Virginia W. Kettering
-- patron of the arts

Factfiles:

Bio files

  Virginia Kettering, the daughter-in-law of inventor Charles F. Kettering, is Dayton's most prominent patron of the arts.
  Over the years the Kettering family, led by Virginia Kettering, has donated more than $28 million to local arts organizations, including $7 million for the Victoria Theatre renovation and $4 million for the expansion of the Dayton Art Institute.
Born: July 15, 1907 in Bellevue, Ky., near Cincinnati.
Childhood: She was the only child of Norman C. and Clara Snider Weiffenbach. The family moved to Dayton, where Norman Weiffenbach had a marble and tile contracting business. Norman Weiffenbach died in 1926. Clara Weiffenbach lived to be 104 and died in 1990.
Marriage to Eugene Kettering: While attending Moraine Park School, Virginia Weiffenbach met Eugene W. Kettering, son of the famous inventor Charles F. Kettering. They were married on Apr. 5, 1930 at Dayton's Westminster Presbyterian Church.
Children: Eugene and Virginia Kettering had three children: Charles F. Kettering II, who died in 1971, Susan Kettering Williams, of Greenwich, Conn., and Jane K. Lombard, of New York.
Return to Dayton: Eugene and Virginia Kettering lived in Hinsdale, Illinois for 22 years. They returned to Dayton after the 1958 death of Charles F. Kettering. Eugene Kettering died in 1969.
Marriage to H. Warren Kampf: Four years after the death of Eugene Kettering, Virginia Kettering married H. Warren Kampf on June 2, 1973. Kampf, whose wife died the previous year, had been president of Mead Papers and vice president of Mead Corp before his retirement. Kampf died on Aug. 15, 1979.
Ridgeleigh Terrace: After Charles Kettering's death at Ridgeleigh Terrace in 1958, Eugene and Virginia Kettering returned to Dayton from Hinsdale, Ill., and made the mansion home for themselves and their grown children and grandchildren. In 1973, four years after Eugene Kettering's death, Virgiia Kettering donated the mansion to Kettering Medical Center. A December 1994 fire gutted the mansion, but it was later restored.

The Kettering fortune:

  The Kettering family fortune has its origins in the General Motors stock owned by Charles F. Kettering. Kettering was the co-founder (with Edward Deeds) of Delco, which was one of the original companies which came together to form what became General Motors. Kettering never sold his stock and let it compound thoroughout his life.
  When Kettering died in 1958 his General Motors stock alone was estimated at more than $165 million, the most held by any individual then or later, and experts said the total estate exceeded $200 million.
  However, Kettering left the bulk of his weath to the foundation he had established in 1927. When Charles F. Kettering II died in 1971, his estate was appraised at only $30.1 million, including $22.2 million that had been transferred to trusts during his lifetime. He left 25 percent of the estate to the Kettering Foundation.

Kettering legacies:

  Charles F. Kettering Memorial Hospital. Endowing the hospital was a project of Eugene Kettering and his patronage was continued by his widow after his death. The 400-bed, $10 million hospital opened in 1963. Over the years the Ketterings gave more than $17 million to the hospital.
  Victoria Theatre -- The Kettering family donated $7 million for the 1988-90 renovation of the Victoria Theatre building.
  Dayton Art Institute. The Kettering family has made several donations to DAI over the years, including $4 million toward the 1996 expansion of the museum building.
  Kettering Tower. Dayton's tallest building, formerly the Winters Bank Tower, is owned by the Kettering family.
  Courthouse Square. Mrs. Kettering hired architects to design a proposal for what eventually became the Courthouse Square plaza.
  Air Force Museum. In 1962, Eugene Kettering announced a $1 million gift to help start the Air Force Museum.
  Wright State University: Mrs. Kettering in April 1996 gave $1 million to establish a scholarship fund, at Wright State University School of Medicine, for students who will serve the area's elderly population for at least two years.
File created: 8-26-96
Sources:
undated - DDN prepared obit
JH 6-4-73 -- "Virginia Kettering to wed."
DDN Magazine 11-21-82 -- "Yes, Santa Claus, There is a Virginia."
JH 7-10-86 -- "Mrs. Kettering's mother celebrates 100th birthday."
DDN 11-17-90 -- "Virginia Kettering's mother dead at 104"
DDN 9-30-94 -- "Virginia Kettering gets Michigan school doctorate."
DDN 12-12-94 -- "'There is a reason for this' (Ridgeleigh Terrace burns)"
DDN 3-15-95 -- "Ketterings cited for aid to arts."