Norville King Wooden
January 13, 1928 - March 25, 2022
Devoted Mother, Loving Grandmother, Caring Sister, Good Neighbor, Dear Friend and Gardener
Norville King Wooden passed peacefully into the arms of her Savior in the early morning hours of Friday, March 25th with her daughters there. Norville, known affectionately as “Lee” to her siblings, had a private, but courageous, 22 month battle with cancer.
A resident of Hampton for more than 76 years, her passion for plants and flowers and her yard was known to everyone. Her neighbors, family, and friends knew that if the temperature wasn’t below freezing or snow on the ground “Mrs. Wooden” could be found in her yard. She won Yard of the Month recognitions. She loved buying flowers off the clearance rack at Lowes and, with her green thumb, bringing them back to life. Her second love was thrift stores, spending hours browsing. She was often joined on these shopping sprees by her nephew “Junior.”
Born and raised in Prince George, Virginia, she was the fifth child of Sallie and George King’s eleven children. After her mother passed, even though she was not the oldest girl, she became the matriarch of the family. For most of her young adult life, she and Roger provided a home for several of their brothers, sisters and other family members for long and short periods of time. Jokingly, Jean said they always had “uncles in the attic.”
Norville graduated from Disputanta Trainining School and, not long after, married Roger O. Wooden of Surry County in 1944. Roger was stationed at Fort Lee and soon after they married he shipped out to France where World War II was raging. After the War, Roger returned to the States and was stationed in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The young bride, with an accordion ticket longer than she was tall, only 18 at the time, took the train cross country to Wyoming. Fourteen years later, the family traveled cross country by car and stopped in Cheyenne to see the woman with whom they had lived.
When Roger was discharged, they moved to Hampton where Norville remained, even after Roger’s passing in 2007. On her 94th birthday, January 13th of this year, she found peace raking pine needles from under one of her special trees-- almost 20 months into hospice. Fiercely independent, she lived alone until the last weeks of her life when her daughters, Jean and Kim, alternated weeks to stay and care for her.
Norville had a number of different jobs during her lifetime. While her two oldest children were in elementary school, she attended and graduated from the Peninsula Business College; she had the honor of being crowned “Mrs. Peninsula Business College.” She was a legal secretary for many years. She loved children, gave up the secretarial work, and became a teacher’s aide, working with challenged children, in the Hampton Public School System until her retirement.
In post 1964 years, Norville and Roger took many road trips;their “baby girl” Kim and sometimes their poodle joining them-- visiting relatives in Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Texas. The domestic travel culminated in a 50th anniversary trip to five Hawaiian Islands, given to them by their three children. In 2000, the two of them along with Jean as a guide spent three weeks in Europe, traveling by car through the north of France, spending time in Paris, the Netherlands, Belgium, and England.
Norville sent a text message every morning telling family she was “okay.” Even in those final weeks, she still made the effort on her own to send a text. A well kept secret is that she and her sister June watched television together while they were on the phone. Their favorite shows included “The Bachelor” and “Dancing with the Stars.” She was in daily contact by phone with her brother Herbert , her nephew Edward, her sister June and other family members up until the last week of her life. She “facetimed” with her great grandchildren, Jackson, Alexander, Maxwell and Berhani as well as joined in family Zoom calls with a little help. Norville continued driving up until the last month of her life – causing some concern amongst her love ones.
Norville loved and cherished her children and grandchildren, always being supportive of them. She is survived by her two devoted and caring daughters, Jean Cunningham and Kimberly Woodson(Carl) both of Henrico, Virginia, and her son, Roger, Jr., Hampton; six grandchildren, Eric Wooden(Soani), Hampton; Brooke Cunningham, Minneapolis, MN; Justin Cunningham, Wrightsville, PA; Bradford Cunningham(Shelcy), Columbus, OH; and James and Heather Williams, Henrico; four great grandchildren, Jackson, Alexander and Maxwell Cunningham, Columbus, OH; and Berhani Zulu, Minneapolis, MN. In addition, Norville leaves four siblings: Catherine Mason, Warner Robins, GA; Herbert King (Judith), Poquoson, VA; June Milton(Norman), Charlotte, NC; Lillian Boyd(George Franklin), Prince George, VA. One sister and five brothers predeceased her, leaving three surviving sisters-in-law, Arlene King, Fayetteville, NC; Hazel King, Hampton, VA; and Edith King, Prince George, VA. From the Wooden side of the family, she leaves one brother-in-law, Clarence Edward Wooden, Spring Grove, VA; and three sisters -in-law, Doris Adkins, Petersburg, VA; Louise Jones, Williamstown, NJ; Roslyn Elliott and Bernette Wooden, Spring Grove, VA. In addition, she leaves to cherish her memory a devoted nephew, Edward King, Jr. and two devoted nieces, Karen Armstead and Monica Connor; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, and a very special friend, Ella Robinson of Hampton. Contributions can be made in the memory of Norville K. Wooden to the American Cancer Society. There will be no visitation or viewing. A private service is being held.
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