Lois Lee Manes , our beloved matriarch, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, returned to her permanent home at age 90 on November 8, 2019. A strong, independent, and principled daughter of many generations of pioneers in this country, she was born on March 31, 1929 during the Great Depression. She was raised in rural Arkansas and Missouri, the 4th of 6 children, by her parents, Dan Chilton, the owner of a saw mill and her pretty, hard-working mother, Ivy Short Chilton. Though these years were filled with unimaginable poverty, rough accommodations, frequent moves, and many challenges, she became strong and learned to master the storms in her life and help us master ours.
She married her lifelong sweetheart, Donald Bert Manes, on December 23, 1951, in Springfield, Missouri. She enjoyed the adventures of travel and new horizons with her husband, a Navy career man, who shared her spiritual foundations and love of family. After his unexpected heart attack and death at the age of 39, she began a new life in Norfolk, Virginia, returning to a home they purchased during his early career. She had various positions, such as working for the government, working as a realtor, and working as a florist, but her real calling and vocation was her family. Not only did she raise her own three daughters alone, she was also highly instrumental in raising a granddaughter and three great-grandchildren for varying periods of their lives. She liked to bowl, play bingo, play cards and Scrabble, and work Suduko puzzles! She loved gardening and had a “green thumb.” She was smart as a whip and loved to read and discuss world events. She liked to paint watercolors and interior decorating.
Her early struggles made her an advocate for the poor, the outcast, and those who were having hard times. While serving jury duty, she told the bailiff and judge about racial slurs used by another juror and his desire to convict the black defendant before the trial had begun, and the case was declared a mistrial. She “walked the talk” and was a person of action.
Lois was preceded in death by her husband, Donald Bert Manes, her parents, Dan and Ivy Chilton and her three brothers : Arvil, Lloyd C. and John D. Chilton. She was also preceded in death by her sister Beulah Marie Cox, who was in many ways a mother figure to her and died only 30 days before she did.
She is survived by her three children: Beverly Carol Weise and her husband, Dr. Richard Weise; Donna Lee French; and Jean Marie Fulgham and her husband, James Fulgham. She is also survived by three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren: Granddaughter Karen Cummings and her husband, Craig Cummings, and their three children: Great-Grandson Damien Dobos, Great-Granddaughter, Samantha Dobos, and Great Grandson, Gavin Dobos; Granddaughter Jennifer Weise; Granddaughter Brittany Durkin, and her husband, Gerard Durkin; and Grandson Dylan Shean. She is also survived by one sister, Eva McConnell of Springfield, Missouri. And a beloved family dog, Isaac!
Lois spent the last year and a half in the loving home of her daughter, Donna French, where she passed due to infirmities of advanced age after a short hospitalization and decision to enter home hospice. A family “Celebration of Life” service was held at Norfolk Botanical Gardens on November 29, 2019, one of her favorite places to enjoy nature, art, and wildlife. While we miss her very much, we are at peace knowing she is reunited with her husband, parents, and family and in the arms of her beloved Savior, Jesus the Christ.
Cremation Society of Virginia-Newport News assisted the family with arrangements.