Zelma Leo Campbell Richardson – Obituary

by Lynn McMillen
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Zelma Leo Campbell Richardson, 93, died in Florence on September 9, 2012, with her granddaughter Leah Helen Chandler by her side.  In addition to Leah she is survived by her daughter Dr Patricia Chandler Ashe and son-in-law Geoffrey Ashe, Glastonbury England; her sister Jeanne Brown of Biloxi MS; and her brother Donald Campbell of Jonesville LA, in addition to many precious nieces, nephews, and cousins.  She was preceded in death by her son John Andrew Richardson; her husbands Paul Richardson and Lod Messer; sisters Helen, Cleo, Merle, and Ina; and brothers Louis and Lloyd.

        Zelma was a native of coastal Mississippi, one of fraternal twin girls born on July 14, 1919 to Andrew Bonner Campbell and Verta Lee Mallette Campbell.  Educated in Harrison and Jackson County and at PerkinstonCollege, her career with civil service began in 1942 at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, where she met her husband Paul Richardson.  After 10 years in Delaware following World War II, the family re-located to Ocean Springs, Mississippi, and her civil service career continued in accounting positions with the Air Force in Biloxi and at Brookley Field in Mobile, and from 1963-1980 with NASA in Huntsville AL and at Stennis Space Center in Hancock County MS. The US space and rocket program was close to her heart, and after her move to Florence in 1987, she joined the local NARFE chapter (National Association of Retired Federal Employees) serving as faithful member and active officer for more than 20 years.
        In Florence, Zelma was a member of First United Methodist Church in Florence, where she belonged to the Mary Douglas Bender Sunday School Class.  She was a member for many years of the Study Club coordinated by the late Sarah Weatherly.  In 2008 her meticulously researched comprehensive family history of her maternal grandparents and their offspring, The Mallettes of Fort Bayou, was published, followed by a Supplement in 2009, co-authored by her daughter Patricia Ashe.
        Because of failing health, in December of 2008 Zelma moved to the 5thstation of Mitchell-Hollingsworth Nursing Home.  Over the next 3-1/2 years, her health improved considerably, the effect of a caring, loving, and professional environment, and she often commented to her family that she loved living there.  She became active in the life of the nursing home, and was delighted and appreciative to be chosen in 2009 as Ms Mitchell-Hollingsworth.
A public memorial service will be held Friday October 12, 2012 at 2:30 pm in the rotunda of Mitchell-Hollingsworth Nursing Home, 805 Flagg Circle,Florence. Officiating will be the Rev. Mike Pope. A family service will be held on October 20th at Cedar Lake United Methodist Church in Biloxi, MS, with interment at nearby Coalville Methodist Cemetery.  She requested that she be cremated and buried in the grave with her twin sister Velma Cleo, who died in 1921.
The family wish to thank the staff of Station 5 at Mitchell-Hollingsworth, Dr. John Bartmess, Dr Felix Morris, Dr. Belinda Johnson, the 2nd floor staff at ECM hospital, and the faithful friends at MH who made her last years so happy and fulfilled.
Memorial gifts may be made to First United Methodist Church, 415 North Seminary Street, Florence 35630; Mitchell-Hollingsworth Nursing Home; or to the National Association of Retired Federal Employees.
An online guest book may be viewed and signed at greenviewmemorial.com.
Local arrangements by Greenview Funeral Home.
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