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Shirley Connelly Koss

March 1, 1926 - January 12, 2020

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Shirley Connelly Koss, 93, died peacefully Sunday, January 12, 2020 in Greensboro, N.C. with her family close at hand.  She was born on March 1, 1926 in Gladys, Va., the youngest child of the late Russell Courtney Connelly and Maggie Thomas Connelly.  She graduated from Naruna High School as class valedictorian and received an Associate Degree from Longwood College. She was employed briefly as church secretary at First Baptist Church in Lynchburg.

After the birth of her children, her life revolved around her family and volunteer activities at First Baptist, in the schools her children attended and later with the Virginia Baptist Hospital Auxiliary.  Shirley was a devoted daughter, graciously caring for her aged mother for many years.  Whether singing and rocking a baby to sleep or delivering homemade broccoli soup to a shut-in, she epitomized the word “care-giver.” She enjoyed her canasta club, playing each month with the same eight women for almost 50 years.  She was a beautiful woman with a warm, engaging personality, a compassionate heart and a lovely sense of style.  Her love for and pride in her family knew no bounds.

Shirley was preceded in death by her husband of 56 years, George Alex Koss; two sisters, Elna Rose and Hazel Gholson; and her brother, Russell Connelly, Jr.  She is survived by one brother, James Connelly, numerous nieces and nephews and her three children: George Connelly Koss and wife, Carol, Deborah Koss McCarthy and husband, David, Penny Koss Graves and husband, Dr. John Lee Graves.

She was an amazing, hands-on grandmother “GAGA” to Courtney McCarthy Ramey (John), Alex McCarthy (Molly), Sarah and Laura Koss, and John Lee Graves, Jr. and Annalise Graves.  Two great-grandchildren, Anna Grace and Miles Ramey, added joy to her later years. “Aunt Shirley” also enjoyed a close, special relationship with her nieces and nephew.

The family would like to thank the staff of Abbotswood at Irving Park assisted living facility and of Clapps Rehabilitation Center (Greensboro) for their kind attention in recent months.  Although her heart remained in Lynchburg, Shirley was fortunate in her last years to be cared for by her daughters in North Carolina, first living with Debbie and David in Charlotte and then as her medical needs increased, enjoying Penny and John Lee’s caring oversight at Abbotswood in Greensboro.

A service will be held at First Baptist Church in Lynchburg on Sunday, January 19, 2020 at 2 p.m. with Rev. Paul Dakin officiating. Interment will be private at Fort Hill Memorial Park. Family and friends are invited to a drop-in reception at one of Shirley’s favorite places, Charley’s Restaurant, 707 Graves Mill Rd., on Saturday afternoon, January 18, 2020 from 3 to 5 p.m.

Memorial contributions may be made to First Baptist Church, 1100 Court St., Lynchburg, Va., 24504 or to the charity of your choice.

Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Lynchburg, is assisting the family.  To send condolences, please visit


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