Thelma C. Hecht Griffith Gibbs of New London, formerly of Hannibal, passed away peacefully at her home on Thursday, March 14, 2019.
Thelma was born to Nick and Anna Woidtke Hecht on a farm near Frankford, Mo. Her mother died when Thelma was three-years-old, and she was raised by her father and older siblings. She attended Haw Creek School in rural Frankford and graduated from Louisiana High School in 1942.
Her first job was working in the office at Stark Brothers Nursery in Louisiana, Mo. Thelma worked there for three years and resigned right before marrying Pearley Eugene Griffith.
They resided in Hannibal until his death at age 30 on Sept. 10, 1947. Thelma was also employed at one time for the International Shoe Company in Hannibal.
She married W. Ray Gibbs of New London on Nov. 24, 1949. When he was drafted into the Marine Corps, they were stationed in San Diego and later in Santa Ana, Calif. Thelma worked for Singer Sewing Center during this time.
After her husband’s discharge from the Marines in 1954, they moved back to Hannibal where Thelma went to work at Standard Printing Company while Ray owned and operated the Phillips 66 Service Station on Mark Twain Avenue. Later they owned and operated the Bargain Mart Furniture store in East Hannibal for 12 years.
After selling the Bargain Mart, Thelma went to work for Kilham’s Dress Shop in Hannibal while Ray worked for W.T. Grant in Quincy.
Later while Ray worked for Harris Chevrolet and Mark Twain Jeep Eagle, Thelma stayed home and cared for one of her sisters who raised her. Thelma and her husband lived in Hannibal for 41 years before moving to New London in 1991.
Thelma and Ray joined the Moose Lodge No. 1542 in Hannibal and Thelma was a member of “The Women of the Moose.” She and her husband were active members and Ray served as governor of the Moose for nine years. The couple enjoyed dancing every Saturday night at the Moose.
Thelma and her husband traveled throughout the United States with their close friends, Nolan and Betty Newman, the late Sam and Ruth Lomax and Nancy Walterscheid and the late Dr. Jon Walterscheid. They all went on numerous trips together, enjoyed dancing and spent lots of time at the Lake of the Ozarks.
Thelma and Ray enjoyed staying at the historic Golden Door hotel while at the lake. Their close friends, Nolan and Betty Newman, were frequent companions and enjoyed dinners out together for over 40 years. They had many memorable trips to St. Louis and attended the Grand Ole Opry performances when it was in town.
She was a member of the First Christian Church of Hannibal for many years. In recent years she had attended the First Christian Church of New London.
Her survivors include nieces, nephews and several good friends. In addition, she is survived by her cat, Smokey, who Thelma claimed was smarter than she was.
Thelma was preceded in death by both husbands. Thelma and Ray were married for 51 years. Ray passed away on Sept. 8, 2001.
Also preceding her in death were her parents; three brothers, Edward Hecht, Leo Hecht (Gladys) and Clarence Hecht; as well as four sisters, Edna Benn, Elsie Kurz (John), Rosie Strode (Edward) and Loretta Wright (Elliott). Her in-laws, Everett and Marie Gibbs, Robie and Wanda Dietle and Linda Foglesong also preceded her in death.
Visitation and funeral will be held Saturday, March 23, at the James O’Donnell Funeral Home in Hannibal.
Visitation will begin at 10 a.m. with a funeral to follow at 11 a.m. Tom Day of the New London Christian Church will officiate. Burial will be in Grand View Burial Park in Hannibal. Attendees are encouraged to wear a touch of pink in honor of Thelma’s favorite color.
Serving as pallbearers will be Robert Caleb Colbert, Jacob Roger Colbert, Roger Colbert, Tim Kurz, John Kurz and Michael Kaden.
Honorary pallbearers are Robert Dietle, Everett Dietle, Ethan Colbert, Andre Khal, Wayne Kurz, Gordon Scranton, Wayne Kaden, Larry Kaden, James Griffith, David Leake, Nolan Newman, Dean Hamilton and Brad Tonkinson.
Memorials may be made to the Northeast Missouri Humane Society in Hannibal.