A Memoir of Love
Doretha Shivers Wellons
The Christian Servant, The Companion Servant, The Culinary Servant
The Lord God Almighty in His infinite wisdom called our beloved “Queen Doe” from labor to reward, after an enduring fight with her earthy life’s final war with pain on Saturday, September 9, 2023 in her serene domicile and beloved neighborhood of the historic Riverview Community in the town of Smithfield, VA. Born, November 3, 1936, her nearly 87-year journey here culminated in a life of service to her immediate and extended family and friends and community-most notably through her sustained ministry efforts, her able bodied caretaking and companionship of those needing medical attention and assistance, and in her humbly-executed culinary leadership and kitchen management pursuits in the food service industry not withstanding , her supportive and participatory civic duties and responsibility to this community, which were far reaching to the development of community youth and other public and educational initiatives.
Confidant, counselor or companion… Ms. Doretha was the “go to person.” As a trusted companion in her later years of life, Ms. Doe would often aid and comfort those in need of convalescent assistance even as she sometimes struggled herself with ailments. Nevertheless, she was dedicated to those who needed her. Namely, she assisted in the care of Viola “Miss Vi” C. Robinson, Bernest B. Pleasants, Hollis F. Herring, Emma M. Wells, Louise Bowen and Glenwood Jenkins- all who have gone on to meet their Maker. Moreover, if you ever needed someone to talk to or confide in, she was there for you or to pray with you. Perhaps you just needed information- she was a person you could go to and trust. You could call her anytime of the day or night and she’d answer and if you didn’t reach her you’d have to wait in line… till it was your turn according to her grandson Bazz. Speaking of phone calls; Birthdays were joyous occasions for her. She was known for calling everyone on their birthday and singing her version of “Happy Birthday.” It wasn’t your birthday until you got her call.
As the Chef… she hailed from an extended bloodline of cooks who passed the culinary traditions down- with her specialty being “down home” southern cooking and seafood, At the former Tennis Seafood, where the Smithfield Station stands today, Doretha was the backbone of that cooking operation, and no one will ever forget her touch on the “delectables” offered up in Smithfield Little’s Supermarket deli department. On the home front she was especially known for her watermelon rind pickles, pear preserves, rice pudding, collard greens and many other delightful and tasty dishes. “You could eat her gravy and onions as a meal” someone once remarked. If you wanted to know how to cook or make anything, whether it was cornbread, batter for fried crabs or preparing any kind of meats, just ask Ms. Doe.
Doretha supported her community as a voting citizen and supporter of education- ensuring her offspring were properly prepared and participated in school functions and activities. Of particular note was her work as a “Den Mother” with Co den Mother Iris Johnson and Pack Leader Leroy Wise in the local African American Cub Scout Pack that met upstairs in the Elk’s Hall on Wharf Hill in the 1970’s. She helped many young lads develop as cub scouts-Webelos- and ultimately Boy Scouts at the Troop level through the many activities they offered through scouting such as competitions, field trips and other learning activities. She was an indelible part of the fabric of the community. The Ministries she served at this place called “Zion” were the Kitchen , Missionary, Women’s and Singles, persistently learning the Word of God and his redemptive work at “ The Old Rugged Cross” (Ms. Doe’s favorite song by the way) through weekly worship services, the Noon and Evening Bible study sessions, Noon day Prayer and First Hour Ministry-“A true and faithful prayer Warrior”, forsaking not to assemble herself at all scheduled services, meetings and community opportunities to fellowship and assist in God’s kingdom. Above all, God and family were integral to Doretha and her being.
She was preceded in death by her husband Louis M. Wellons, Sr., a daughter Glender Wellons; three brothers- Willie Shivers, John (Ida)Shivers, Elmo (Annie) Shivers, and two sisters- Arnetta Baker and Doris Seaborne (Abraham). To cherish her memory and continue her legacy, she leaves a sister Roselee Robertson (Pastor Lawrence)Robertson, and a sister-in- law Jean J. Shiers one son, Louis Wellons, Jr., two daughters, Faith Wellons, (MacArthur) and Nina Howard (Charles); four grandchildren; Renaldo (Tiffany) Wellons, Charles Howard, China (Ashley) Howard and Sebastian Wellons; great granddaughter, Briana McClary and Baby Wellons (on the way) along with a host of nephews, nieces, cousins, children and grandchildren that she claimed and loved as her own.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held 11:00am on Saturday, September 16, 2023 at Little Zion Baptist Church, Smithfield. Viewing will take place on Friday, September 15, 2023 from 3-6pm at the Chapel. Interment will follow the service at Tynes Memorial Cemetery, Berry Hill Road, Smithfield, VA 23430.
Please keep the Shivers-Wellons family in your prayers.