On Tuesday, September 20, 2022 at 8:17 p.m. Thelma Irene Dellinger Matthews (“Mayme”) joined all those who went before her, escorted by her angels, and held in the pure light of Love itself. Mayme died as she lived–with love, courage, and grace.
Born in High Point, NC to Ernest and Ethel Dellinger in 1926 and joined by one beloved sister, Rolene Ward, four years later (Sistah), Mayme was a spirited, joyful child who loved riding bikes, playing baseball and violin, and helping her family. As she said to her children shortly before her death, “I was born to help you, help you, help you.” Educated as a Registered Nurse during the Second World War, Mayme always said, “I’m trained to know what you need before you know what you need.” Thus, her entire life was one of constant service and kindness to all she met and to her family: her husband John Marlyn Matthews, Sr., who preceded her in death in 1997, her two children (John Marlyn Matthews Jr. and wife Joyce and Jeanne Matthews Sommer and her love Rudi Sommer) along with her two granddaughters (Emilia Sommer and Hannah Sommer), her cousin (Juanita Yarborough) and others too numerous to name.
Mrs. Matthews loved. She loved people, animals, plants, little children, the beach, and birds. She taught a parakeet she mothered to the age of 13 a 27-line vocabulary, including phrases such as “Jesus loves me” and “wub your little fedders,” all that sounded just like her. If you were to meet her, you would walk away feeling great about yourself. She would tell you how beautiful you are, how smart, every good thing. Her initials before marriage were TID which, in nursing, means “three times a day,” and Mayme was indeed the prescription for any kind of sadness, loneliness or self-doubt. She forgave. She noticed and did not like it when people did the wrong thing, but she held no lasting ill will in her heart. She survived and thrived: diphtheria when she was age two, four types of cancer, Covid, a broken hip, and the loss of so many she loved. She died freely, eyes open, holding her daughter’s hand, seeing the angels all around her ushering her home in order that she might meld into the loving light of God whose pureness met its near equal in her. All the other things she did: living in Venezuela in the 1950’s and caring for a little boy, Jose; graduating from the High Point Memorial Hospital Army Cadet Corp; working at Children’s Hospital and as a private duty nurse in Philadelphia; being one of the first women to have a real estate license in NC; being the wife of John Matthews, Sr.; caring, at any given moment, for 100 families who lived at her apartment complex (Johnsborough Court in Winston-Salem) are all indicative of her strength of character and brilliance. She is–for those who survive her–first and foremost a teacher of what it means to live a kind and merciful life.
All that could be said to Mayme in the end was “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” Thelma wanted the name “Mayme” after she read the inspiring obituary of a woman she had never met. Then years later, her first grandchild--barely able to speak and with no prompting from her family--named her just that. May her memory be a blessing to us all. In September 2022, two powerful and beautiful Queens, both 96 years old, left their bodily forms, and this Queen, Thelma “Mayme” Matthews, remains in our hearts and beyond. Mayme: “Thank you, thank you.”
The family wishes to thank Vienna Village Assisted Living (Anne Lowe, Cheri Malek, Heather and Chris Parker, Cookey Edelman, and ALL the sweet and efficient staff) who gave her exceptional care for two and a half years. They give thanks also to Trellis Supportive Care (Lindsey Barker, Chaplain Santiago Reales, and Javaun Patterson) for their excellent management of her last six months.
A private graveside ceremony will be held by the family at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family wishes all memorials would be made to Trellis Supportive Care, 101 Hospice Lane, Winston-Salem, NC 27103.
Online condolences may be made at www.hayworth-miller.com
Trellis Supportive Care
101 Hospice Ln, Winston-Salem NC 27103