- Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 May 2014 12:02
- Published on Wednesday, 21 May 2014 11:59
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After several years of valiantly coping with the slow decline caused by dementia, God took the hand of Leola Edna Dickinson Dennison, 85, of Index in King George County, and welcomed her to glory on Saturday, May 17, 2014. She was blessed to be born, raise her children, and die in the homeplace that was so precious to her because it was built by the hands of her father.
Born on November 28, 1928, she walked ¾-mile to Dickinsons Corner, where her grandparents had lived, to catch the bus to Shiloh Elementary School. After graduating from King George High School in 1946, she attended Strayer College in Washington, DC. While working at the naval base at Dahlgren, she met her husband, Wayne Archie “Denny” Dennison of Saginaw, MI, where he was stationed as a 3rd class aviation electrician in the Navy, and where she worked as a secretary. They were married on Christmas Day 1949.
She traveled many places collecting many memories, but Leola’s greatest joys were the annual Round Hill Baptist Church Homecoming, the King George (KG) Fall Festival, and Thanksgiving, when her siblings, and now her nieces and nephews and their families, returned to the homeplace for food and fellowship each year.
Mrs. Dennison was preceded in death by her husband of 32 years due to an accident in a cornfield in Dogue involving an ultralight aircraft he was piloting on May 15, 1982, less than seven months before he would have reached retirement. Ten years later, Mrs. Dennison retired from NSWCDD as Secretary to the Commanding Officer after 46 years of service. During her secretarial career she supported 3 Technical Directors and 12 Base Commanders. She thoroughly enjoyed working for the government and took great pride in supporting our country and our community.
She was a member of the Dahlgren Chapter of ITC (Int’l Training in Communication fka Toastmistresses) serving in various capacities including President and attending conferences to the international level. She was also a member of the KG Fall Festival Committee being a consistent supporter of the festival since its inception, and the KG Farm Bureau Women’s Committee where she served as the KG Farm Bureau representative responsible for the Fall Festival Hospitality Room for dignitaries and VIPs. She was a supporter of the KG Art Guild and volunteered for many years at their Biennial Art Show. She was a Salvation Army LifeChanger; a supporter of the KGHS After-Prom Party, the Rappahannock Community College Educational Fdn., and the VA Fdn. for Agriculture in the Classroom; a member of The KG County Historical Society, the Dahlgren Heritage Museum; and an active supporter of the mission work of Round Hill Baptist Church, the same church where her grandfather was a trustee in 1877. She was a lifelong member of the church choir, taught Sunday School, served in Vacation Bible School, as WMU president, on pastor search committees, and in many other capacities whenever and wherever there was a need.
Mrs. Dennison was from a generation we would all do well to emulate. She was a gentle and humble southern lady, strong in faith, who knew no enemies and had empathy for all. She embodied a pure and innocent heart, but, after the untimely death of her husband, she also had the prowess to single-handedly maintain the family operations for the next 24 years. She carried herself with poise and grace and was the rock that held her family together. By example, she taught her two daughters how to survive the tragic death of the father they so revered. She taught them to live their life with passion and commitment even in the presence of hurt and pain.
Leola was the daughter of the late Eubank & the late Lillie Belle Dickinson of Index, King George County. She was the youngest and last surviving of eight Dickinson siblings and their spouses: Herbert Vinton (died as an infant), Ethel Mae Perry (Ernest), James (Helen Craun), Harold (Margaret DeShazo), Elsie Hurlebaus (Albert), Myrtle Beury (Herbert), and Eubank Gordon (Alice Kendall). She was also predeceased by brother-in-law Billy Dennison and his wife Pat of Saginaw, MI.
She is survived by her admiring daughters Sheri Lynn Dennison and Wendi Suzette Dennison Wynn and loving granddaughters Gracelynn Michaela Wynn and Wrayne Dennison Wynn, all of Index in King George County; son-in-law Dr. Charles Palmer of Montross; brother-in-laws Emerson (the late Beverly) and Robert D. Dennison, Sr. (Yvonne) of Saginaw, MI, and Donald L. Dennison (the late Jacqueline) of Ithaca, MI, and numerous nieces and nephews including eldest sister Ethel’s daughter, the 1st grandchild of Eubank & Lillie Dickinson, Alice Marie Mothershead (Billy) with whom she grew up as if they were sisters. Locally, niece Joanne Leola Beury Goodin (Michael) and great-niece Karen Goodin Harris (Bill) reside in Spotsylvania; great-niece Theresa Goodin Pauli (Carl) formerly of Spotsylvania now resides in Christiansburg, VA.
For the selfless care and support they provided to Leola and her family during her last days, we would like to honor and bless Jennifer Cave & Michael and Alexus Wynn of Colonial Beach; Jean Frye Shanklin and family of King George; and 1st cousins Sandy Berry (Tommy) and their children Donna Berry Barnum (Steve) and Kevin Berry (Paula) of King George. We also express our appreciation to the Mary Washington Hospice Support Team and to Tiffany Bushrod of Montross from Comfort Keepers. In addition, we would like to thank Bob Shipe (hunter and friend since opening his horticultural nursery in King George in 1992, now residing in Millsboro, DE) for his willingness to assist with any help needed on the farm, even if we never asked.
The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 22, at Nash & Slaw Funeral Home in King George. The funeral will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, May 23, at Round Hill Baptist Church, King George, with the Rev. Ted James officiating. Mrs. Dennison will then take her final earthly journey to be buried beside her husband in the adjacent church cemetery where her parents and other family members are also interred. A reception will follow in the church fellowship hall.
Pallbearers will be Donald R. Dennison (nephew-in-law, Bay City, MI), Michael Goodin (nephew-in-law, Spotsylvania), Robert Dennison, Jr. (nephew-in-law, Saginaw, MI), Dr. Charles Palmer (son-in-law, Montross, VA), Conway Moy (family friend from NSWCDD since 1971), Paul Dickinson (great-nephew, Arlington, VA), and Michael Wynn (ex-son-in-law, Colonial Beach).
Honorary pallbearers are Arthur, Jerry, and Tony Bushrod (family friends and neighbors for generations); Max Garland (1946 KGHS classmate); Tommy Berry (1st cousin-in-law); and retired KG County Sheriff Clarence “Moose” Dobson (her Sunday School teacher and long-time friend); Jeri Michael Dennison (nephew-in-law, Saginaw, MI); and Gary Dickinson (nephew, Waldorf, MD).
Memorial contributions may be made to the Round Hill Baptist Church Bldg. Fund, Box 467, 16519 Round Hill Road, King George, VA 22485 or to The Community Fdn. of the Rappahannock River Region (CFRRR) designated for The Wayne A. Dennison Fund. The CFRRR is a nonprofit, public 501(c)(3) charity established in 1997 by local community leaders for the people of Stafford, Spotsylvania, King George, Caroline counties and the City of Fredericksburg. The Wayne A. Dennison Fund was a charter endowment established to provide support for the administrative expenses of The Foundation. Checks may be written to Community Fdn. Wayne A. Dennison Fund and mailed to P.O. Box 208, Fredericksburg, VA 22404-0208 or donations may be made online at www.cfrrr.org/make-a-charitable-impact/current-funds/the-wayne-a-dennison-fund.
“A life worth living has less to do with how you look or what you buy and more to do with how you live and choose to love the people around you.” -- quote paraphrased from Tera Warner