Thelma Virginia Perry Van Lear
In the early hours of March 20, 2023, Thelma Virginia Perry Van Lear slipped peacefully in her sleep from this life into the next. She was a faithful and loving wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt, and friend, living each day with her love of the Lord as her guide.
Born in 1927 in Little Creek, West Virginia, to Cecil Claude and Mary Clendenin Perry, Thelma had an older sister, Alice, and a twin brother, Elbert. All have preceded her in death. Thelma graduated from White Sulphur High School in 1945 and came to Clifton Forge to attend the C&O Hospital Training School for Nurses, completing her courses with excellence and beginning her nursing career at the Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Virginia. Both the keen knowledge her work required and the clear compassion her field demanded came naturally to her, as did her consistent and attentive care of her family and others around her. In all things, she set her hands to doing her best and giving her best.
Thelma was married to Wilfred Glenn (W.G.) Van Lear for 44 years. When they moved to Clifton Forge in 1949, they followed the professions of many Alleghany County couples in their working lives as W. G. worked for the C & O Railroad, while Thelma was a nurse at the C & O Hospital. When they began their family, Thelma traded her nursing efforts for being a homemaker and caring for her two sons, Richard G. Van Lear and Robert A. Van Lear. Her nurse’s training, she always said, came in handy raising two active boys, and when they became young men, she went back to work at the hospital, staying until her retirement. She and W. G. then spent many months in their RV traveling the United States and gathering adventures wherever they went. They were members of Temple Baptist Church, where she loved attending the Young at Heart senior group. W. G. preceded her in death in 1993.
This amazing woman is survived by her sons and their wives, Richard and Tondalaya Van Lear, and Robert and Sandy Van Lear. She has three granddaughters she cherished and who cherish her—Eryn Van Lear (husband, Robert), Katie Van Lear Poulsen (husband, Jacob), and Sara Van Lear. Thelma was delighted with and loved her four great-grandchildren, Auden Wolfe, Judah Poulsen, Rèmy Poulsen, and Aria Gray Poulsen, and she was blessed to have many nieces and nephews and their families, whom she treasured sharing the joys of family connection. She is also survived by a loving sister-in-law, Ada Powell, of Saluda, Virginia.
Thelma’s family will be at Nicely Funeral Home for a brief visitation at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 25, 2023, followed by a graveside service at 2:00 p.m. at Alleghany Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations can be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Nicely Funeral Home, Clifton Forge is handling the arrangements.
To send condolences to the family online, please visit www.nicelyfuneralhome.com