Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Aunt Thelma

My Aunt Thelma Howard Babb (born December 23, 1912 on Ocracoke Island) died on Tuesday, November 27, 2012. As her daughter Becky put it, she was 99.92 years old!

Aunt Thelma moved away from Ocracoke when she was a teenager, and lived in Norfolk for a number of years. She did return to live on the island for a while when she was young, and throughout her life she loved to come back to visit family and friends. In recent years she lived near her daughter in Texas. Becky remarked that "Ocracoke was one of the last things she remembered. She loved the island immensely."

Aunt Thelma was my father's sister. She was only fourteen months younger than my dad, and they remained close friends throughout their lives. A number of older island residents remember Aunt Thelma well. "She would always keep you laughing," is a frequent comment made by people who knew her. Aunt Thelma had an infectious smile, a twinkle in her eye, and a knack for telling entertaining stories that are told and retold (some of them best saved for family get togethers over a glass of wine!).

Aunt Thelma leaves behind three granddaughters, six great-grandchildren; five great-great-grandchildren; and many other dear family and friends.

After her mama died Becky discovered the following hand-written passage that Aunt Thelma read at her own mother's funeral in 1950. Becky read it at Aunt Thelma's funeral last week. 

In Memory of Mother

The Midnight Stars are shining above her silent grave,
Beneath it sleeps the one we love and the one we could not save.
What would we give to hold her hand, her dear face just to touch,
 Her loving smile, her welcome voice, that meant so much to us.
Just when life was not quite the best....
The gates of heaven opened and God took her home to rest...
The hills were hard to climb...
He gently closed your eyes and whispered, Please be mine.

Gone but not forgotten...


  1. Anonymous7:59 AM

    I am sorry for your loss. That was a beautiful passage.

  2. I had the opportunity it meet Aunt Thelma a few times. She was a red-headed, go-getter damsel. She lived life larger than most of us. I am so glad I was touched by her stories and wit. Lou Ann

  3. Anonymous4:36 PM

    I am sorry for your loss Philip. I love reading about your family...it would all be a wonderful novel if you'd just write it!

  4. Anonymous5:50 PM

    Condolences to you and yours on your loss, Philip, but what a wonderful tribute to your aunt.

    When my father passed away I realized how much more broadly his life had touched those of others, more than I knew or imagined, just as the spirit and life of your aunt has now touched your readers here.


  5. Although I don't have the time right now, one day I will publish at least one short story that illustrates Aunt Thelma's zest for life. Look for the story sometime in January.

  6. debbie s.4:22 AM

    RIP Thelma

    Philip, I am truly sorry for your loss...

  7. I am so sorry for your loss. She is irreplaceable. Do you have any pictures of her that you would want to post?

  8. Bob, I will post a photo or two with a story sometime in January.

  9. Anonymous8:32 AM

    That should be interesting.

  10. Anonymous8:26 PM

    Why aren't her sons listed? She had twin sons in 1944 and the one that lives today is my father. She had 3 sons total.

    1. Anon. 8:26 PM -- I know very little about Thelma's 3 sons (twins Ronald & Donald and another whose name I never heard). Perhaps you would like to provide some details. Please go here (https://www.villagecraftsmen.com/contact.htm) for our contact information. Thank you for your comment.