Thelma Delois Wilson Riley, life-long resident of Florence, Alabama, age 78, died on May 20, 2021 after an extended illness. Thelma was a life-long member of Rogers Chapel United Methodist Church, where she continued to faithfully worship every Sunday despite her impaired mobility due to rheumatoid arthritis until her final illness.
Thelma most missed attending church on Sunday and visits from her extended family and friends, which were limited by her treatments and the dangers posed by the pandemic. Thelma was courageous, tough, and determined, fighting her illnesses until the very end. When asked about her ability to endure another procedure, treatment, or test, her response was always, "With God's help I can." Even as her condition worsened and her strength faded, Thelma would remind us, "God is good... all the time."
Thelma was a graduate of Rogers High School. Thelma was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and homemaker. She was an exceptional housekeeper, keeping her home and other family members' homes spotless for many years until prohibited by her illness. Thelma loved fresh flowers and, with the help of her husband, continued to have flower gardens full of beautiful blooms, which she enjoyed from her window this Spring.
Thelma was preceded in death by her Father, Beull Green Wilson, her Mother, Ruby Viola Wilson, and her sister, May Dean Gray.
Thelma is survived by her husband of 58 years, James Riley, her daughter, Tanis Riley Roberson and husband John, her grandson and the light of her life, Chase Riley and fiancé Michelle Bevis, her sisters Shirley Morgan and Dimple Watkins, her sister-in-law and special caregiver, Wanda Faye Russell, and her grand-dog Gabby. In addition to her daughter and grandson, Thelma is survived by many children for whom she provided care and loved and treated as her own, including her niece Melinda Morgan Austin and husband Jeff, and special family friends, Erick Kessler and David Kessler, as well as several other nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews.
Thelma loved well and deeply. To Thelma, love was a verb, and it showed in her actions. She never missed a birthday or special occasion for a loved one, and no call or visit ended without "I love you."
Her family and loved ones would like to thank Dr. Thomas Johnson, Dr. Robert Bailey, Jr., and their nurses and staff, as well as the dedicated doctors, nurses, and staff of the 2nd and 5th floors at NAMC, and Ann Massey and Bridgett Williams, along with all of the nurses and staff at Kindred Home Health for their compassionate and exceptional care.
Visitation will be Sunday, May 23, 2021 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Rogers Chapel United Methodist Church. The funeral will be at 2:00 p.m. The Rev. Mike Butler will be officiating. Burial will follow in the Cemetery at Rogers Chapel. Pallbearers will be nephews and great nephews, Greg Watkins, Bryan Morgan, Jeff Austin, Kevin Durham, Matt Brooks, and Brad Pierce.
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