Velma Bodee McDonough
April 4, 1930 – April 8, 2019
Velma Bodee McDonough, A Creative Soul Who Loved the LORD dies at 89, Williamsburg, VA Velma Irene Bodee McDonough, 89, passed away April 8, 2019, surrounded by her family. Born in Decatur, Illinois to Irving Bodenheimer, a photographer and retail salesman and Bernita McKinley Bodee, a Vaudeville singer and dancer in the roaring twenties on the Pantages Circuit, US. Her namesake, Aunt Velma McKinley, continued with McKinley Dance Studio featuring young Velma’s dance debut at age three. “Totsie” (her family nickname) and her predeceased brother, Robert Ian Bodee, and cousins, Millicent, Serge, and Manon entertained returning troops with the USO in Miami, Florida in 1945. Mrs. McDonough earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Barry College, Miami, FL, a Masters in Religious Education from Fordham University and a Masters in Social Work from Adelphi University, NY at the age of sixty. She was loved by her six children: Mary Jo (predeceased) (Michael), Margie (Joe), Stephen, Richard (Robin), Theresa (Todd) and Norah (David). She had thirteen beloved grandchildren: Jennifer (David), Rachel (Jere), Richard, Christopher (Alexis), Emilie, Heidi (Jon), Benny, Drew, Nora, Aidan, Tyler, Jonathan and Maggie, and great grandchildren: Noah, Derek, Meredith, Abigail, John and Kevin. Velma also leaves behind beloved sister-in-law, Louise Bodee and her children, Bobby, (predeceased) Anne, Lisa and Ray. Her beloved friends are many but especially Pat, Al, Margie and her church family across the Body of Christ. Velma started reading at the age of three, launching her love for books that lasted a lifetime. Her personal library contained over 300 books catalogued via Dewey Decimal system! Velma loved to read murder mysteries and the Bible. Her intelligence prompted skipping both fourth and sixth grades, so that she graduated high school at age sixteen. Velma loved to write and authored a self-published book, Mary Remembers, reflections on the life of Jesus through a mother’s perspective. Vel’s love for dance, inspired by “The McKinley Sisters,” brought her to New York City to The School of American Ballet where she studied dance. She lived in Patchogue, NY with her “Auntie Maggie” McKinley Howell where she met her husband, Stephen McDonough at a CYO Dance. Velma produced and directed numerous arts/dance programs in Patchogue prior to raising their children in Massapequa Park, NY. Velma’s earliest memory as a preschooler was in the Catholic Church where she encountered the presence of Jesus in her life. This experience would carry throughout her days, and into her work in the Rockville Centre, NY, Diocese where she retired after twenty years of service as a Director of Religious Education. “Mrs. Mac” served at both St. Rose of Lima, Massapequa, and Cure of Ars in Merrick, NY. Mom’s favorite contribution was her work with high school students with the introduction of Antioch retreats to help young people encounter Jesus. Velma’s creativity included proficiency in the following crafts: needlepoint, cross-stich, knitting, crocheting, sewing clothes, costumes, upholstery, curtains and drapes, and hooking rugs. She was unafraid to try any craft and was gifted in all she did. Velma loved helping people. Velma volunteered at Letisha House, a local Williamsburg safe house for abused women and became the house “grandma” to encourage the residents on their journey to wholeness. Velma has lived all over the eastern United States: Illinois, New Jersey, Florida, New York, Delaware, and now Virginia and was always willing to embrace a challenge, pioneer a new territory. She was an intelligent, gifted woman with a creative soul and a heart for the LORD. Near the end of her life, she longed to “be with her Jesus.” Her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, “rise up and call her blessed” as one who “loved the LORD with all her heart, soul, mind and strength.” We are sure she is on the dance team in heaven! Velma’s family will receive guests for visitation and celebration at the following times: • Saturday, April 13, 2019 at the Nelsen Funeral Home, 3785 Strawberry Plains Road, Williamsburg, VA, 5-7pm • Sunday, April 14, 2019: Memorial Celebration Service at James River Baptist Church, 4931 Centerville Road, Williamsburg, VA 3pm. • In lieu of flowers, donations will be received for the Latisha’s House Foundation, PO Box 5817, Williamsburg, VA 23188.
- Gathering of Family & Friends Saturday, April 13, 2019
- Memorial Celebration Service Sunday, April 14, 2019
Velma Bodee McDonough
Jim & Sharon Hudson
April 13, 2019
Rich, Robin and family,
Our sincere sympathies for your loss. Reading her obituary tells us she was quite a woman and a big loss beyond your family. May God bless you all during this difficult time.
Love in Christ,
Jim & Sharon Hudson