My dear mother-in-law died right before Christmas. My wife Suzy and I were traveling and got the news from her sister while we were at Morikami Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach, Fla. Here is the obituary the family wrote together.
Thelma Alice Bell Ducharme, resident of Cañon City, Colorado, passed quickly and peacefully on Monday, December 21, 2020 at the age of 89 surrounded by loved ones.
Thelma is survived by her sisters, Betty Hudson, Dorothy Gillenwater, Nina Davis, and Linda Williams; her children, Suzy Jackson, Mary Mowery, Joe Ducharme, Linda Kiepke, and Nancy Pecor; her grandchildren, Shane Pierce, Michael David Pierce, Chris King, Jeremy Ducharme, Kenessa Ugarte, Lauren Fox, Katelynn Redding, Lindsey Leslie, Randi Canfield, Jackson Kiepke, and Lillian Kiepke; and her great-grandchildren, Alex Ugarte, Ryker Pierce, Maxwell Canfield, Landon Ugarte, Lexie Redding, Anastasia Canfield, Raia Pierce, Madeleine Fox, and Quinn Leslie; among many other extended and loved family members.
Thelma was preceded in death by her husband, Leroy Ducharme; her siblings, Jack Bell, Mary Ruth, Judge Bell, David Bell, Floyd Bell, and Joan Bradley; her sons, TJ Ducharme and Michael Ducharme; and her grandchildren Meagan Pierce and Brandon Ducharme.
Thelma was born in Gate City, Virginia on May 27, 1931 to James and Rosa Bell, and was one of 11 siblings. In 1949, she graduated from Shoemaker High School and later studied Art and Philosophy at the University of Alabama Huntsville. On July 20, 1957, she married Leroy Ducharme, a pilot in the United States Air Force. Between 1960 – 1971 she welcomed seven beautiful children who were such an important part of her life. While Thelma spent most of her life living in Colorado or Florida, throughout her life she lived in six states as well as Sembach, Germany.
Thelma lived for God first and her beautiful family, always. She was a devoted Christian, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She remembered everyone’s birthday by sending a sweet card or virtual message. In her later years, she kept in touch with all those dear to her through social media, making her one of the most technologically savvy 89-year-olds known. Her mind was razor-sharp and with her crystal-clear memory she told the best stories. Thelma was a positive woman who always saw the best in people. She will be remembered as a beautiful artist and a woman of strong faith in Jesus Christ participating in her church as both an elder and counselor. She will be deeply missed by her friends, family, and all who knew her.
There will be a celebration of life in her honor in the summer of 2021; she would have been 90.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28, Thelma’s favorite Bible verse.