A generous life remembered

Thelma King died this summer aged 92. She had been a regular attender at St Mary’s during the 30+ years she lived in Isleworth. Her daughter, Rev Linda Hillier, and family prepared a moving tribute to Thelma which was read at her funeral. Here are some extracts.

Thelma was born in March 1926. She had an older brother Jim. Her mother Elizabeth died when they were both toddlers and their Dad, Stanley Harmer, remarried resulting in a large family with 7 siblings and step-siblings for Thelma.

Mum was a teenager during the war, and she talked of the sound of doodle bugs dropping and the fear of one dropping close by. One night she recalls her father pushed her into the cupboard under the stairs during an air raid, but Mum became hysterical – her words, as the gas meter and pipes were in there; “what a stupid place to put me,” she always said.

Much to her step mothers’ consternation Mum left home aged 14 and lived at West London and Hammersmith Hospitals where she was a cook, and before she had a family of her own, that was mum’s profession. Mum married Jack Chapman in 1953 and the couple had three children. Sadly, Jack died in 1977 and so Thelma remarried, this time to Ron. Ron sadly also died a short time later.

Mum visited America on three occasions; Disney World and other theme parks. Although she could not swim Mum tried out the water parks, and every ride without fear. It was on that trip that Mum’s love of shopping meant we found her lying across her suitcase on the bed, attempting to shut and lock it for the journey home. We managed, but the bag was so heavy that when we attempted to lift it the handle came off and the suitcase stayed where it was.

Thelma loved to watch most sports and was of course a Brentford Supporter. Dad ran a football team, Harnage Rovers and Mum would take her turn to wash the kit. Mum always checked the football scores on a Saturday teatime, particularly the Brentford and QPR scores, and this year the World Cup gave Mum great pleasure.

Her 92 years were not always easy, but over them she maintained wonderful friendships with so many people from all walks of life and of all ages. She was generous with her time, generous to those less fortunate than herself and we can’t tell you the number of neighbours and friends she has helped over the years.