Last week, we lost one of our most dynamic stakeholders along the Woodward Corridor, Ms. Deborah Virgiles. As an owner-operator of two successful McDonald’s franchises, one located in the heart of Midtown on Woodward and the other in the Grandmont Rosedale Park neighborhood on Grand River, she opened doors of opportunity for the community.
Virgiles had been a McDonald’s employee for 24 years before she bought her first McDonald’s in 1996. From helping young people pay for college to giving others an opportunity to provide for their families while learning the business as she once had, Virgiles has impacted thousands of Metro Detroiters. She was also a tireless advocate for area children dedicating her time to the Ronald McDonald House Detroit since 2005. During her tenure as a board member and subsequently president, she led the successful fundraising campaign playing an integral role in helping to transition Ronald McDonald House of Detroit to its new home.
Virgiles was also active with a variety of community organizations including the Women’s Informal Network, Detroit Branch NAACP, National Association of Professional Women and the Deaconess Club of Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit. She was named as one of the Chronicle’s “Women of Excellence” in 2011 and as “Business Woman of the Year” by the Women’s Informal Network in 2010. Her most important accomplishment however, was in her role as mother to daughter, best friend and colleague Dominique Virgiles.
It was our honor and privilege to work with Ms. Virgiles over the last two years. A constant source of light, inspiration and reminder of what is possible in life through the lens of why not instead of what if, she will be missed, but her legacy will continue to live in through all who knew and loved her.