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HANOVER - Lilly Rebecca Gray Zehmer, of Hanover, formerly of Hampton, Va., died Thursday , April 5, 2012.
Born in Newport News on Dec. 1, 1922, she was the daughter of Ewell Robert Gray and Margaret Dean Gray. She graduated from Newport News High School and Farmville State Teachers College (Longwood University). Teaching was her lifelong love and she taught at Warwick High School, and Wythe, Thorpe, and Lindsay Junior High Schools. She was a member of Central United Methodist Church and faithfully taught the Robert Raikes Sunday School class for many years. She also helped teach the many Vietnamese refugees that were sponsored by Central. She was a past president of the United Methodist Women, The Hampton Woman's Club, PEO Chapter A, Hampton, and the Hampton Education Association. She was also a member of the Wythe Exchangettes, and Community Bible Study. She volunteered for many years at the Fort Monroe Casemate Museum, Sentara Hampton General Hospital, and the Hampton Library.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Charles Granderson Zehmer Jr.; her sister, Margaret Gray Stora; and her nephew, Frank Xavier Stora.
She is survived by her son, Charles Granderson Zehmer III; her daughter, Margaret Zehmer Dellaripa and son-in-law, Mike; two grandsons, James Michael Dellaripa III and Charles Gray Dellaripa; a nephew, Robert Gray Stora, and many other relatives and friends.
The family would like to express their utmost appreciation to the staff at Covenant Woods who took such loving care of Mom and to Hospice of Virginia for their compassionate care in her final days.
Visitation will be from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 8, at the R. Hayden Smith Funeral Home, 245 S. Armistead Avenue, Hampton, Va. A graveside service will be held at the Asbury United Methodist Church Cemetery in McKenney, Va., at 11 a.m. on Monday, April 9. View and post condolences on our online guestbook at

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Published in Daily Press from Apr. 7 to Apr. 9, 2012.
Memories & Condolences
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4 entries
April 9, 2012
Dear Margaret,
My family and I would like to express our heartfelt sympathy to you and your family on the loss of your beloved mother. She tauhgt my parents and sisters English 20 years ago when they first came to the United States. We always remember her as a fascinated, wonderful lady. She not only taught us English, but also she had been our role model for her kindness and generousity; she never hesitated to help anyone. I always picture her sweet smile and soft voice.
Margaret, I think you are, also as sweet as your mother.
Again, I'm sorry for your loss, but I'm sure she is now happy in heaven.
May God richly bless you and yours.
Hong-My Nguyen
April 9, 2012
Margaret and Charles,
I was so saddened to hear of your loss of your dear mom.

Myself and my family have so many special memories of our time with your family, but my most precious ones are of your mom. She was a wonderful lady. May you be comforted by your special times you had together with her.
Susan Wallace Tweedy
April 9, 2012
Margaret, So very sorry for your loss. I remember your Mom well, especially when she lived on the corner in Wythe, when I was also a neighbor. May God Bless and Keep you and your family.
Jeanne Lineberry
April 8, 2012
Mrs. Zehmer was my English teacher at Lindsay Jr High. She was such an inspiration to me. She had a way of making everything interesting. Her instruction on Mythology, in particular, made a big impression on me. I would not be who I am today without her.

I believe she blessed everyone who knew her. She was indeed a beautiful "Lilly" in this world. My condolences to her family.
Laura Diggs Rumfeldt
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