Thelma Marie (Sharp) Fitzsimmons passed away peacefully in Modesto, California, on June 25, 2020, at the age of 101. Born in Watson, Missouri, Thelma traveled west to California with her family in 1934 where they settled in Grayson. Thelma, along with her siblings, worked various jobs during those early years. She worked at local farming warehouses and during World War II worked at the Tracy Defense Depot. She was always proud of her contribution to the work effort during wartime.
Thelma met her future husband LeRoy “Sonny” Fitzsimmons at a local dance where he played fiddle, guitar and sang. They were married in June of 1946 and made their home in Grayson. There they raised six children: Twins, Donna and Gary, Ellen, Gaylen, Marilyn and Brenda. When her children reached school age, she took a job at Grayson Elementary School where she was the cafeteria cook for several years.
She loved to crochet, cook and sew, all of which she was excellent at. One of her favorite pastimes was watching hummingbirds at the feeders hung outside her picture window that attracted an immeasurable number of hummingbirds.
Thelma’s family was her true passion in life. She was never happier than when all the extended family gathered in her home and she took special joy in coddling her many grandchildren. She loved preparing for and hosting family celebrations and holidays, a chore she cherished well into her 90s. The smell of pumpkin pie and the taste of her special chocolate cake will stay in her family’s memories forever.
Thelma lived for 80 years in Grayson where her neighbors affectionately called her the “hub” of the community. In 2015, due to failing health, she moved to Valley Comfort Assisted-Living in Modesto, where she was lovingly cared for by her caregivers, the staff, and the administration.
Thelma was preceded in death by her husband, LeRoy; son, Gary Lee; grandson, Christopher Lee; stepson, Joseph Leon; parents, Emmett and Bessie Sharp; brother, Duane Cecil Sharp and sister, Elsie (Sharp) Woodard.
She is survived by her children, Donna (Ronald) Medearis, Ellen Hendrix, Gaylen (Ginger) Fitzsimmons, Marilyn (Don Ratzlaff) Fitzsimmons and Brenda (Steve) Chavez; daughter-in-law, Roberta Fitzsimmons-Earlandson; 21 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren, 7 great-great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
Visitation is scheduled for the evening of Monday, July 6th, from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm at Hillview Funeral Chapels in Patterson. A graveside service will be held at 10:00 am, July 7th at Patterson District Cemetery in Patterson.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations to SEVA Hospice, 5330 Pirrone Rd Ste 302, Salida, CA 95368 or the charity of your choice.
The family respectfully requests that those attending any of the scheduled services to please adhere to recommended social distancing and to wear masks.