08/27/05 - NNHS Newsletter - Thelma Spade Roberts

Thelma Lee Spade Roberts
(02 Feb 1939 - 26 Aug 2005)

Newport News High School Class of 1957

Dear Friends and Schoolmates,   

   We have more sad news again this morning.  Thelma Spade Roberts ('57) passed away Friday, August 26,
2005 after a brief but very courageous struggle with cancer.

From Joe Madagan ('57) of FL - 08/26/05, 9:10 PM:

Hi, Carol.
Some very sad news. Patsy Bloxom Meider ('57) called me a few minutes ago to tell me that Thelma
Spade Roberts
passed away at 5:15 PM today. The Peninsula Funeral Home will make arrangements.
I will not be able to attend as I am recovering from surgery and unable to travel.


   Oh, no!  Thanks so much for passing this along to us, Joe.  I'm so sorry.  She did so very much for the Class
of 1957, and her passing will leave such a void that cannot be filled.  My deepest sympathies are with you all.

From Melody Clendenin DeBerry (Warwick HS - '66) - 08/26/05, 9:29 PM:

Dear Carol,
It's with a heavy heart that I tell you Thelma Spade Roberts passed away today, Aug. 26, at 5:30 p.m. 
Her daughter and sister were with her when she died.  I worked with Thelma 26 years ago at VA Marine
Resources Commission.  She was one of the most talented, happy people to be around.  To know her
was to love her.  Our loss is once again Heaven's gain.
Melody Clendenin DeBerry 

   Thank you, Melody.  My sympathies are with you, too.  Thelma was an amazing woman.

From Evelyn Fryer Fish ('58) of TX - 10:02 PM:

Thelma died at 5 pm today. 

   Thank you so much, Evelyn.  I appreciate your sending me this sad news.

From Sandra Canepa ('58) of VA - 10:42 PM:

Thank you Ev.....
How  very, very sad, although it's "kind of" nice to know she didn't have to suffer
any longer than she did, and to know she had some time to get her affairs in order. 
Maybe we should all be so lucky, but it's still terrible.......
Take care....later, sac 

   That's true, Sandra.  Thanks so much.

Homeroom 114

Anchor Staff: Senior Section
Junior Varsity Flagtwirler
Varsity Flagtwirler: Co-Head
Quill and Scroll
Band Sweetheart 1956
Senior Invitation Committee
Junior Dance Committee
Future Business Leaders
of America
Tri-Hi-Y: Chaplain
Dance Committee


Image Courtesy
of Joe Madagan ('57)
of FL - 08/31/05
Thanks, Joe!
"Thelma Spade, our lovely  Band Sweetheart,
is shown receiving
her bouquet of roses
from Drum Major
Leonard Dunford."
1957 Anchor, p. 46 1957 Anchor, p. 118    



     I checked this morning's Daily Press and Virginian Pilot, and no obituary has yet been published.  When it is,
I shall attach it here.

    Our sincerest sympathies are extended to Thelma's family and many friends at this time.  Her loss touches us all.

From Evelyn Casey Snead ('57) - 08/27/05, 1:00 PM:

Hi Carol, You do such a wonderful job with this newsletter. Thank you very much. Thelma's
classmates and friends got this message this morning and with this message from her that I think
should be put on the site.
We will all miss a wonderful person who has been such a cohesive and loving person for the Class
of 1957.

Evelyn Casey Snead

          From Pat Beck Letzinger ('57):

        Dear Classmates:

        Our dear friend and classmate, Thelma Spade Roberts, passed away at 5:15 pm. yesterday
        (Friday, September 26, 2005.)   Her family asked that I forward and excerpt from her last
        wishes so that the classmates who cannot attend the funeral would know her last words
        to them.  Please read below.

        Pat Beck Letzinger


Here is what Mom wrote from her wishes that we think she would like shared with the class.

And last, having myself endured so much loss at one time, I do not desire that I be mourned or grieved
over much.  Be happy that I will be united with my loved ones and with God.  Simply remember me most
for all the times we laughed together, loved together and even cried together.  Remember me at my best
not for my human faults and frailties (which we all have).


Simply put remember me with love and forgiveness.


Much love,

Leigh Anne and Charlotte

   How very beautiful!  Thank you so much for sharing this with us, Evelyn - and Pat and Leigh Ann and Charlotte!

From Gail Kiger Bonsey  (Ferguson HS - '73) of OR - 08/27/05, 1:40 PM:

Ironically, the NNHS web site put Thelma Spade Roberts in touch with me just within the past 6 months. 
And this shows you what a small world it is - I live now near Portland, Oregon and Thelma wrote me, through
permission of the NNHS web mistress, Carol, asking if I was the one who use to be married to her nephew,
Phil Burris (Nov. '74) for 3 years.  This was after she read a few of my earlier postings and recognized the
name....I answered her and said yes that was me (it was a largely attended wedding - am sure she was there)...
and we ended up writing back and forth several times, exchanging pictures of my 18-year old and her
grandchild and just catching up on aunts/uncles.  She was very sweet...although at the young age of 19 in '74,
I hardly remember her.  It was so enjoyable now - at the age of 50 - to have gotten to know her again.

She wrote me about seeing her grandchild recently, so her illness sure came on quickly - I had no idea. She had
such enjoyment with being a grandmother and also she enjoyed this web site and reconnecting with classmates.

Carol - your web site has brought a lot of joy to many.

My sympathy to her daughter.

Gail (Kiger) Bonsey  FHS '73 

   Thank you, Gail.  Your message really touched my heart.

Thelma Spade Roberts

CHESAPEAKE - Thelma Spade Roberts, 66, widow of Roger L. 'Bo' Roberts, died Friday, Aug. 26, 2005.
Arrangements by Peninsula Funeral Home.

Published in the Daily Press on 8/28/2005.

From Judy Phillips Allen ('66) of VA - 08/28/05:

Carol, the visitation for Thelma Spade Roberts is Monday from 6-8pm at Peninsula Funeral Home
and the service is on Tuesday at 2pm at Peninsula Memorial Park.

   Thanks, Judy.  I wish I could be there.

From Joe Madagan ('57) of FL - 08/28/05:

Hi, Carol:

This is from Page Smith Morahan, Class of 1957 of PA. I replied to her to let her know these words have
been put to music and recorded by Diane Susek of York, PA. I believe I sent you a copy of that CD which
contains the song with such beautiful lyrics that bring comfort to us all at times of grief.


   Yes, you did, Joe - and thank you again so much for that - especially in moments such as these.

      From Richard Coltrane ('57) of VA - 08/27/05 to Members of the Class of 1957:

           On February 1 of this year many of us received the following email from Thelma Roberts
           entitled Best Friends.

  When I was little, I used to believe in the concept of one best friend,
and then I became a woman.  And then I found out that if you allow your heart to open up, God would show you the best in many friends.  One friend's best is needed when you're going through things with your mom.  Another when you want to shop, share, heal, hurt, joke, of just be.  One friend will say let's pray together; another let's cry together; another let's fight together; another let's walk away together.  One friend will meet your spiritual need, another your shoe fetish, another your love of movies, another will be with you in your season of  confusion, another will be your clarifier.  But whatever their assignment in your life, on whatever occasion, on whatever the day, or wherever you need them to meet you...with their gym shoes on and hair pulled back or to hold you back from making a complete fool of yourself...these are your friends.

    It may be all wrapped up in one woman, but for many it's wrapped up in several...one from the 7th grade, several from high school, several from the college years, several from church, on some days your mother, on others your sisters, and on some days it's the one that you need just for that day or week...that you needed someone with a fresh perspective, or the one who didn't know all your baggage, or the one who would listen without judging...those are good best friends.

      I thank my girlfriends, those who honor intimacy, those who hold
trust, and those who hold me up when life is just too heavy.  The special
bond we share is unique.  Thanks for the words we've shared...the prayers we've sent up.  The laughs, the tears, the phone calls, the emails, the shopping, the movies, the lunches, the dinners, the talking, talking,
talking and the listening, listening, listening.  So whether you've been
there 20 minutes or 20 years.  I appreciate you!

                         Neither Pat nor I knew Thelma well in high school, but we had come to regard
                    her as a good friend in the last couple of years.  She has been a dedicated
                    member of the Class of 1957 and a source of personal encouragement to both
                    of us.  Pat and I went to see Thelma Thursday afternoon.  Because of her
                    illness and medication, she was unable to acknowledge our presence, but I
                    truly believe that she knew that we were there.  We wanted to let her know
                    that she was a good friend and that she was appreciated.

               From Page Smith Morahan ('57) of PA to Richard Coltrane ('57) of VA - 08/28/05:


                           Your words express exactly my own. Being far away from Newport News,
                           I have really appreciated Thelma's caring enough to connect us so ably over
                           these last few years.

                           My thoughts and prayers for Thelma and her family are encapsulated
                           in these words by Michael Podesta, a spiritual calligrapher from Suffolk. I
                           would appreciate it if someone can give these to Thelma's family.

                                          ...stepping on a shore and finding it Heaven
                                          ...taking hold of a hand and finding it God's hand
                                          ...breathing new air and finding it celestial air
                                          ...feeling invigorated and finding it immortality
                                          ...passing from storm and tempest to an unknown calm
                                          ...walking and finding it Home."

                          Thank ALL of you for all your caring.


   Thank you so much, Joe - and Page and Richard - for sharing all these beautiful words with us, especially those
of Thelma herself.

Thelma Spade Roberts

CHESAPEAKE - Thelma Spade Roberts, 66, died Friday, Aug. 26, 2005. Born in West Virginia, she had been a resident of the Peninsula and Hampton Roads for most of her life. She retired from the Chesapeake Health Department as a personnel analyst after more than 15 years of service. She was a member of the Newport News High School Class of 1957. Mrs. Roberts was preceded in death by her husband, Roger L. 'Bo' Roberts; parents, William and Mildred Spade; and brother, Michael Spade. Survivors include a daughter, Leigh Anne Newport and her husband, Curt; a sister, Charlotte Wilkins; and two grandchildren, Tanner and Riley Newport. Thelma was a cherished friend, loving wife, and devoted mother and grandmother, who wished to be remembered for her open heart, willing spirit and kind intent. The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Aug. 29, at Peninsula Funeral Home. A graveside service will be conducted at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 30, in Peninsula Memorial Park by the Rev. Joseph Savinsky. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, 2730 Ellsmere Ave., Norfolk, VA 23513.

Published in the Daily Press (and the Virginian Pilot) on 8/29/2005.


of the Virginian Pilot at the suggestion of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 08/29/05

Thanks, Dave!


I will miss my friend. What a grand person she was. My thoughts and prayers are with her family.
Barbara Kemp Bostwick (Hertford, NC ) - August 28, 2005
We can all be inspired by the courage and determination she has shown. She will surely be missed. We who remain behind, salute you as we close one more page of the Anchor...
George Pipkin (Moyock, NC ) - August 28, 2005
A truly wonderful person and friend will be missed by many.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.
Wanda Underwood (Belleview, MO ) - August 28, 2005
Leigh Ann and Family, I'm so sorry to hear about your mother, I worked with her a number of years at the Marine Resources Commission before she left to work with the Health Department. She was a hard working, kind and thoughtful person and was missed when she left VMRC. I will keep you in my prayers during this sad time. God Bless you all.
Kathy Leonard (York County, VA ) - August 29, 2005
We will miss our cousin Thelma. So many of us didn't know Thelma until recently and are sorry not to have had more time.
Janet for the Spade family
Janet Keeton (Loveland, CO ) - August 29, 2005
We all lost a good friend and person in Thelma, and she will be remembered for her fine spirit, willingness to help others, and her dedication to NNHS 1957.
She will be missed.
Tony LaPides (Atlanta, GA ) - August 29, 2005
Thelma will be remembered for her kind and gentle manner, she was a special part of our class. Her emails and class updates were always special and I looked forward to each one. She will be missed, our thoughts and prayers are with her family during this difficult time.
Hugh and Kathy McLawhorn (Eden, NC ) - August 29, 2005
What a truly wonderful person. I will really miss those e-mails that kept me so connected with the class of '57. My prayers are
with her family.

Sandra Sherman Filippo
Sandra Filippo (Atlanta, GA ) - August 29, 2005
It has been Dick's and my pleasure to get to know Thelma better during the last three years. She was a dedicated NNHS Class
of '57 organizer, encourager, and friend. We enjoyed seeing all the photographs of Leigh Ann and the grandchildren. She dearly loved visiting her family. May God help all of you to remember all of the good times with your wonderful mother and our good friend.
Pat Coltrane (Newport News, VA ) - August 29, 2005
I began to know Thelma better in these last few years through our internet newsletters and correspondence, and though I missed being her friend for many past years, I will miss even more the friend I wish I could have enjoyed for many future years.
Raoul Weinstein (Lakeland, FL ) - August 29, 2005
Thelma had become such an integral part of the Newport News Class of 1957 through all the excellent communication she had
with us all especially during the past three years. We will sorely miss her thoughtful updates. I greatly appreciated her personal notes, friendship, and willingness to help make the Class of '57 the great class it is. She was special and it is this kind of loving
spirit that makes this class so special. My love and prayers are with her family.
Wilma Robinson
Class Sponsor
Wilma Robinson (Norfolk, VA ) - August 29, 2005
We would like to express our deepest sympathy to Thelma's family.
John 5: 28-29
Christine Peat (Columbus, OH ) - August 30, 2005
To The Family
I did not grow up with your mom although I was raised in the east end area. We were however good friends and classmates. Thelma always had that award winning smile for me when we met. Our Class of "57" has lost one of the sweetest little Darling I have ever known. I will always remember her as My Little Spade. May God bless.
Donald and Ellen Smith
Leigh Ann & Family. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Your mother was a wonderful person. I had not seen her in a while since she had moved from York County. I regret having lost touch with her. May God give you strength and comfort during this time.
Pauline Bradford (Suffolk, VA ) - August 31, 2005

From Charles Hilling ('56) of FL - 08/29/05:

We have lost another great member of our Typhoon family.  My thoughts and prayers are
with Thelma's family and her many, many friends.

Charlie Hilling, Class of 1956

   Thank you, Charlie.

From Aretie Gallins Patterson ('59) of Northern VA - 09/15/05:

... I remember Thelma Spade as if it were yesterday that I watched her, feet clad in tasseled
white boots, gold bands encircling the bolero skirt of the navy blue uniform, and pillbox
hat atop her head, twirling and stepping in unison with the other flagtwirlers... 

   Thank you, Aretie.

   "Until I see you all again, may God bless us all, one for the other. 
Love, Thelma"

- Thelma Spade Roberts, 07/10/05

This page is also linked here:



  Y'all take good care of each other!  TYPHOONS FOREVER!

                          Love to all, Carol


NNHS CLASS OF '65 WEB SITE: http://www.nnhs65.00freehost.com

PERSONAL WEB SITE: http://www.angelfire.com/weird2/cluckmeat


Amazing Grace
Words by John Newton 1779

 Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)
That sav'd a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev'd;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believ'd!

Thro' many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
'Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promis'd good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call'd me here below,
Will be forever mine.

"Amazing Grace" mid courtesy of http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/3819/media.htm - 03/15/05

"Amazing Grace" lyrics courtesy of http://www.friendsacrossamerica.com/amazinggrace.html - 03/15/05

Blackwork Flowers Divider Line clip art courtesy of http://www.bravenet.com - 08/12/04

Greg Olsen Paintings courtesy of http://gregolsengallery.com 03/15/05

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