Obituaries » Mary Frances Childress
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November 21, 1912 - March 5, 2019
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Mary (Frances) Pirkey Childress passed away on March 5, 2019. She was born in Staunton, Va. on November 21, 1912 to Mamie Byrd Pirkey and Charles Howard Pirkey. The family moved to Charlottesville, Va. where she grew up and graduated from Lane High School. In the depth of the Great Depression she moved to Lynchburg to attend Virginia Commercial College and graduated in 1934. After graduation Frances worked as a stenographer for United Shoe Machinery Corporation in Lynchburg. She met and married William Wesley (Wes) Childress in 1937. They settled in Bedford, and in 1941 Frances and Wes opened Childress Cash Food Market first on Bridge Street and later on West Main. They operated their business until they retired in 1972. Wes passed in 1996, and Frances continued to reside in Bedford until 2015, when at age 102, her health forced her to move to Liberty Ridge in Lynchburg, Va.
Frances is survived by her four children, Willie Byrd Childress Clarke (Harvey), William Alvin Childress (Jeanette), Kenneth Edward Childress (Donna) and Francis Timothy Childress (Cheryl). She has 8 living grandchildren and 6 greatgrandchildren. In addition to her parents her husband Wes; brother Charles and two grandchildren preceded her passing.
Frances believed in education and insisted that her children get a college degree. All four graduated from college and three earned advanced degrees. Frances was active in the Bedford Presbyterian Church for seven decades. She especially loved young children and taught pre-school Sunday school for many years. Frances enjoyed flowers and was a member of The Bedford Garden club. She played her piano daily until she was over 100 years old. She also loved animals, especially her dogs.
A memorial service will be held at The Bedford Presbyterian Church on Friday, March 8, 2019 at 11:00 am with Rev. John T. Salley officiating. A graveside service will immediately follow at The Greenwood Cemetery in Bedford. The family will receive friends on Thursday, March 7, 2019 from 6:00 until 8:00pm at Tharp Funeral Home in Bedford. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to Bedford Presbyterian Church. To send condolences online please visit tharpfuneralhome.com. Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Bedford is assisting the family.