She was born at a New Year's Eve party in Cebu City, the Philippines.
She was a graduate of the University of the Philippines and received her doctorate from the Stanford University School of Education.
She served on the Stanford University faculty and as marketing director for the International Program in Engineering Studies. She was a founding member of the International Association for Continuing Engineering Education and served on the California Commission for Curriculum Standards in Foreign Language Instruction.
She continued her Stanford affiliation as a visiting scholar at the Center for Teaching and Learning.
She served as president of the United Nations Association in Palo Alto and received the UNA's highest distinction. She also served as president of the Sister Cities International Palo Alto branch. She co-founded the International Visitors Committee of Palo Alto, which gave weekly welcoming parties to international visitors. In 1994, she chaired the opening evening of Palo Alto's centennial celebration. She also served on the advisory board of the Community Media Center.
In 2003 she moved from California to Pittsburgh, Penn., to be nearer to family members.
She and her husband coauthored 18 books, including the "Better Homes and Gardens New Baby Book."
Loved ones recall her as a noted party giver, gracious hostess and activist for the down trodden.
She is survived by her husband of 43 years, Edwin Kiester Jr. of Penn.; their son, William Kiester of Beverly, Mass.; three sons by a previous marriage, Michael, Robert and Richard Kennewick of Seattle, Wash.; four grandchildren; and a sister, Thelma Rapatan of Washington, D.C.
A memorial service will be announced at a later date. For inquiries please call William Kiester at 718-219-0859.
Donations may be made to the Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund (thegildersleeve.org/).