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Time Well Spent And A Life Well Lived!
“We might not be the ones to change the world. We might not belong to the few that “put a ding in the universe.” We might not be something the whole world would celebrate. But...In the little corners that we live; in the lives that we’ve played a part in, we should be nothing but unforgettable.”
― Nesta Jojoe Erskine, Unforgettable: Living a Life That Matters
Charlene Benita Thomas Spence finished her earthly race on Saturday, November 14, 2020, at Chippenham Hospital in Richmond, Virginia. While we are saddened by Charlene’s unexpected departure, we are comforted knowing she touched each of our lives in her own unique way for over 53 years. The impact of this phenomenal woman will go on for generations yet unborn – in you – through you – beyond you – and ultimately to the very throne of God. Her goodness becomes your goodness. Her life now passed from the earth. Her essence lives on in very certain ways in you and most certainly into eternity. Rest on dear daughter, sister, wife, mother, aunt and friend.
Charlene was the second child and first daughter born to the late Lawrence Randolph Thomas Sr. and Julie Mae Hill Thomas on October 12, 1967 at Greensville Memorial Hospital. There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots. The other is wings. Charlene grew up in the Skippers Community of Greensville County and attended Greensville County Schools where she maintained honor roll throughout most of her primary and secondary educational experiences. Charlene attended Hampton University (HU) and achieved her Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting. She proudly earned her honor cords after maintaining “High Honor” for her exceptional GPA while attending Hampton University. The Career Counseling and Planning Center at HU provided services to Charlene based on her achievements at college that assisted her with securing her first job immediately after graduation with Marathon Petroleum Corporation in Findlay, OH. Our daughter and sister realized her dreams, set out to achieve her potential and began to fulfill her purpose by spreading her wings in the summer of 1990.
Charlene loved working in the finance department and often would say “I feel that I am working with professionals that I can learn from and they will push me to take on new and challenging opportunities. I am treated with respect, given daily encouragement, and paid well. I feel respected and valued for what I bring to the job.” Charlene left Marathon Oil in 1992 and returned to Virginia to be near her family and loved ones. In this same year, she was hired by Coca-Cola as an Accounts Payable Clerk. After several years in this position, Coca-Cola reassessed her level of productiveness and achievements and promoted her to Office Manager of the entire Sales Center in Sandston, Virginia. Charlene worked for Coca-Cola for over 22 years until the company consolidated and discontinued her job assignment. This is when Charlene would emerge at her ideal job as Payroll Manager at Luck Stone in Goochland County, Virginia. She remained at Luck Stone until her untimely and unexpected departure on November 14, 2020.
Charlene married Willie Sherwood Spence on Saturday, May 25, 1996. This 24-year union yielded one very precious and beloved son, Isaiah Thomas Spence. Isaiah was the apple of his mother’s eye because he has a free spirit, a kind heart, a loving energy and awesome capacity to love others. Isaiah loved his mom unconditionally and the one thing he always knew is that his mother understood him. Charlene was present for every major event in Isaiah’s life and the principles of God permeated all aspects of their family life and were consistently exemplified in their home. Charlene’s love was taken to a new dimension when she became an aunt to her firstborn niece, Yvonne Bashay Lee. During Yvonne’s adolescent years, Charlene received permission from her oldest brother, Warren to allow Yvonne to move to Chesterfield County, Virginia to finish her high school education. Yvonne and Isaiah grew up as sister and brother and were as close as hands and feet. Warren gave his sister the daughter she never was able to have, and she was so very grateful for the opportunity to rear such an exceptional individual and see her grow to be a beautiful and fearless young woman.
Charlene dedicated a good portion of her life to making the world a better place through volunteerism and community activism. She believed that volunteer work reminds us that no man is an island unto himself. We all count on others from time to time, and that there is beauty in our interdependence. This sense of the “shared good” keeps communities strong. Charlene happily participated in the weekly food pantry program in Chesterfield County, Toys for Tots, Salvation Army Christmas and the James River Regional Cleanup as a volunteer. She Walked to End Alzheimer's, completed several 5K Breast Cancer Walks, Multiple Sclerosis Walk, Relay for Life and Weight Watchers Walk-It Challenge with friends and family that shared her common goals and sense of duty. Charlene believed Community activism is about people in communities creating opportunities for growth and change. It is for this reason, she, Isaiah, and members of her church participated in the Black Lives Matter Movement. She gave to so many causes and they are too vast to enumerate in this one document. The work she has done will speak for her throughout eternity.
Charlene committed her life to improving her health while encouraging others to do the same and believed “He who has health, has hope; and he who has hope, has everything. During her lifetime, she was a member of the local YMCA and American Family Fitness. She could be found working out at the gym and participating in various classes and specialized trainings to include Cycling, Fight (kickboxing), Zumba, Power (strength training), Cardio and Weightlifting. Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic forced her to discontinue her gym membership and set up an in-home gym in order to safely continue her journey to better health in a more safe and secure environment. She also continued to take long brisk walks in the parking lot of American Family Fitness, her neighbor and the walking trail at Luck Stone. On any given day of the week, Charlene could be found at Rockwood Park in Chesterfield County playing tennis with Ashley, Barbara, Cassandra, Christine, Lucy, Phyllis, Samantha, Selicia, Sonya, Tina, Yvette and Yvonne (prior to her move to Charlotte, North Carolina).
Charlene’s central focus was her love of God and New Deliverance Evangelistic Church. She spent her early years at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church where she served as a member of the Junior Choir, Sunday School and Usher Ministry. When Willie and Charlene moved to Chester, Virginia, she moved her membership to New Deliverance Evangelistic Church (NDEC) under the spiritual guidance of Bishop Gerald O. Glenn. At NDEC, she began to graciously wear many different hats. After careful consideration and assessment, she was selected to serve as Photographer in the Photography Ministry, Social Media Manager in the Social Media Ministry and serve on the Usher Ministry, Women’s Ministry, Marriage Ministry and Anniversary Committee. God changed Charlene’s life through NDEC by challenging her to apply the Word of God in all aspects of her life. She grew strong emotionally and spiritually. Thank God and Thank NDEC.
Charlene spent her life building and maintaining her earthly dwelling, but she now occupies her new home. She will be missed, treasured and celebrated in the memories of her husband of 24-years, Willie Sherwood Spence of Chester, Virginia; loving son, Isaiah Thomas Spence of Chester, Virginia; devoted mother, Julie Mae Hill Thomas, of Emporia, Virginia; grandmother, Cornelia Bernice Walker of Mechanicsville, Virginia; dedicated siblings, Warren Kelvin Thomas of Jarratt, Virginia, Veronica Thomas Powell (Shawn) of Emporia, Virginia and Lawrence Randolph Thomas Jr. of Pleasant Hill, North Carolina; nieces, Yvonne Lee, Courtney Thomas, Raven Thomas and Morgan Dailey; nephew, Jordan Thomas; great-nephews, Jakori Thomas and Jahri Thomas; one great-niece, Jade Thomas; one very special uncle, Belma Tucker (Jannette); one devoted cousin, Stephanie Mincey Owens; three very loyal life-long friends, Tasha Turpin, LaTangie Hardy-Robinson and Molly Robinson; a host of aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws and friends.
Relatives and Friends are encouraged to visit Mrs. Spence's tribute wall to share memories, extend condolences and to order floral tributes, as sentiments to the family.
The Management and Staff of Knox-High Mortuary, Inc. is privileged to provide
"Distinctive Services, With The Essence Of Excellence"
to the family of Mrs. Charlene Thomas Spence.
We ask that you join us in remembering the family in both thought and prayer.
"Diligent in Business; Fervent in Spirit." - Romans: 12:11