Virginia Raftis

Obituary of Virginia S. Raftis

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Virginia Sozanski "Baba" Raftis, 85, of Owego passed peacefully into the arms of her Lord and Savior on February 10, 2022 surrounded by her loving family. Virginia was born at home in Sayre, PA as the 11th child of the late Leon and Anna (Komarnisky) Sozanski who emigrated from the Ukraine. Growing up on Sayre's East Side, she attended parochial school and weekly mass at the Ascension of Our Lord Ukrainian Catholic Church. She also was a 1954 graduate of Sayre High School and worked for many years in the office at the Blue Swan. She was predeceased by her parents; nine siblings, Catherine Calveric, Mary Reese, Rev. Myron Sozanski, Julia Stromick, Nestor Sozanski, Walter Sozanski, Vera Anthony plus two infant brothers. Virginia is survived by her husband of 57 years, James R. Raftis Sr.; son and daughter-in-law, Dr. James Jr. and Sheryl Raftis; daughter, Theresa Raftis (Scott Brechbuehl); six grandchildren, Joshua Raftis, Esq. (Dr. Kelly Kimball), Stephanie Raftis (Lucas Gibson), Collin Young, Daniel Raftis, Natalie Young, Rachel Raftis; her sister and best friend, Pauline (Pink) McSparron, who gave her a lifetime of "tag-alongs", weekly visits, and daily phone conversations. Two sisters-in-law, Dorolyn Raftis Perry, Carol Raftis; numerous beloved nephews, nieces, and extended family. After marrying Jim in 1964 at St. Patrick Church in Owego, Virginia settled into raising her two children, but kept close ties with her Sayre/Athens relatives and friends with weekly trips there. She was active at St. Patrick Church with the Rosary and Altar Society and with assisting "Gert" with meals for the priests in the rectory. Both she and Jim took special interest in befriending the international priests from Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya who were assigned for periods of time at St. Patrick Church, developing a lifelong friendship. Virginia also volunteered with the newsletters for the Rural Ministry, and spent time driving her elderly neighbors to mass, out for lunch, or for groceries over many, many years. Virginia embraced her role as the trusted co-pilot of her very community involved husband. Likewise, she was devoted to Jimmy and Theresa and modeled for them kindness, compassion, responsibility, cleanliness, and service. She was most proud that they both graduated from college at St. Bonaventure University, and she loved supporting the basketball team (Go Bonas!). Virginia's last 30 years were devoted to her six grandchildren: from watching them, to baking and cooking for them, to cheering them on at numerous sporting, dance, musical, and academic events, to joining them in the Outer Banks NC for annual summer beach vacations. Her laugh, beautiful smile, and "secret slip of money into their hands" brought each of them joy. She was their beloved "Baba". A special Thank You to the staff who provided her with excellent care at the Guthrie Clinic and Robert Packer Hospital, including Dr. Corey, Dr. Sattur, Dr Deshmukh, Dr. Singh, Dr. Georgetson, Dr. McDonald, John Andrianos, Mary Romanyshyn, the wonderful staff of the RPH Emergency Department, and the many caring nurses and care partners. Jim and Virginia are very grateful for the extraordinary daily care given to her from "Team Baba", including son, Dr. Jim and his wife, Sheryl, daughter, Theresa, long time home care aide, Wendy Singer, and recent overnighters, Karen Thomas and Lori Espe, along with Lourdes Hospice assistance. Special thank you to Fr. Galens and Deacon Mike Donovan for their weekly spiritual visits. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday, February 17, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Patrick's Church, 300 Main St., Owego, NY. The Mass will be live streamed at (Scroll to the bottom of Virginia's obituary). Burial will follow in the parish cemetery. The family will receive friends Wednesday from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Estey, Munroe & Fahey Funeral Home, 15 Park St., Owego, NY. Please note: Masks are required. Memorial Contributions may be made in Virginia Raftis' memory to the Tioga County Rural Ministry, 143 North Avenue, Owego, NY 13827. Condolences may be made to Virginia's family at
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Visitation at Funeral Home

4:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Wednesday, February 16, 2022
Estey, Munroe & Fahey Funeral Home
15 Park Street
Owego, New York, United States

Funeral Service

11:00 am
Thursday, February 17, 2022
St. Patrick's Church
300 Main Street
Owego, New York, United States

Final Resting Place

St. Patrick's Cemetery
Route 17C West
Owego, New York, United States
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Virginia Raftis

In Loving Memory

Virginia Raftis

1936 - 2022

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