Virginia Gertmenian Fuglestad

virginia fuglestad

March 18, 1924 ~ February 18, 2024

Born in: Syracuse, New York
Resided in: Fremont, United States

Born to Abraham and Mary Gertmenian, survivors of the Turkish genocide along with their four children, Margaret Ishkanian, Dr. Norman Gertmenian, Annig Harter and Roy Gertmenian.

Her family immigrated from Turkey in 1920 where they joined Mary’s father and two brothers in Syracuse, NY.  Virginia was born in Syracuse in 1924. Her family moved and settled in Pasadena, CA when she was an infant and where she grew up.  She graduated from Pasadena High School.  She continued her education at Santa Barbara University during WWII where she earned her B.A. degree in Home Economics. Virginia became a Registered Dietician through the Veterans Administration at Sawtelle, Los Angeles.  She was one of ten interns from all over the U.S. in the newly established dietetic internship program in California.

Virginia met her future husband in Santa Barbara while attending college. Two years later in 1948, she married Ernest Fuglestad, who made a career in the U.S. Navy. Virginia and Ernest were blessed with two daughters, Susan and Kristen. The highlight for her was when the family was able to join Ernest in Hawaii for four years before it became a State.

In 1960, the family finally settled in Fremont, CA after Ernest retired from the Navy. She worked as a substitute teacher in the Fremont Unified School District while her daughters attended school.  Later, she was hired as the first Director of Child Nutrition for the Newark Unified School District where she retired after 20 years.  She was very active in the California and the National School Nutrition Associations and served as the CA State President.  As a Registered Dietician, she was always concerned for the nutritional welfare of children.

She traveled extensively throughout her life often with her husband to such places as Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Armenia, Turkey, China, Canada, Mexico, Russia, the Caribbean, Scandinavia and throughout the USA. Her husband died in 1989 and she remained in Fremont in the family home. She was a member of the Fremont Library Book Talk group for over 35 years.

Virginia is survived by her loving daughters and many nieces and nephews. Contributions can be made in her memory to the Alameda County Library Foundation/Fremont Main, 2450 Stevenson Blvd., Fremont, CA 94538 or

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  1. CandleI will miss Virginia’s gift for storytelling, her sharp wit and her generosity with bounty of her home grown fruits and vegetables. It was always a joy to hear her memories of her childhood and her descriptions of her travels. She always contributed wonderful insight to the books read and discussed by the Book Talk Book Club. PBS showed a documentary about Armenia shortly after her death. I recorded it and feel it keeps her near to us. I won’t be able to attend her Celebration of Life because sadly another good friend has her Funeral Mass on the same day and time. No matter, what I am grateful that I got to know Virginia even for a short time.

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