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Thelma Vivian Bertrand McDowell

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THELMA MCDOWELL Thelma Vivian Bertrand McDowell, 95, entered into eternal life peacefully at her home in Line Lexington October 8, 2012. She was the wife of the late Orrin Bradford McDowell. Born in Bulger, March 19, 1917, she was a daughter of the late Henri Francis and Marcella (Combe) Bertrand. Thelma was a devoted mother, grandmother and aunt. She graduated in 1934 from Union High School in Burgettstown. Thelma received her B.S. in education in 1940 from California State Teachers' College (now California State University) and took courses at the University of Pittsburgh. In the 1940's, she co-wrote the early childhood/kindergarten section for 233b, a curriculum guide for public schools in Pennsylvania. In the 1950s, she supervised the Student Garden Program in Smithfield and Springhill Township, which was sponsored by the local grange. She was an active member of Eastern Star and sang in the White Shrine choir. In 1960, she earned her Masters Degree in Education from West Virginia University. She took coursework towards a Doctoral Degree in Education at West Virginia University. She held certifications as a school principal and as an education supervisor. A lifelong learner and educator, Thelma taught in the Albert Gallatin School District from 1941 to 1966: kindergarten, grades 1st through 3rd and 5th through 8th, and also served as an elementary school supervisor. She worked in the Department of Educational Research and created the Office of Student Advising and Records at West Virginia University. Thelma served as a supervisor in the Wetzel County School District in New Martinsville, WV where she developed and headed the early childhood program. She retired in 1980. After her retirement, she taught quilting for the Community Education Program at Bucks County Community College, and the Central Bucks Senior Center in Doylestown. Thelma attended classes at the Center for Learning in Retirement of Delaware Valley College. She was a member of the PEAK Center in Lansdale. Thelma was a 3-time cancer survivor. She enjoyed spending time with her loving family, gardening both vegetables and flowers, reading, and traveling. She researched her genealogy and wrote to the town of her mother's birth in France and found relatives still living there with whom she corresponded and later visited. A devoted mother, grandmother and aunt, Thelma is survived by her daughters, Bonnie McDowell Lasky of Colmar and husband, Elliott, Sue McDowell Whitlock of Lansdale, wife of the late Edgar Whitlock and Corrine McDowell of Line Lexington; and her granddaughter, Charis Megan Lasky of Colmar. She is also survived by her sister, Marjorie B. Tope of Bloomfield Hills, MI; her sister-in-law, Marguerite "Peggy" Bertrand of Pittsburgh; and many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews and cousins in the USA and France. She was preceded in death by a sister, Henrietta B. Ward and a brother, Deane Lee Bertrand.

Published in The Reporter on Oct. 11, 2012
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