It seems fitting that a woman with so much moxie would have two birthdays. Due to a typo on her birth certificate, the actual birthday of Vonnie Tingley has always been up for debate. Regardless of the actual day, she was 82 the day she was finally at rest.
Vonnie passed on to heaven on Christmas Eve morning.
She was greeted at the Gates of Heaven by Jesus who she loved dearly. Her mom. Her sisters. and her Bob. the love of her life and the man she has spent every moment of the last 28 years missing.
She leaves behind her brother Glenn, her three kids Dawn, Nancy, and Kevin as well as her grandkids Rebekah, Jennifer, and Christopher (and Maggie and Julianna who she would claim as her own bonus grandkids)
Vonnie grew up in the backwoods of Tennessee. She was the embodiment of an “up hill. both ways. in the snow.” kind of childhood. Scattered amongst the roads and trees that led to the little house she called home are the memories of the life that gave her spunk and drive. She was and always will be – a firecracker.
Vonnie and Bob were married on their second date. A love letter love affair between a young girl on the shores of America and a navy man at sea. It sounds like a whirlwind romance movie kind of love. But they both would tell you that life is much more simple when the passion of the story isn’t pressed into a neatly packaged 90-minute film.
It was simple. and ordinary. and in that, they built an amazing life together. They had their babies and raised them and loved each other and it was always, always enough. Dawn, Nancy, and Kevin can, and often do, end up in fits of laughter that spring tears in their eyes talking about the life that Vonnie and Bob made for them.
Bob’s been waiting for Vonnie for 28 years now. And they are finally home with each other again.
The grandkids share equally fond and laughter driven memories of life with Vonnie. She was Grammy. and Grammy was the best. That’s the thing about Vonnie, there were treasured few who meet her and weren’t indelibly marked by her charm and wit and humor.
If cats have 9 lives. Vonnie has had 15. There are stories that can fill pages of a book. and maybe there should be. but should that book ever be written and read, you would find the story of a woman of strength and valor unmatched by many. Vonnie and impossible resilience are one and the same.
That’s the thing about death and saying goodbye, isn’t it? Suddenly the warm memories are flooding in. and you forget the hard parts were there too. To forget would be a grave injustice to who Vonnie was and always will be. It was not an easy life by any means. Grief. Trauma. Loss. Widowed. Hardship.
We don’t want those memories as much as we want the warm fondness to embrace us in grief. but the thing is, Vonnie wasn’t bitter or angry or hardened by life. and she had every reason to be. remembering the hardest and saddest parts of her life is to honor who she was until the very end; a woman of moxie. strength. valor. humor. love.
There’s a gap in everyone’s life now. everyone who knew her. the space Vonnie used to fill. and she was a force to be reckoned with. so that gap is no small thing. but there is also peace. Peace knowing that Vonnie and Bob are together again. Home for one another in the next life as much as they were in this one. and a peace knowing that a woman who so dearly loved Jesus and His Word, is hearing it directly from the source. and was greeted with “Well done. Good and Faithful servant”
Well done, Vonnie. Mom. Grammy. May the memory of your life be a blessing to those who knew you. and may your welcome home from Bob be the warmest entrance into rest. We love you forever.
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations be made in Vonnie’s name and memory to Lord Chamberlain Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center in Stratford, CT. It was the last place she called home before she left and they cared well for our matriarch in her final years. We are indebted with gratefulness to the staff, nurses, and doctors who loved and cared for her with dignity. A memorial picnic will be planned for family and friends at a later date.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Vonnie (Bush) Tingley, please visit our floral store.