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Virginia Ann (Pyle) Erhardt

June 6, 1941 ~ June 3, 2022 (age 80)

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Obituary

Virginia Ann Pyle Erhardt loved butter pecan ice cream, regular manicures - the more sparkly the better - annual beach vacations, her hometown of Tempe, a full house, and her family.

Virginia advocated for one outfit a day, no matter what the day held, and enjoyed traveling, to Europe, Africa and Japan, as well as Lake of the Woods in Lakeside, Ariz., and Mission Beach, Calif., always.

She relished in strike one, two, three, keeping score at every game, only handing off her scorebook to take bites of her D-backs Dog, heavy on the onions and sweet relish. She relished life.

Virginia died on June 3, 2022, just a few days shy of her 81st birthday and 63rd wedding anniversary.

She was born on June 6, 1941, the youngest daughter of Lucile Hanna Pyle and J. Howard Pyle, a well-known broadcaster who became Arizona’s ninth governor.

Virginia grew up in Tempe, playing softball with her older sister, Mary Lou, and resisting swimming lessons, once even walking a mile home barefoot along a dirt road from Tempe Beach Park after her mother dropped her off. No way she was putting her head under water.

She was a fan of football at Arizona State University, then Arizona State College, from the start, an original member of the Knot Hole Gang at Goodwin Stadium as a kid, paying a quarter to sit in the bleachers.

Virginia met the love of her life in August 1957.

A friend of Virginia's asked if he could enter her picture in a contest to be queen of the Army National Guard's Battery C, and she was chosen as an attendant.

Her parents were unable to attend the event in Fort Huachuca, so the captain assigned five young Guardsmen to chaperone her. One was a 20-year-old ASU football player from Chicago named Ron Erhardt.

Ron was cordial, careful to open Virginia's car door and offer his arm. But honestly, he was a bit put out. With a 16-year-old girl along, the guys had to be on their best behavior — and that meant no popping over the border for a beer.

A week or so later, though, Virginia was watching football practice at Tempe High with a girlfriend when she ran into Ron and a buddy who were there working out. The buddy had eyes for Virginia's friend; Virginia made eyes at Ron.

Virginia would meet Ron at the Dairy Queen after football practice. Most nights, he would stop by Virginia’s house and play pinochle with Virginia and her mother, Lucile. Whenever Ron and Virginia walked together, he would take her hand.

They’d hold hands for her lifetime.

Virginia was head cheerleader and valedictorian at Tempe High School, graduating in 1959. She attended Arizona State University, studying with Ron - and typing all his papers. She was vested in his future.

When Ron asked the former governor if he could please marry his daughter, Pyle made Ron promise that Virginia would finish college.

They were married on a Tuesday, June 7, 1960.

Virginia graduated from ASU with an education degree in 1962, finishing in three years instead of four, and taught for three years at Rural School in Tempe. She and Ron started their family: first a daughter, Rhonda, in 1965, then a son, John, in 1967.

Virginia didn’t like to cook. “I only have a kitchen because it came with the house,” she’d say. Virginia played tennis at the Tempe Racquet and Swim Club, volunteered at her kids’ school, and was a Camp Fire Girls troop leader.

Virginia sold real estate and then worked in medical billing before she and daughter Rhonda started Arizona Billing Specialists in 1994.

Virginia delighted in the birth of each of her grandchildren, Rhonda’s Jennie in 1994 and R.J. in 1996, and John’s Jordan in 1997 and Cassie in 1999, who called her “Mom Mom.” Virginia encouraged and supported all their endeavors, never missing a game or an orchestra concert and sewing costumes backstage.

Virginia was a season ticket holder for ASU football and basketball, the Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks, and also enjoyed hockey. People would sometimes tell Virginia, “Oh, you poor thing! Ron makes you go to all these games.” Ron, the former football player and coach, would protest, "It isn't me! It's her!" (It was her.)

Virginia enjoyed working full-time, her fingers flying over the 10-key pad on her keyboard. “You gotta do something,” she would say.

Virginia did so much, for her family, friends, her college, and her hometown, where her childhood home is listed on the Tempe Historic Property Register.

Virginia was overwhelmingly generous, to friends, family and even strangers, and donated to ASU sports and theater programs. Virginia said it was important to support athletics, the arts, and each other.

Virginia had a great sense of humor and was always up for a game of cards, bridge with the Ellises or “31” with family.

She said the secret to her and Ron’s long, happy marriage was their dedication to making sure each other had a good life. When you put the other person first, and that person puts you first, you end up side-by-side, holding hands.

Virginia is survived by her husband, Ron Erhardt; her children, Rhonda Erhardt Rhiner and husband, Mark Rhiner; John Erhardt and wife, Laurie Erhardt; and grandchildren, Jennie and R.J. Rhiner, and Jordan and Cassie Erhardt, all of Tempe, Ariz. She also is survived by her sister, Mary Lou Myers, of Pine, Ariz.

Visitation will be 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, at Richardson Funeral Home, 2621 S. Rural Road in Tempe. Please wear blue, Virginia’s favorite color.

A private burial will be Thursday, June 9, 2022, at Double Butte Cemetery in Tempe, alongside two generations of her family. A celebration of Virginia’s life will be held later at ASU.

Richardson Funeral Home, Tempe, Arizona is compassionately serving the Erhardt family.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Virginia Ann (Pyle) Erhardt, please visit our floral store.

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Services

Visitation
Wednesday
June 8, 2022

4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Richardson Funeral Home
2621 S Rural Road
Tempe, AZ 85282

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