Ms. Soontorn Tinsley, 58, affectionately known as "Lekee," amazing authentic old-school Thai food cook and foodie, longtime story-teller and jokester, natty dresser, extreme fisherman, and devout Christian, departed this life suddenly on Monday, May 5, 2014, at Southside Regional Medical Center, Petersburg, due to health complications.

Lekee was a mother of four, having three daughters and a son.

Lekee leaves to cherish her memory: her loving daughters, Cindy Bell of Petersburg, Melinda Short-Russell of Lakeland, Fla., and Mary Short of Newport News. She is also survived by: 12 grandchildren, from oldest to the youngest, Janet Bell Fase of Michigan, Jeremy Bell Fase, Sebastien Chalkley, Kyla Johnson, Nicole Johnson and Christopher Johnson all of Florida, Dione McRae, Donald Bell, and Michael Bell, all of Virginia, Eliana Marrero of Florida, Nakomi McRae and Rashany Bell, both of Virginia, (three of her grandchildren are currently in college with one graduating Saturday, May 10, from Central Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science degree in hospitality & management).

She was born to S. & R. Sittigool in Thailand. Lekee was an avid member of Good Shepherd Baptist Church and was employed and retired from Chesterfield County Public Schools after 23 years as a custodian.

Lekee was a faithful fisherman, who enjoyed spending days and nights casting her rods and crab traps at fishing holes or inlets at Virginia Beach, Newport News and Yorktown.

She came to the United States with her deceased ex-husband Melvin R. Short, as a new mother and military wife. She was very happy to experience a new life where she would learn to speak English and have the opportunity to be able to take better care of her new family, all while learning how to experience the America dream. Even though only having an elementary level education in Thailand, she worked hard to complete her basic adult education once arriving in the United States. To her neighbors, she was the go-to person if anything was needed for anyone in the neighborhood.

To her beloved animals, Lekee was their second mother, rearing them and raising them as if they were her own children. She has rescued and taken care of many animals in need.

She recently was finalizing plans to retire in Florida and move in with her daughter Melinda to enjoy her days doing what she loved the most, fishing. She had off-the-wall humor and could take any situation and make it funny.

Services for Ms. Soontorn S. Tinsley will be held at 12 p.m. Saturday, May 10, 2014, at the Chapel of J.M. Wilkerson Funeral Establishment Inc., 102 South Ave., Petersburg, Elder Bobby J. Russell of Garden of Prayer Ministries #3 COGIC, eulogist.

Family members and friends are invited to pay final tribute to Ms. Tinsley and watch the funeral services live online at www.jmwilkersonsince1874.com.

Funeral arrangements entrusted to the staff of J.M. Wilkerson Funeral Establishment Inc., 102 South Ave., Petersburg, 804-732-8911, www.jmwilkersonsince1874.com.

Funeral Home

J M Wilkerson Funeral Establishment, Inc.
102 South Avenue  Petersburg, VA 23803

Published in The Progress-Index from May 8 to May 10, 2014