David BroylesCivitas News Service
January 21, 2013
Valma Shepherd Sturgill looked forward to family reunions. They were a joy to her as she anticipated reuniting with relatives whom she had not seen for some time. On Saturday, January 18, 2013 she departed this life for her greatest family reunion
Valma was born in Surry County in 1920 to Joseph Hardin and Mary Caroline Stonestreet. She grew up on a farm in State Road, NC with her six brothers and five sisters. At home, she learned the skills necessary to live during that time; cooking, preserving, sewing and gardening to name a few. She attended Mountain Park Schools and while there, she played basketball for the school team. After school, she continued her education by reading and taking classes. She married Wilburn Shepherd in 1942 and reared four children. She and Wilburn were longtime residents of Elkin.
Her fondest memories were seeing her children for the first time, watching them grow up and seeing them enjoy their school days. She also loved summer vacations, seeing us taking part in Girl and Boy Scouts (especially Jim when he was at Raven Knob), our dates, cheerleading, participating in sports, going to proms, getting married and having children and grandchildren. She smiled through most of it, being a “burr” under our saddle when we needed it, and always encouraging us to behave properly and to “remember who we are”. Her grandson, Wil, once said that his “Grandmother manners” had been a great help to him throughout his life. And so it is for us all.
In 1977 Valma lost her husband, the love of her life. She found courage and went on, fell in love and married Steve Sturgill in 1983. She and Steve merged families and created more happy memories with many family events and their travels to places they had always dreamed of going. In 1995, Valma lost her daughter, Martha Anne Shepherd Lusk, to breast cancer. She managed to get through that and she and Steve had twenty-one wonderful years together living part of the time in Elkin and part of the time in Ashe County. After Steve died, she had quite a few years of life by herself during which she lost a step-son, Steve Sturgill.
She enriched her life by being a member of The Golden Friends Women’s Group, the Elkin Garden Club, Jonathan Hunt Chapter of DAR, the Elkin Women’s Club and the Grassy Creek Homemakers Club. She also was a Brownie and Girl Scout leader for many years, affecting the lives of quite a few young girls.
Surviving are her daughters Lynn Shepherd-Bolls of Elkin and Jane Shepherd Eaton (Butch) of Winston-Salem; her son, Jim Shepherd (Mary) of Elkin; a step-daughter, Pat Croson of Manassas, VA; a step-son, George Sturgill of Aldie, VA. Also surviving are her nine grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.
A visitation will be held on Saturday, January 26, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. at First Baptist Church Chapel with a memorial service following at 3:00 p.m. A private burial will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorials to honor Valma may be made to the charity of the donor’s choice or as follows: First Baptist Church General Fund, 110 Gwyn Avenue, Elkin, NC 28621; Jonathan Hunt Chapter of DAR, c/o Ann Merlo, 773 Brookwood Drive, Elkin, NC 28621; Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont, Inc., 8818 W. Market Street, Colfax, NC 27235-9419.
The family would like to thank family members, Church family and friends who visited, provided special treats, and sent flowers and cards to Valma while she was at Hugh Chatham Nursing Center. Your thoughtfulness and love will not be forgotten. We would also like to thank the staff at Hugh Chatham Nursing Center for their tender care and concern. The staff of Mountain Valley Hospice provided loving care to Valma and her family during the end stage of her life. For that, we are eternally grateful.
Online condolences may be made at www.johnson-funeral.com
Johnson Funeral Home assisted the family of Mrs. Sturgill.