-term sustainable goals within the city to lessen impacts on the environment.
His volunteer service included participating on the Art Selection Committee, the North Slope Advisory Committee, which advocates ways to preserve the open space on the north slope of Signal Hill, and the Needs Assessment Community Recreation Committee.
Frank could always be counted on to help with events such as the Spring Fest Egg Hunt and Halloween Carnival. His heartwarming personality added a special touch to these festivities.
Frank took a personal interest in the betterment of Signal Hill and attended countless city council meetings and helped with the Signal Hill Police Preparedness Fair highlighting the importance of emergency awareness in the event of a major disaster.
Frank was a past president of the Signal Hill Historical Society and served as treasurer of the Signal Hill Honorary Police Officers Association, as well as an active member of his homeowners association.
Frank was a loving husband, great friend, neighbor, public servant and humanitarian. He, as well as his energy and commitment to Signal Hill, will be missed.