During recent renovations, some cassette tapes were unearthed. Long forgotten, these tapes held memories of the church's history.
The 150th Anniversary Event
One cassette tape was simply marked "November 16th, Year ? -- Many members speaking." It appears to be a recording of an assembly to launch the History Committee. This committee was tasked with collecting and writing OPC's history for the then up coming 150th Anniversary.
OPC's 150th Anniversary was in 1995. So this kick-off event was probably held on November 16th, 1994. The congregation was invited to share stories of the church. And it appears that some of the older members were specifically asked to speak at the event.
The sound quality is uneven, despite a digital remastering. But the audio is clear enough to understand what's being said.
This was recorded on cassette tape, so the audio start and stop abruptly. There could be a second cassette tape that recorded the end of the event. But it hasn't been found (if it exists at all).
Side One - Atwell Somerville
Atwell Somerville was the church's self-appointed historian. As you can hear, he thoroughly researched the church's history, and knows it well. He's speaking without notes. Atwell relates the origins and history of the church from the 1700s through the end of the Civil War.
Side Two - Congregation Memories
Jean Berkman serves as MC for the assembly. Below is a list of the members who spoke and where they appear in the recording.
0:00 Louise Lord shares her story growing up in the church. Her parents joined in 1922, and Louise joined at age 12. Her great, great, grandfather was a Presbyterian missionary from Scotland who baptized Andrew Jackson.
7:32 Jean Berkman reads a letter from Jackie Maddex. She related life in the church during the Second World War.
9:07 Emma Francis Bartley relates her time in the church. Her family moved to Orange and joined OPC in 1921. She tells the story of the cattle sales at the Virginia Tech Reserch Center. The Women of the Church sold food and refreshments at the sales, held five times a year. The money helped pay off the church's mortgage.
12:51 Dan Sale talks about how the church expanded from the corner, replacing three homes over several decades.
14:48 Jean Berkman reads excerpts from a letter written by Jack Maddox. He relates how the church was run in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
17:15 Russell Bailey talks about his experience at OPC. He joined the church in 1945. He talks about Rev. Dick Taylor. Bailey was an architect, and so was Rev. Taylor before turning to ministry.
20:31 Betty Bailey tells the story of how the church embraced their special needs child, and helped her become a member in the 1950s.
22:33 Richard Sanford reads excerpts from his mother's recollection of the church. The tape runs out before he can get to the substance of the letter.
In the church narthex is a small tin communion plate. It sits next to the 1938 youth group song book. Both were recently rediscovered, tucked away among the church's archives.
The book was easy to research. But this communion plate remains something of a mystery.
It was a mass-produced item. The floral designs were stamped into the metal, and the lip was machine-rolled.
In the middle is an inscription, which could possibly have been hand-stamped.
It's seen some hard use. The rim is dented, and the patina suggests frequent handling.
This little communion plate is a part of OPC's history. Albeit it's one with more questions than answers.
Was this a presentation piece to (or from) the Sunday School? Was the plate used for communion at Youth Group gatherings or just for Sunday School events? Was it ever used in regular Sunday worship?
We can only speculate. But it's good to have this tactile piece of history available once again.
If you have an opportunity, pick up the plate. And imagine all the hands that held it before you.
Youth and adults from over a century ago used this humble tin plate to pass the bread. They said the same words and did the same actions we do today in worship for communion.
This plate is not just a historic curiosity. It's a reminder of the continuity of this church's faith over the past 175+ years.
In our narthex is a little piece of history. It’s a copy of “Junior Living and Songs.” OPC's youth groups sang from this 1938 songbook right before the Second World War. The book is well-used, and it’s a cultural artifact.
The Presbyterian Committee of Publication
The book’s original copyright is 1927 by the Presbyterian Committee of Publication. This organization started in 1862, after the start of the Civil War.
The Presbyterian Church of the United States of America (PCUSA) split over the issue of slavery. Southern Presbyterians established a separate denomination. It was the Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States of America (PCCSA).
The PCCSA was virtually identical to the PCUSA. But they had to build new support organizations. One such was the Presbyterian Committee of Publication, established in Richmond, Virginia. This was the publishing arm of the PCCSA.
After the war, PCCSA renamed itself the Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS). It remained separate from the PCUSA. The Committee on Publication printed a variety of materials.
Sunday School periodicals, instruction materials, books, hymnals, and songbooks poured out of Richmond. “Junior Living and Songs” was one such publication.
The Assembly Training School
In 1914, the PCUS established the General Assembly’s Training School for Lay Workers (ATS). The original location was at No. 6-8, North Sixth Street in Richmond. The school trained men and women entering the field of Christian education. It included departments on the English Bible, Christian Doctrine, Missions and Church History, and Christian Sociology.
Future youth leaders could study Sunday School Pedagogy and Young People’s Work, Physical Education, and Music. For those wanting to serve in the community, there were departments of Elementary Medicine and Hygiene, and Domestic Science and Arts.
ATS became the Presbyterian School for Christian Education in 1959. PCUS reunited with PCUSA in 1983. And in 1997 the school became part of Union Presbyterian Seminary.
Elizabeth McE. Shields
Elizabeth McEwen Shields. edited “Junior Living and Songs." She was the Lecturer on Sunday School Pedagogy at ATL. Shields also served on the Presbyterian Board of Christian Education. She was the Director of Children’s Work.
Shields joined the faculty when the school was established. And remained there until her retirement in 1950.Besides her work ATL she was also a hymn-writer. Shields is credited with over 35 hymns for children.
Shields had a clear idea of what a collection of songs for youth should be. In the preface, she lists her criteria for selecting the songs:
Are the words good: have they literary value?
Have the words spiritual value?
Can Junior boys and girls mean the words?
Is the music good?
Do the words suit the music?
Will Junior boys and girls like this song?
Shields was aware that most of the PCUS churches weren’t in big cities such as Richmond. They were scattered throughout the rural South, with small congregations and limited budgets.
In the preface, she wrote that this book responded to small churches’ requests. They had asked to "give us one book that will contain enough songs for use in the various Church School sessions -- Sunday, week-day, and vacation sessions and Junior societies."
From PCCSA, through ATS, to PCUS
The copy in our narthex looks well-used. I think Professor Shields would be pleased. Next time you come to church, take a moment to leaf through its pages. And hold a piece of history in your hands.
- Ralph Graves
In 2020, Wilson, Frank, and Anne Somerville had the pulpit chairs at OPC refurbished as a gift to the church. The results are beautiful. Many thanks to this family for their contribution.
These chairs have a long history with OPC.
February 13th, 1910, the Session minutes of the Orange Presbyterian Church read as follows:
“Object of this meeting was the consideration of an offer of $1200.00 for the church building by Bishop Gibson of the Episcopal Church; with the following reservations, viz. the pulpit, the pulpit (or Rostrum) chairs, the hymn board, the hymn book racks. A motion was made, seconded and unanimously adopted that gave the Trustees power to accept the definite offer of $1200 for the property and authorizing them to do so.”
We can assume these pulpit chairs were in the first church we built in 1845 on Byrd Street. They were brought to our new church on the corner of Caroline and Main Streets in 1910. The chairs now reside in our present Sanctuary, built in 1971.
We are so very grateful for this gift.
- Jennie Hill Robinson
To the Orange Presbyterian Church congregation -
In 2017, May Saxton decided to put together a History Committee to prepare for Orange Presbyterian Church’s 175th Anniversary that would be on November 8, 2020. It was a wonderful group that came together: May and Mike Saxton, Lulu Sherman, Winnie Higgins, Carol Couch, Anne Somerville, and myself, Jennie Hill Robinson.
We spent two years gathering historical documents including photos, recording what historical documents we had, making plans for the anniversary and putting together a guest list for the big day.
May Saxton kept us organized, focused and on schedule. Then the Coronavirus arrived in 2020 and all came to a halt. OPC shut her doors and all the committees adjusted with meeting by Zoom. With sadness we decided in August to cancel the plans for a celebration in November.
Winnie Higgins and Carol Couch had been working on selecting highlights of interest from the Session minutes and were reporting them in the monthly newsletter. Covid-19 prevented them from meeting anymore. There was talk of writing something each week about OPC history as a way to celebrate and I agreed to do it. I also kept up with sharing Session minutes highlights once a month in the Newsletter.
It has been a quite an adventure. I started from the beginning, 1854, and quickly was enthralled, even though the handwriting of the Session minutes was difficult to read. I read Deacon minutes, Men of the Church minutes and Women’s Auxiliary minutes. I was reading about my great grandmother, my grandmother, my great aunt and my cousin Lelia Sanford. I learned things I did not know about them…but was not surprised by what I learned. These women were just a few of the saints of this church. In 1911, we were moving in to our new church on the corner of Main and Caroline.
In 1968 we were hiring architects to design a new church and it was dedicated in 1971.
The body of the church has been rich with families. The membership made up of doctors, lawyers, teachers, farmers, pharmacists, bankers, architects, businessmen and their spouses and children. Some families becoming 3 and 4 generations strong. They have been dedicated, involved, inspiring, and leaders. The young people formed youth groups and benefited and grew from the activities selected by the adults involved.
I joined the FB page, “You are from Orange if you remember…” to see if I could learn more about our church and ended up connecting with one of Rev. Dick Taylor’s daughters, Martha and son, George. There have been other connections made while researching and I am grateful.
I am moved by what I have learned about our congregation and have enjoyed my opportunities to share with all of you. As I write this, I am reminded that today is our 176th Anniversary. I am honored to have been a part of this past year and hope you have enjoyed what I chose to do to celebrate.
I go back to what Robert Jones said in 1995 during our 150th anniversary…I think he said it best: “… it is a vital part of the Orange Presbyterian Church to remind ourselves of the saints of this congregation. And to thankfully celebrate their lives and their example, by bringing up the memories of the part they have played in the continuity of who we are and who we strive to be.”
Happy 176th Anniversary,
November 8, 2021
Jennie Hill Robinson
West Virginia to Virginia via Germany
Alan and Ophelia (Fedie) McClung grew up in West Virginia. Alan was a member of the Special Forces of the U.S. Army. After their marriage, the couple moved to Bavaria, Germany. When they returned, they moved to Charlottesville. Alan earned a Master’s Degree in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia.
In 1973, Alan and Fedie moved to Orange. They joined the Orange Presbyterian Church with their three children; Chad, Jill, and Amy. At that time, Alan was the Coordinator of Special Education for Culpeper County.
Service in the church
Alan joined our choir. He was reared as a Presbyterian and had sung in various church choirs. He was selected to the Board of Deacons in 1974 and became Chairman of the Deacons in 1976. In 1985, Alan joined the Session.
In 1974, their son, Chad, was vice-president of the Young People’s Fellowship (YPF) Senior Highs. Jill was secretary and Amy was secretary of the Junior Highs.
The CROPS Hunger Walks
Alan participated in the Hunger Walk in Orange on October 24, 1974. It was a project of the Community Hunger Appeal of Church World Service (CROP).
Alan was the Adult Arrangements Chairman for the project. Jill was the Youth General Chairman, and called the walk a “great success." More than 90 people completed the 20-mile walking route thru rural Orange County.
There was another “Hunger Walk” in 1975. Jill, as the Youth Chairman, said the event was an even greater success than the previous year’s. Alan led the group with Fred Floyd, Adult Chairman, and Rev. William Peters of OPC. The event raised about $4000.
Jill’s mother Fedie, her sister Amy, and her brother Chad, also participated in the Hunger Walks.
The walks were directed by the YPF of OPC, along with St. Thomas Episcopal Church and other denominations in the county.
Fedie McClung is a nurse. She assisted in operating rooms, working at Martha Jefferson Hospital for years. She also taught certified nursing assistants and medical office assistants at Piedmont Tech in Culpeper County. Fedie did this day and night for 16 years.
She led the Senior High class at OPC with Anne Somerville in 1981. They explored the area of goals, choices, problems, and expectations. She led the Senior High class with Sharon Callahan in 1982.
She volunteered in the nursery with Thelma Sanford. It was quoted that, “the credit for a strong and growing nursery must go primarily to them.” Later, Fedie volunteered in the cradle nursery.
Fedie was elected to be an Elder in 1994. She sang in the choir, alongside Amy, for many years. They both volunteered many times at the Red Cross Blood Drive held at OPC’s Fellowship Hall. They were both active members of the Women of the Church. Amy also served as an Elder.
In 2003, Fedie McClung took a mission trip to Mexico on the Baja Peninsula. Her trip was to work with Operation Blessing, providing medical care to many who could net afford it. She assisted, working alongside surgeons providing cataract surgeries.
Fedie also traveled to Africa and Malawi for mission work at orphanages. She did all this wonderful work was after she had retired.
The McLung Legacy
Alan McClung sadly passed away in 2000. Chad and Jill moved away. Amy lives in Orange. Amy and Fedie continued to dedicate their time and support to OPC in many roles. It is wonderful how many ways this family contributed to Orange Presbyterian Church.
- Jennie Hill Robinson
OPC History Team
In the spring of 1968, Shirley Newman was received into Orange Presbyterian Church. She was the wife of William Newman. The couple had two children, Sharon, and Michael Callahan. Shirley worked in the UVA Hospital Pediatric Department, and had to commute to Charlottesville daily.
Shirley started teaching the 4-5-year-olds in our church school in 1972. She didn't just use the material provided by the church. She also drew from her own knowledge and imagination.
Shirley continued to participate in the church school, teaching Kindergarten through 5th grade. She taught a summer class with her daughter, Sharon, in 1980.
Shirley also became involved with the Women of the Church. She coordinated a Christmas program in 1980. The Men of the Church served breakfast at the event.
There was a puppet show by one of the classes, and a horn duet by two church members. The audience enjoyed carol singing, and a Christmas skit by another class. The Senior Highs sang the Twelve Days of Christmas.
A free-will offering was collected. The proceeds were split between CROP (Christian Rural Overseas Program to end hunger) and the Christian Emergency Council (CEC).
In 1980, OPC organized Sessional Committees. Shirley was a member of Congregational Life. Their mission was to lift up the congregation and encourage fellowship through monthly social activities. Shirley served on the Session for many years.
Mission and Outreach
She was a member of the Mission and Outreach Committee and headed it up for some time. Shirley put her spin on the Christmas Bazaar and took it to new heights.
The money taken in was divided among different organizations. Habitat for Humanity, the CEC, Presbyterian Disaster Relief, and sometimes the Orange Presbyterian Weekday School Scholarship received funds.
In 2016, a handful of members formed the Memorial Garden Committee, eager to start such a garden. Shirley was a gentle guiding light as we worked to merge everyone’s ideas. We declared the garden “ A place to remember those in God’s care.”
Like mother, like daughter
Sharon Elizabeth Callahan joined OPC in 1973. Her brother, Michael Rodney Callahan joined OPC in 1977. Michael, would later become a member of the Christian Education Committee.
Sharon attended the Synod of Virginias Youth Missions Convention in 1978. There was worship time, bible study, visits with missionaries, and group singing.
Sharon has followed in her mother’s footsteps. She taught the Senior High church class in 1982. The next year she led a small group and art workshop at Hanover Presbytery’s Spring Fling.
Serving the church
Sharon was selected as a Deacon in 1983 and served on the Finance committee. She was Chairman of one of the Women of the Church Night Circles in 1984.
Sharon served on the Pastor nominating Committee. Like her mother, Sharon continued to teach the 3-4-year-olds in church school. She also worked with the Young People's Fellowship.
Sharon also helped coordinate the CROP walks. She is presently President of the Orange Presbyterian Weekday School.
Pretty sure I am missing something to share with you, but you get the point. We are thankful this family are members of our church.
- Jennie Hill Robinson
OPC History Team
In the beginning
It all started in 1970 -- the Youth Club of Orange Presbyterian Church. It met every Wednesday afternoon at the church. And it gave young people (grades 3 through 9) some practical lessons in Christian living.
The weekly schedule included 50 minutes of Bible Study. Then came 50 minutes of supervised activities (sewing, knitting, woodworking, art, guitar). Dinner was served, with an elder or deacon presiding at each table. Recreation followed, and then Junior Choir practice.
In 1972, there were 40 children enrolled in the Club. Each Wednesday the enthusiasm of the children was heartwarming.
The Youth Club started in September and continued through April. Hours were from 4 until 7:30 pm for grades 3 through 8. There was a special class on theology for the 9th graders. The pastor taught this class immediately following supper hour.
Young People's Fellowship
The Junior and Senior High Fellowships were collectively known as the YPF (Young People's Fellowship). They met each Sunday evening at 6:15. The YPF was a combined venture of the St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church and Orange Presbyterian Church.
The Juniors studied the Gospel of Luke. And they discussed personal problems with their advisors. The Seniors met with Fred and Lulu Sherman. A “Coffee House” was opened, thanks to a large number of adults from several churches and the Junior Women’s Club. It was in the old Library Building next door to OPC.
The Juniors and Seniors took a trip to Ford’s Theater in Washington, DC. They participated in the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service. Thanks to the local library, the YPF enjoyed “film fun” time.
The YPF went to movies in Charlottesville. The Senior Youth Group had a Halloween Party for the children of the church.
There were bake sales, visits to the nursing home, and the youth hired themselves out to do yard work. They prepared Thanksgiving baskets for needy families and went on camping trips. There were trips to retreats at Massanetta.
There were hunger walks. These raised money to fight hunger. The first one was 20 miles. Walkers were recruited from more than a dozen churches and several high school and community organizations. About this time, Lynn Clements was President/Advisor of the Senior Youth Group.
In 1976, the Senior YPF engaged in a CROP (Christian Rural Overseas Program) Hunger Fast. Sponsors pledged money for each hour they went without eating. Proceeds went to CROP to alleviate hunger in the world. March 28th, 1982, there was another CROP walk. This time the distance was shortened to 5 miles.
The group delivered 20 Christmas baskets full of fruit, nuts, cake, and candy to elderly and shut-in families on Christmas Eve.
Active in the 1980s
The YPF hosted the Hanover Presbyterian Youth Council in January for two days. Four members attended the Synod Youth Mission Convention at Massanetta in March.
In 1982, the YPF and friends enjoyed skiing on the slopes at Bryce Ski Resort. There was a gathering on Super Bowl Sunday with pizza and friendly wagers.
Sharon Callahan (Mohrmann) was appointed youth delegate to the General Assembly meeting in Columbus, GA. Several members, accompanied by Lynn Clements, attended the Senor High Fall Convention at Camp Hoover.
1983 was the year of a “Lock-In” at the Mechanicsville Presbyterian Church. There were games, music, and dancing. Also, ping pong and two movies. The next morning, everyone traveled home after doughnuts and a short church service.
Contributing to the life of the church
Without the generous gifts of time and talent from many volunteers, this kind of program could not have functioned. In the beginning, Elaine Gardner was the faithful director and administrator. Many wonderful people were involved at one time or another with the children and young people.
“It was a tremendous opportunity for our Church youngsters to be nurtured in the better ways of life.”
- Presbyterian Punch
- Jennie Hill Robinson
OPC History Team
Orange County native
Thomas Newton Sparks was born in Orange, where his grandfather opened Spark’s Grocery. Newton went to Orange High School and attended VPI for two years.
He interrupted his schooling to serve in the Second World War. Newton became a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Armed Forces. He was a B-17 pilot and then a pilot instructor in the Army Air Corps.
A life in Orange
Newton met his future wife Emily Garnett in the 4th grade. She was born at Riverside, her family home near Locust Dale. They were married in the Orange Presbyterian Church in 1943. The couple returned to VPI, where Newton received a BS degree in Business. After graduation, they moved back to Orange. Newton joined Fray Insurance Agency and became co-owner.
Newton was very active in the community. He was Secretary of Orange County Electoral Board. He served on the Town Board of Zoning Appeals and the Orange Planning Commission. He was a Jaycee, as well as a charter member and past captain of the Rescue Squad. Newton was a Scout Master of Orange Troop 14, a member of the Orange Rotary Club and the American Legion Post 156.
Newton's service to OPC
Mary Emily Garnett joined OPC in March of 1934, along with her brother Seldon and sisters Susan, Frances, and twin, Nettie Lee. Newton was raised a Baptist, but he joined Emily as a member of Orange Presbyterian Church.
Newton actively served the church in many capacities. He taught Junior Boys for six years. He sponsored the Youth Fellowship with Emily. Newton was a Deacon and an Elder and also served on Presbytery Committees.
“Newton’s warmth and his sincere commitment are assets to our Session’s work.”
- Presbyterian Punch 1976
Newton was also deeply involved with the Men of the Church. He was in charge of the kitchen when they met for breakfasts, cooking for many many years. (Rumor has it he allowed no one to wash his seasoned skillet!)
Emily's service to OPC
Emily was also an active member of Orange Presbyterian Church all her adult life. She served with the Women of the Church (WOC) as, her mother, Nettie Mann Garnett did. Emily headed up the WOC’s Service Project for many years.
Fund-raisers included flea markets, parking lot sales, and mini-bazaars. The women offered services such as baking, transportation, sewing, and more. They sold notecards printed with a sketch of the new Sanctuary. The proceeds helped defray the principal of the Church’s building fund.
She was a member of the Night Circle of the WOC and served, at times, as chairman. Emily was one of the editors of the Presbyterian Punch for years. Emily was sometimes the kitchen chairman when the WOC held potluck supper meetings.
A life together
When they were not serving others, Newton and Emily enjoyed evenings with their friends. Lots of times they played bridge. Emily loved to knit and work crossword puzzles and jigsaw puzzles. Newton loved to fish. They religiously kept their tradition of family vacations at Nags Head every summer.
Newton Sparks passed away in 2002 and Emily Sparks passed away in 2003. Their son, Thomas Newton Sparks, Jr., passed away in 2021. They are survived by Thomas’ wife, Barbara; son Philip and wife, Julie; daughter Ann Garnett and husband, Chris Freed; and son Edward and wife Lisa. At the time of their death, they had nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Newton and Emily served our church for many years. Over that time they participated in many charitable and civic activities in Orange. We are grateful also for their friendship.
- Jennie Hill Robinson
OPC History Team
Son of Orange County
Richard Lewis Sanford was born in 1920 at Woodley Farm near Orange, Va. He was the son of Harry Estil Sanford and Mary Lewis Sanford. Richard and his eleven siblings were the third generation to live at Woodley Farm.
Dick Sanford graduated from Orange County High School in 1939. He attended Virginia Polytechnic Institute and graduated with an agronomy degree in 1943.
He joined the United States Army Air Force and served in World War II from 1943 until 1946. Dick was an aerial flight engineer in the 9th Air Force in the European Theater. His unit received the Presidential Unit Citation with Oak Leaf Cluster. Dick was also twice awarded the Air Medal and three Campaign Stars.
Service to Waddell Memorial
After the war, Richard joined the U.S.D.A. Soil Conservation Service in Culpeper and Rappahannock Counties. At the time he lived in Rapidan. Dick served as Sunday School Superintendent at Waddell Memorial Presbyterian Church. He was also a Deacon and an Elder in the church.
Dick met Thelma Bates at a Pot & Kettle Club dance in Culpeper in 1947. Thelma was teaching High School English in Madison County. They married 18 months later. The couple had two children, Stephen Richard and Cynthia Gayle.
Dick's service to OPC
In 1955, Dick and Thelma transferred their membership to Orange Presbyterian Church. Dick served OPC as he had Wadell. He was an Elder, Deacon, and Sunday School Superintendant. He also served as Clerk of the Session and a Trustee.
Dick was also on the planning council for building the new sanctuary. He taught Adult Sunday School class from time to time and was active as president of the Men of the Church.
“Mr. Sanford’s steadiness and his concern for people’s feelings make him a faithful member of the session.”
- Presbyterian Punch 1976
Service to Orange
For forty years, Dick was the estate manager of Grelen Farms in Orange County. As such, he and was recognized as an agricultural leader. Dick served on many local organizations, including the Orange County Nursing Home board.
“On August 22, 1982, the Sacrament of Baptism was administered to Richard Hill Sanford, infant son of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Richard Sanford. Among those attending were Mrs. Mary Lewis Sanford, young Richard’s great-grandmother and former member of this Church; Richard Lewis Sanford, Richard’s grandfather and current member of the Session, baptized in this Church June 12, 1921; Richard’s father, Stephen Richard Sanford, baptized in this Church July 25, 1963. Also attending was Samuel Ross Sanford, baptized in this Church July 25, 1926 and currently Ruling Elder in the Presbyterian Church of Fredericksburg and representing that congregation of which Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Sanford are members.”
-Emma H. Bartley, Historian
A life in education
Thelma Sanford graduated from public schools in Madison County. She returned there for her teaching career, spanning 28 years. In 1947, she received a degree in English and Science from Mary Washington College. Thelma later obtained a Masters Degree in educational counseling from the University of Virginia.
Thelma was a teacher and guidance counselor at Orange County High School for 18 years. She also was Curriculum Coordinator and Guidance Counselor at what was then known as Piedmont Technical Education Center in Culpeper County.
Thelma was a member of the Orange County Historical Society, the James Madison Museum, and the Friends of Montpelier.
Thelma's service to OPC
She was a member of the Orange Presbyterian Church for 60 years. Thelma faithfully participated in and supported the work of the church in many ways. She served as an Elder and was the church historian for five years. She was active in the Women of the Church and for a time, served as Secretary.
Thelma Pearl Bates Sanford passed away in 2014 and Richard Lewis Sanford passed away in 2016. They are survived by a son, Stephen Sanford and his wife, Norma of Orange; a daughter, Cynthia Webster and her husband, Thomas of Roanoke; six grandchildren, and six great grandchildren.
Orange Presbyterian Church has been blessed by the many generations of this Sanford family and their Christian principles.
- Jennie Hill Robinson
OPC History Team