[Mary] Theddress Beulah Gaines Thorpe was the first born of four daughters to the late Francis Lee and Verna Beulah, on February 23, 1920, in Harmony, Maryland.
Theddress, known to her friends as "Teddy", and lovingly to her family as "Deedle", peacefully departed this life in her home, on Wednesday, December 23, 2015, at the age of 95.
Theddress was three years old when she moved to Chester with her parents. Educated in the Chester public schools, she graduated from Chester High School in 1938.
She then married Frank Gaines and to that union a son Daniel joined the family followed by the birth of a daughter, Frances.
In 1972, Theddress was joined in Holy Matrimony to Noah L. Thorpe. His five children lovingly took Theddress into their hearts, and she was welcomed with love by the extended Thorpe family and attended many family events and celebrations.
Theddress was employed for many years as a seamstress, and was a proud member of Amalgamated Ladies Garment Workers Union. She retired from the former Robb-Ann Sportswear.
Theddress was raised in St. Daniels United Methodist Church, where she was a devoted member all her life. Under the pastorate of Rev. Leon S. Moore she was assigned to Class No. 11. During her life long membership in her beloved church, she grew in spirit and in leadership, beginning with the Methodist Youth Fellowship. She continued serving throughout her life, on the Finance Committee, Staff Parish Relations, Administrative Board, and Council on Ministries. She also was a certified lay speaker, and a member of the Board of Ordained Ministry.
However, her passion was the United Methodist Women. She served in leadership positions in her local church unit and recruited many women to this mission-oriented organization of the United Methodist Church. She attended national United Methodist Women Assemblies in Philadelphia, Louisville, and Boston. Theddress also held the distinction of being the first African American District UMW president in the Southeast District, serving for two terms. She also taught a small group bible study in her home for many years. Her favorite hymn was "My Faith Looks up to Thee."
Theddress also was a faithful member and Past Worthy Matron of Vashti Chapter #100, Second District, Order of Eastern Star, Jurisdiction of Pennsylvania, Deborah Grand Chapter, Prince Hall Affiliated.
She also was a volunteer with Retired Seniors of Delaware County, delivering Meals on Wheels, and Thresholds of Delaware County counseling prison inmates.
She loved to travel and especially enjoyed her trips to Denmark, Portugal, and the Ivory Coast. She also enjoyed cooking, baking, gardening, and entertaining friends and family in her home. She hosted the family Christmas dinner for almost 20 years. Theddress had a zest for life and stayed very active up to age 90.
Theddress' loving husband, Noah L. Thorpe, her parents, Verna and Lee Beulah, sisters Effidel Dickerson, and Joyce Morgan, daughters Marlene Griffith and Geneva Butler preceded her in death.
She leaves to cherish treasured memories: two daughters, Frances Gaines-Whittington and Michelle Dorsey; four sons Daniel H. Bungy, (Lennie), Michael Pratt, (LaVenia), Dr. Noah H. Thorpe (Beverly) and Dewitt M. Thorpe; a sister, Betty Ann Moat; fifteen grandchildren, her St. Daniels Family, and a host of other relatives and friends.