Lela Poole Chavis Thompson passed away Manor Care, Bethesda, Maryland just weeks shy of her 98th birthday.
She was born near Union, Hertford County, NC and was the daughter of William Andrew Chavis (1861-1925) of the county and Mary Helen Carter (1897-1946) of Windsor, Bertie County, NC.
Upon the death of her father, her mother, Mary Helen, relocated to Newport News, VA with her four young children where she ran a restaurant and catering service, feeding hundreds of African American shipyard workers each day.
Lela graduated from Huntington High School in Newport News in 1938 and moved to New York City to join her sister, Mary Jane. Another sister, Annabelle and brother, David followed. Lela attended secretarial school and worked as a governess.
In the early 1940's during the Second World War, she met and married Frank F. Thompson, Jr., M.D., of Montclair, NJ. During the war years, she lived on Elmwood Ave. with her in-laws, Dr. and Mrs. Frank F. Thompson, Sr.
After the war, Frank and Lela moved to 261 Orange Road where her husband practiced medicine for two decades.
Upon the early death of her beloved husband in 1966, Lela worked as a medical secretary at Columbus Hospital in Newark and enjoyed many years with relatives, friends and family in New Jersey and summer visits to Martha's Vineyard. She was a founding member of the North Jersey Smart Set.
Lela leaves three children: Frank F. Thompson, MD of New York City, William Robert of East Orange and Mary Helen of Washington, DC.
In 2006, Lela moved to the nation's capital to join her daughter. In her final decade, she continued to enjoy her family, especially her only grandson, Matthew Chavis Thompson, many nieces, nephews, and friends as well as fond memories of her deep North Carolina roots.