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Rebecca Kelsey Newman / November 12, 2013

Rebecca Kelsey Newman, 84, died peacefully on Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, in Virginia Beach.

She was born Sept. 16, 1929, in Farmville, to Philander and Ruby Kelsey.

A graduate of Farmville High School and Longwood College, she had a long career as an elementary school teacher, primarily in Hampton. Becky met James M. Adams Jr. while teaching in Petersburg. They married in 1954 and lived in Petersburg and Stuart, Fla., before settling in Hampton in 1957. They were charter members of Northampton Presbyterian Church. Becky and Jim had two children, James III and Cynthia. Jim Jr. died in 1963. Becky remained in Hampton and met Raeford Newman and his daughter Jackie. Becky and Rae were married in 1966 and had a daughter, Pamela. They moved to Clarksville, in 1983. Becky moved to The Memory Center in Virginia Beach, after Rae’s death in 2009. All her life, Becky’s heart was in her family, teaching, and the church. While in Hampton, she especially enjoyed being near her sisters Rachel, Helen, and Nancy. After moving to Clarksville, she was happy to be closer to her family in Farmville and she stayed connected to education as a volunteer at the local elementary schools.

She served on the Session of Clarksville Presbyterian Church and enjoyed the library, the Y, new friends, and many trips with Rae to visit their children and grandchildren.

Becky was pre-deceased by her parents, husbands Jim and Rae, and siblings Libby Welchlin, Franklin Kelsey, Philander Kelsey Jr., Milton Kelsey, Lucille Gee, Jean Palmer, Rachel McBride, and twin brother Raymond Kelsey.

She is survived by her children James M. Adams of Savannah, Ga.; Cynthia Gurley and husband Ken of Hernando, Miss.; Pamela Michaels and husband George of Virginia Beach; and Jackie Wheeler of Youngsville, NC. She is also survived by grandchildren Glenda Gurley and Amanda Gurley of Hernando; Lisa Gurley of Lake Charles, LA; Greg Wheeler and wife Natalie of Youngsville; Kristen Carpenter and husband Barry of Louisburg, NC; and great-grandchildren Brayden and Chance Carpenter. Other survivors include sisters Ruth Simpson of Prospect, Va., Helen Breckinridge and husband Charles of Farmville, Nancy Williams and husband Sonny of Newport News, Va., sister-in-law Peggy Kelsey of Prospect, brother Carl Kelsey and wife Sadie of Farmville, and many nieces and nephews.

The family received friends at Clarksville Presbyterian Church on Saturday, Nov. 9, with the funeral following at 2 p.m. with Rev. Jim Moss officiating.

The family thanks the staff of The Memory Center and Odyssey Hospice for their care and compassion for Becky.

Memorial donations may be made to the Clarksville Public Library or the Alzheimer’s Association, Southeastern Virginia Chapter. Watkins Cooper Lyon Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Online condolences may be expressed to the Newman family at

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