Norma Parks Wessells

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Mrs. Norma Parks Wessells, of Accomac, wife of the late Preston Wessells, passed on to eternal life with the Lord at age 100.

Born Sept. 18, 1921, to Clifford and Merle Parks, Norma was one of nine Parks siblings who were members of Zion Baptist Church.

During her younger years, Norma was very athletic and was the captain of her school’s basketball team and she played softball. One of her favorite stories was hitting a home run, defeating Tangier Island’s team, and then being marooned on Tangier Island as the local transport ferry refused to take the team back to the mainland. Other stories involved her courtship by Preston Wessells, her future husband, and trips to Cedar Island with him and friends on Sunday afternoons.

From 1941 to 1999, Norma was married to Alfred Preston Wessells, who was an icon at his Texaco service station for almost 50 years. His success was in no small part related to Norma’s support. She would always bring him lunch and have a warm meal waiting for him at the end of the day. Throughout the day she would pick up auto parts that he needed and encouraged him during his bookkeeping. Their relationship was mutually supportive and special in many ways.

One of the sustaining relationships in her life was with Zion Baptist Church and its membership. As was the tradition in 1921, Norma made her first trip to Zion as a one month old. At seven years old she was baptized. Norma’s mothers’ active role in children’s ministry no doubt contributed to Norma’s participation in the Sunbeams and subsequently with the Girls’ Auxiliary, where Norma was one of 12 girls enrolled. Norma’s service in missions continued into adult life, during which she served as president of Zion Women’s Missionary Union and then as head of Group 3 WMU, an organization of 24 local churches in Accomack Association. Norma’s interest in missions and leadership skills led her to serve as Association Superintendent of Women’s Missionary Union for 10 years. For six years she was the state representative for the association. At age 17, Norma joined the Zion Baptist Church choir and was a faithful choir member until well into her 90s. Norma Parks Wessells has been a part of and a blessing to Zion Baptist Church since her birth. In her lifetime she has generously and graciously contributed her time, her talents, and her love of the Bible to the church’s membership and those who visited as well as to her community. She shared that the closeness of the people at Zion is the thing she has most treasured and enjoyed throughout her lifetime.

The Woman’s Club of Accomack County was fortunate to have Norma as a member. Besides her contributions to their flower group, Norma served two terms as their chaplain. She credits her religious upbringing at Zion as the impetus for giving her the knowledge and the willingness to lead her club in this capacity.

She is survived by three nephews: Keith Belote (Martha), of Leesburg, Va.; Larry Belote (Yim), of Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Karl Golovin, of Alexandria, Va. Additionally, she is survived by five great-nieces and nephews and nine great-great-nieces and nephews; and numerous cousins and loved ones.

Other than her parents and her husband, Norma is predeceased in death by Revel Penn Kelly, a cousin whom Norma greatly assisted in raising.

A funeral service will be held Sunday, May 1, 2022, at 2 p.m., at the Thornton Funeral Home in Parksley, with the Rev. David Bryan officiating. Interment will follow in the Edgehill Cemetery in Accomac.

Should friends desire, memorial contributions may be made to the Zion Baptist Church Memorial Fund, c/o Ann Kellam, 26485 Lang Farm Road, Accomac, VA 23301.

Arrangements are by the Thornton Funeral Home in Parksley.

Nancy Baker Dix contributed much of the above in a member profile which she authored for Zion Baptist Church in tribute to Norma’s lifelong commitment to the church.

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