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10/28/09 - NNHS Newsletter - Elsie Watkins Poole

Elsie Lavinia Watkins Poole
(15 Aug 1922 - 24 Oct 2009)

Hampton High School Class of @ 1939

Dear Friends and Schoolmates,   

   We have even more sad news today.     Elsie Watkins Poole, Hampton High School Class of @ 1939, mother of      Jean Poole Burton ('64) of RI,  passed away in Hampton on Saturday, October 24, 2009 at the age of 87. 

   I'm sorry I never had the opportunity to know Mrs. Poole; Jean's descriptions and stories of her were so very delightful.  My sincerest sympathies to Jean and her family.

 From the Daily Press - 10/28/09:

                 Elsie Watkins Poole




HAMPTON - Elsie Lavinia Watkins Poole passed away on Oct. 24, 2009.

She was born on Aug. 15, 1922, in Hampton, the daughter of Birdie Ella Harwood Watkins and William Leroy Watkins.

Elsie was a member of the Northampton Church of Christ, had taught Sunday School, worked in Vacation Bible School and been involved in ladies groups and mission support. She enjoyed church activities, sewing, gardening, reading and talking on the phone with her friends. She was a devoted daughter, wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. One of her very endearing qualities was that she often made little craft items and mailed them to her "grands" and "greats".

Elsie was preceded in death by her beloved husband, George Poole.


Elsie Watkins Poole



She leaves to cherish her memory her daughter, Jean Poole Burton and her husband, John of Portsmouth, R.I.; sons, George William Poole and his wife, Fran of Fort Worth, Texas, and Al Poole and his wife, Betty of Broken Arrow, Okla.; five grandchildren, Kevin Poole and his wife, Jennifer of Christiansburg, Va., Charles "Chuck" Burton of Norfolk, Va., Rebecca "Becky" Burton of Brooklyn, N.Y., Alexandra Poole of Tulsa, Okla., and Alison Poole of Fort Worth, Texas; three great-grandchildren, Reagan Poole, Samantha Poole and Jackson Poole; also special friends, Pam and Wayne Miller, Linda Poole and Ed Arborgast.

Friends are encouraged to visit to share memories and words of condolence with the family.

A celebration of Elsie's life will be held Saturday afternoon, Nov. 7, 2009, at 1 p.m. at the Northampton Church of Christ, 1409 Todds Lane in Hampton. Interment will follow in Parklawn Memorial Park in Hampton.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Northampton Church of Christ Building Fund or the American Cancer Society.

Arrangements are under the care of Parklawn-Wood Funeral Home, 2551 N. Armistead Avenue, Hampton. View and post condolences on our online guestbook at

Published in the Daily Press from October 28 to October 29, 2009.

October 28, 2009

My friendship with Elsie began while we were working at Ft Eustis, when it was being rebuilt in preparation for WW II. Our friendship continued for a few years, even after I joined the Navy and was stationed at Yorktown. We were together on one occasion that we always remembered: we were in Hampton when the news of Pearl Harbor came over the Radio. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to become acquainted with all of her immediate family and some of her friends. My sympathy goes out to all her present family and friends.

With love, Ed Arbogast

October 28, 2009

Jean, I was very saddened to learn of your mother's passing. Please accept my deepest condolences on your loss.
David Spriggs, NNHS 1964
~ David Spriggs, Norfolk, Virginia

October 28, 2009


So sorry to hear you've lost your Mama. I know how hard that can be. Mine's been gone 8 years and I still miss her.

I pray our LORD will wrap His arms around you and your family and comfort you as only He can.

Suzanne (VanNoy) Mink
~ Suzanne Mink, Cincinnati, Ohio

October 28, 2009


October 28, 2009

So sorry to read of the passing of your MOM. My sincere sympathy is sent to you and your family.
~ Brenda Hudson Ramsey, Yorktown, Virginia

October 28, 2009

Grandma Poole had an amazing understanding of the things that were important in life - family, friends and The Lord. She would come to Christiansburg for a week during the summer and at Thanksgiving. Even in her 80's she would crawl around in the floor with the children and play, and share stories of her life and history. We will treasure our wonderful memories.

*Kevin and Jennifer Poole and family (grandson)


October 28, 2009

Hi Jean,
It has been many, many years since I saw your mom last but I remember in grade school that she was always so friendly and a very happy person which is important to little children.
You will cherish your memories of your mom forever and I am thankful your mom was someone to be remember with loving thoughts.
Kathie Avant Taylor
~ Kathie Taylor, Atlanta, Georgia

October 28, 2009

Jean: I am so sorry to hear of the death of your mother. I know how close you were and I know you will really miss her. You have wonderful memories of her and you were a good and loving daughter. I missed seeing you at your reunion as you were unable to make the Saturday night event. My love and prayers go to you.
Take care, Fred Mays of Newport News, VA
~ Frederick Mays, Newport News, Virginia

October 28, 2009

Dear Jean and Family...I extend to you and your family my sympathy. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. Sincerely,

~ Janice McCain Rose


October 28, 2009

Dearest Jean and Family, I was saddened to hear of your Mother's passing away. I know you had been expecting this but when it happens, you wish for a few more days. You will miss her but know she is not in any pain and happy to be home with your Dad and other loved ones. My Deepest Sympathy to each of you.
~ Linda L. Lane, Williamsburg, Virginia

October 29, 2009

October 29, 2009


October 29, 2009

Dear Jean, George and Al, I have not seen your mother for years but we always remembered her and your dad. My mom (Adelene McCoy) lived next door to to your parents on Maple Ave. Your parents were wonderful people and mom always enjoyed feeding Al and telling stories about Maple Avenue. I know you will miss her and she was a great person. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. Love, Carolyn Harris
~ Carolyn Harris
Contact Me

October 29, 2009

Dear Jean & Family
I just read of your Mother's passing.
I extend to you my deepest sympathy.

~ Mary Massey Lyle


October 29, 2009

Dear Jean, The obituary was a lovely tribute to your Mom. We always enjoyed her visits to Portsmouth. I know you will miss her but you have so many wonderful memories to carry you through this difficult time.

Love Mary Kay


October 29, 2009

My condolences and prayers go out to the family. Elsie was a sweet wonderful lady. Although I had not seen her in many years, memories always make me smile. I know she will truly be missed.
~ Sandra (Layton) Hooper, Hampton, Virginia
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   Once again, our deepest condolences are extended to Mrs. Poole's entire family and their friends at this difficult time.

    From Jean Poole Burton ('64) of RI - 11/20/09, 12:50 AM - "Hi from Jeanb":

Hi Carol,

I just got home tonight and am catching up.  My mother's service was very nice.  We sang "Glory for Me", "How Great Thou Art" and my brother Al had them play, "Mamma burned the Midnight Oil with Prayer"...several people thought Al was singing but it was not him.  

The flowers were gorgeous, Bert's Flower Shop did them (they also did our wedding flowers 41 years ago) and several of my NNHS buddies attended:       Sue Miller Dearnley ('64 - of VA),        Dave Spriggs ('64 - of VA),   Fred Mays ('60 - of VA) and     Linda Lane Lane ('64 - of VA) as well as Betty Sue Lanier Rough ('64 - of VA) and her husband Bob.  It was a beautiful day and we sent    Mom (Elsie Watkins Poole) off nicely.  I will post her eulogy shortly for those who would like to read it.  

Love, Jeanb

   Thank you, Jean.  We'll look forward to reading her eulogy, and again, our deepest sympathies.

    From Jean Poole Burton ('64) of RI - 12/01/09 - "I promised to post this...":

Still trying to get things done at home.  Put wreaths on the doors and have our tree in the garage in water...I have my moments of thinking of little things I want to tell my mother or something cute I would like to get her for Christmas...but most of the time I am thankful that she is with my father and her beloved parents.  It is a journey and I am taking one day at a time.
The first thing I would like to say is “Thank You”…thank you to the Faubus Drive neighbors, what a unique neighborhood of people who lived together for about 40 years…Mr. Mattox, Frances Odom and Connie and family, the Millers, Mr. and Mrs. Kimmeth, Mr. Moore, Mr. and Mrs. Ellis, Mr. and Mrs. Walker and family, Mr. and Mrs. Drake. We all know that Mom could not have stayed in her home without all of you helping her out. Mr. Moore you are going to be at the head table in heaven if I have anything to say about it! I cannot say enough about the kindness of you who were her neighbors.

The second “Thank you” is to the Northampton Church of Christ” members. Mom was truly surrounded by a host of earthly angels. I cannot name you for fear of leaving some out but you know who you are and what you did for Mom. I must mention Janet and Dave Gurkin, Mr. Van Buskirk, the youth group, your visitation teams and the Crusaders Class.

Now I want to thank some old and dear friends of Mom’s: Mary and Louis Whitehouse, Gertrude Wilson and family, Aunt Sadie and her family, my beloved cousin Susan Elswick and my mother-in-law, Annie Burton.

And where would we be without Betty Russell, Audrey Williams and Ed Arbogast?

For those of you who do not know, Audrey was Mom’s caregiver for several years and Ed is my mother’s gentleman friend…and Betty offered to go in and do Mom’s laundry at the Commonwealth and ended up doing a great deal more than that…more about that later.

Mom was born and raised in Hampton, graduated from Hampton High and Hampton Roads Business College. She excelled in typing and shorthand and had worked in banking and in social services before her marriage and becoming a stay-at-home mother. When she wanted to write herself a reminder or a private note she would write it in shorthand…no danger of us knowing what the heck it meant!

She was the fourth of five children and she was a tomboy. She played football, rode her bike all over Hampton, sold butterbeans to earn money for the movies, roller skated, and once threw a metal dustpan at her brother Ben. When I asked her why she did such a thing, she said, “Oh, I don’t know, he did something that made me mad…but I am glad I didn’t kill him”! Mom was spunky and had a great sense of humor! She was never fussy about the house and always welcomed our friends, always made an extra sandwich, had an open heart and an open house.

Mom met Daddy when he was stationed at Langley Field. Her sister Bert as well as my Aunt Edna already knew him and it was a blind date because Bert’s date did not have a car and Daddy did. She said the first date was not too exciting…he talked about cows! Dad of course had grown up on a dairy farm…well, obviously things improved because here we are! When he asked for her hand in marriage he had to promise her mother that he would not take her to Texas…but of course the first thing that happened was that Uncle Sam sent him to El Paso! Can you imagine Mom going to El Paso on the train by herself, having never left the state of Virginia except once on a car trip with friends? She said the further west they went the bleaker it looked…and she promised the Lord if she ever got back to Virginia she would never leave again! And so when Dad got out of the service they settled on the peninsula and made their home there. They were married 51 years before Dad passed in 1997.

There are so many things that a mother does for her child…some we remember, some we forget…but in thinking about my Mom the things that stand out in my mind that I am most grateful for are these: First and foremost her firm belief in God, in making church attendance a priority, in making us realize the things that are eternal…Mom had a few ironclad rules that she lived by and one of them was, “You will go to church on Sunday.” I do not care how badly she felt or what else was going on in her life, she was the first one up on Sunday morning. She had those pin curls combed out, that makeup on, and those high heels and she would be stomping around and making such a racket that it was impossible to sleep in. And heaven help you if you had any thoughts of not feeling well enough to go to church…you were sick? Well, then, I guess you better stay in bed and maybe you needed a dose of castor oil. That would cure most anything…and of course you were really going to be a lot sicker when you discovered that buddy you were not going anywhere all week except to school! Mom had so many Bibles that she could have given the Gideons serious competition. When I cleaned out her house I think I found about four in every room.

Secondly, in my case, the opportunity to take music lessons. I look back now and realize that Mom often held her clothes together with safety pins, but I had piano lessons and they purchased a second hand piano for my practice. I did not become a virtuoso but I have garnered much enjoyment from being able to play the piano. Mom also made me take typing and shorthand “so I would have something to fall back on…” I have used my typing skills all of my life…now they call it keyboarding …I can still hear Mr. Harvey saying “s-w-2”…as he orally dictated our typing drills at NNHS. Oh by the way, I still could not read Mom’s private notes in shorthand… Mom also encouraged me to attend college. I was not a focused teenager…well, yes, actually I was focused: on having a good time…but Mom let me know that going to college could be a reality for me if I wanted it to be. Her father had left her a small inheritance and that is what she chose to do with it. Here is a woman who has had very little luxury and chooses to sacrifice that in favor of her children getting a higher education…I did not realize at the time what a most noble and unselfish act it was.

Mom was always in favor of any opportunities we had to do something extra special. If there was a ball game out of town she encouraged Dad to drive my friends and me and attend the game with us, taking us out afterward to Shoney’s for burgers and shakes. She would stay home with the boys. Mom never demanded the spotlight and it made her happy to see her family get to do special things. She had a charge account at Nachman’s and if I needed a white blouse for a chorus concert or a certain kind of shoe she would say “just go and charge it, hon”…as a child you take those things so for granted…and yet now looking back I see how she opened doors for us that might have been closed otherwise. If there was a school trip or a special event that cost a few bucks Mom would always manage to scare up with the money for us to go.

Mom bought a sewing machine when I was ten years old and insisted on sending me to the free sewing lessons that came with the machine. I learned how to sew very well and made many of my clothes in high school and later. Mom liked to make little doll clothes for children in the church and little doll beds, Christmas ornaments and hand sewn Valentines. She would always get her little red felt squares and stitch up those little hearts to send to the kids. She loved little kids and always had a toy, a doll or a game for them to play with if anyone with children visited.

Mom could be incredibly funny…even though she often did not realize it. One example is the following: She did not like big towels…she said they took too much time in the dryer to dry. So she had all these little towels that are like gym towels. I just got in the habit of grabbing a stack when I went in for a shower…and reminding my husband to do the same. Bill and Fran decided to remedy the situation one Christmas by sending her a gorgeous set of fluffy towels from a nice department store…two bath, two hand, and two face cloths. It was so nice to see Mom finally have a nice set of towels…but the next time we visited I could not find them…”Mom, what did you do with those nice towels Bill and Fran gave you? “ I asked. “Well, honey, they were just too big so I took the scissors and cut them in half and hemmed them all around, and now they are just right”…so much for the nice big towels. She also took the scissors to a very nice turtle neck I had given her…telling me that the sleeves were too long and the neck swallowed her up so she cut off the cuffs and the neck and “now I wear it for underwear…keeps me nice and warm”…yes, I did contemplate taking all the scissors out of her house! Since Al and I like to joke back and forth I later sent him for Christmas a nice bath sheet with his name monogrammed in big letters, and on the outside of the box in black marker pen I wrote “something to take to Momma’s house’…he replied in an e-mail…”that towel ain’t going near Momma’s house”. Mom did not have matching ANYTHING. It was very likely that you would get a purple pillow case, a white sheet and a green sheet. She also would go to yard sales and buy assorted and random dishes, so you never knew what was going to appear on the table. Mom was “mix and match” before it became popular…she was also the original recycler and green person! We used to joke that Mom could put a broomstick in the ground and it would sprout. She rooted many rose bushes for friends and family members. Mom had a dry wit. She would say something that was absolutely hysterical and we would be laughing our heads off and then she would say, “I don’t know what y’all are laughing about, I didn’t say anything funny!” And then we would laugh even harder…and then she would say, “Y’all are making fun of me!”…and even though we would try to explain why we were laughing, she was still not quite sure she had said anything funny!

In 2004 Mom was diagnosed with colon cancer…she had always been fairly energetic and looking back I saw the signs the year before that she was slowing down…and so she had surgery and it was very severe…she was in the hospital for 11 days and we thought that she would be leaving us…but she went to Northampton Convalescent Center and regained her strength, and three months later was able to have a colostomy reversed. Eventually I insisted that Mom have someone come in several times a week to help her out with housework, take her shopping, etc. She chose Audrey Williams, a friend from her SS class. What a blessing Audrey has been to Mom and to all of us who breathed a little easier knowing that Mom was in her capable hands. When Mom went to the Commonwealth Assisted Living, Betty Russell offered to go in and do her laundry. Betty as it turned out went in to feed Mom when she could no longer feed herself. I am told that Betty helped other residents as well. Knowing that Betty’s eyes and ears were there every day enabled me to go home and sleep a bit better.

In 2005, a very remarkable thing occurred in Mom’s life. She had been engaged when she was 20 years old to a young man named Ed. She met him while working at Ft. Eustis in a typing pool. Ed was a very nice fellow but her parents feared that “he would take her away from home” and so they talked her into breaking the engagement. Over the years Daddy would tease her once in awhile about Ed, or she would say “I wonder what became of Ed”…Then in the 90’s Ed was visiting Yorktown with his wife while attending a military reunion. He called my Uncle Ben and got her phone number. When he called, Mom did not believe it was really him because Daddy was such a big practical joker…but when she finally took the phone, sure enough it was Ed. They caught up with each other’s lives on the phone and after that exchanged Christmas cards. In 2005 Ed’s beloved wife passed, and several months later he called Mom and asked if he could visit. Well, you may know the rest of the story, Mother and Ed had quite a few visits and took several trips together. Ed invited her to come to Florida and she went several times. The funny thing about that was that Mom always used to say, “I wish I knew somebody in Florida, I would go down there and spend the winter’…well, when Ed invited her to do just that I reminded her, “you wished for this; now God has put it in your hand, you have to go”!

Mom and Dad were always there for us…we knew that there would be clean clothes and supper was on the table. We knew that they were very committed to each other and to our family. Those things give children security and stability…Nobody can take them away from you. When you go off to live your life…(we all flew pretty far from the nest), there is a rock solid core of fortitude inside your skin…when we came home to visit with our own families Mom always had a cake in her glass cake plate with the metal dome that lived on her kitchen table. There was always a ham or a turkey and maybe a roast beef as well and plenty of snacks and treats…Mom knew that kids liked Jell-O and macaroni and cheese and hot dogs…and peanut butter and jelly and ice cream. And some of those would always be on her table at mealtime. Her clean old sheets and bed covers were as soft as velvet and we truly felt wrapped in love when we visited.

And so, the last “Thank you” I will say is to Mom…You will always be in our hearts…
…we love you! We will miss you.

   What a beautiful, delightful eulogy! Thank you so much for sharing it with us, Jean.

  Y'all take good care of each other!  TYPHOONS FOREVER!  We'll Always Have Buckroe!

                          Love to all, Carol





Carol Buckley Harty

In the Garden

Words and Music by Charles Austin Miles, 1912
(7 Jan 1868 - 10 Mar 1946)

I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses

And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

He speaks and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing

And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

I'd stay in the garden with Him
'Tho the night around me be falling
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling

And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

"In the Garden" midi (sequenced by Randell M. Lawson) and lyrics courtesy of - 01/31/08

Greg Olsen Paintings courtesy of – 03/15/05

Hampton High School's Crab clip art courtesy of - 10/02/05
Replaced courtesy of - 02/17/09

Blue Flowers Divider Line clip art courtesy of - 03/05/09

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