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After a long and blessed life, Thelma Caudill Ison passed away Wednesday, December 27, 2023, held in the hands of her family and in the hearts and prayers of her friends. A steadfast Christian, she knew that faith in God and serving others are the means to true happiness and peace. She devoted her life to these principles. Perhaps that is why her favorite hymn has long been “It Is Well with My Soul.”
Thelma Grace was born October 17, 1932, the fifth of eight children of Beulah Gibson Sigrest Caudill and Cassel Robert Caudill in Letcher County, Kentucky. She was blessed with a close and loving family, including a multitude of aunts, uncles, and cousins, especially her double first cousin, Minerva Jane. She loved spending time with her cousins at family reunions, on Sunday afternoons at Aunt Virginia’s, and on their cousins’ trips. She relished their times together.
After graduating from Whitesburg High School in 1950, Thelma worked as a stenographer for a local attorney. In 1954, she moved to Flemingsburg as the newlywed bride of Glennon B. Ison, a recently hired basketball coach at Fleming County High School. She again worked for an attorney and began what became life-long friendships with several other young women in the community. Thelma became a stay-at-home mom when she and Glennon started their family. To their union were born three children: Debbie (Jeff) Vice, Jenny (Steve) Stigers, and Tom (Connie) Ison. She was a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother who tirelessly encouraged and supported her family. Whether it was serving as a PTA officer, hosting an exchange student, sewing dresses for a prom or a wedding, or cooking a big family dinner, Thelma was always ready, willing, and able to do what needed to be done and showered her family with love.
Upon her arrival in town, Thelma joined the Flemingsburg Baptist Church where she ultimately became the member of longest standing. Throughout the years, she taught Sunday school and Vacation Bible School, sang in the choir, supported Woman's Missionary Union (WMU), hosted homecomings and other events, and prayed without ceasing. She would often send a card with words of comfort or congratulations to church members, family, and friends. She regularly visited individuals in the nursing home, offering encouragement and compassion. Her daily life illustrated her faith and served as an inspiration for many.
Once her children were of school age, Thelma returned to the workforce at the Fleming County Health Department. She served as registrar for approximately 25 years. Over the years, she found time to join community groups aligned with various interests such as homemakers, square dancing, golfing, and quilting. After retirement, she had time to refocus on the friendships of her early years in town and, for 25+ years, she shared Tuesday afternoons with a close-knit group of card ladies.
Thelma was honored as a Kentucky Colonel by two governors and was selected as Beta Sigma Phi’s 2020 Lady of the Year.
In addition to her husband of nearly 70 years and her children, Thelma is survived by an older brother, Robert Caudill (Little Cowan, KY); a younger sister, Susan Caudill Stamper (Lexington, KY); a sister-in-law, Gracie Ison Boggs(Jeffersonville, IN) ; five grandchildren: Molly (Matt) Carney, Ben (Hazelee) Vice, Ellen (Ryan) White, Maggie Ison, and Li Fu Stigers; four great grandchildren: Caroline and Owen Vice and Charlie and Anna White, and many cousins, nieces, and nephews. She was predeceased by her parents; her brothers George and Stuart Sigrest; her sisters Emma Campbell, Carolyn Ison Gilliam, and Janice Wolod; and numerous in-laws.
The funeral service will begin at 1 p.m., Saturday, December 30, 2023, at the Flemingsburg Baptist church with Pastor Trent Keeton officiating.
Thelma will be laid to rest in Fleming County Cemetery.
Visitation will be 11 a.m., until the hour of service at 1 p.m., at the church located at 1856 Elizaville Road, Flemingsburg, KY 41041.
In place of flowers, please consider a donation in memory of Thelma to the Flemingsburg Baptist Church WMU.
Boone-Nickell Funeral Home is caring for Thelma and her family.
Online condolences may be offered at www.boonenickellfuneralhome.com