Pauline Small


Loving wife, mother, and grandmother, Mrs. Pauline Isdell Small, of Onley, passed away on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024. She was born in Onancock on Sept. 10, 1941, a daughter to the late Norman Isdell and the late Margaret Marsh.

Pauline was the beloved co-owner and operator of Redwood Gables for over 20 years alongside her husband, Joseph Decormis “J.D.” Small Jr. The couple met at a sock hop after a football game at Onancock High School. They shared a dance and the rest was history. The two became one in March 1962. J.D. was drafted by the Dodgers and Pauline made sure he had a life to return to back on the Shore. They immediately went to Stockton, Md., and got married before his first at-bat.

The couple had two wonderful children, Trey and Paula. They spent summers at the local carnivals playing bingo or working in the restaurant. She volunteered for years in the Onley Fire and Rescue Women’s Auxiliary.

Always kind and even-keeled, Pauline was the heart of the family. She rarely got angry and the kids can’t remember a single time she ever yelled at them. Family was everything to her. She was never a showboat, always easy-going, and made sure that her husband and children knew they were loved.

Known as a hard worker, Pauline did take a little time for herself every so often. One of her favorite pastimes was going to Ocean City, Atlantic City, Dover, and Harrington to play the slots. She and her sister-in-law and mother-in-law would hop in the car, turn on some Elvis, and cruise for a few hours for a little relaxation under the neon lights. When she had an afternoon off from work, she enjoyed cheering for Jeff Gordon or the Cowboys. Always an avid reader, she found contentment in the pages of a novel. Nothing brought her more pleasure than spending time with her grandkids. She will be remembered and missed for years to come.

Pauline is survived by her husband of nearly 62 years, J.D. Small; children, Paula Small, of Onley, and Trey Small (Jennifer), of Onley; grandchildren, Paul Thornton, Cole Siegle, Caylee Small, and Wyatt Chesser; great-grandchildren, Skylar Thornton and Evelynn Thornton; sister-in-law, Teresa Erdman; special niece, Joyce Henry; and several other nieces and nephews.

In addition to her parents, Pauline was predeceased by her sister, Bonnie Young; brother, Robin Marsh; and great-grandchildren, Roreigh Thornton and Joseph Thornton.

A graveside memorial and inurnment was held Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024, at 1 p.m., in Fairview Lawn Cemetery in Onancock, with the Rev. Robert Fletcher officiating.

Flowers will be accepted or memorial contributions in Pauline’s name may be made to the American Diabetes Association, 870 Greenbrier Circle, Greenbrier Tower II, Suite 404, Chesapeake, VA 23320,

Memory tributes may be shared with the family at

Arrangements were by the Williams-Onancock Funeral Home.

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