The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia


January 9, 2014

Obituaries — Thursday, January 9, 2013


Mertha Geneva Mitchem

Mertha Geneva Mitchem, 90, of Crab Orchard, went home to be with the Lord on Monday, January 6, 2014. She passed away peacefully, with family by her side.  

Born January 21, 1923, she was the daughter of the late Bessie and Walter Meadows.

She was preceded in death by her loving husband, John Mitchem, a son Paul Mitchem, a step-daughter Hazel Goins, close friend Junior Flinchum, son-in-law Leon Bolen, brothers Clarence Meadows, Buster Meadows, Emmit Meadows, Walter “Jr” Meadows, Loyd “Teetle” Meadows, Howard Meadows and sisters Cloie Harvey and Bernice Meadows.

Those left to cherish her memory include five children, Micki  Lavis and her fiancé Gordon Braunscheidel of Ohio, Flora Griffis and her husband Lionel of Virginia, John Mitchem and his wife Lou of West Virginia, Ruby Gill of Virginia and Rachel Bolen of West Virginia and brothers Lawrence and Wesley Meadows and sisters Macy Graef, Gertrude Utt, Shirley Fuda and Mary Cree. She was also adored by her 10 grandchildren, 19 great grandchildren and one great great grandchild; who all lovingly called her “Grandma Mitchem.”

Mertha was a dedicated Christian and member of The Crab Orchard Baptist Church. She was a former singer in the choir and had a beautiful voice, which she shared up until her final days. She was a proud patriot and devoted republican, who worked the voting polls until the age of 89. She was also a strong pillar of the community, member of Beta Sigma Phi and volunteered for many fundraisers sponsored by the American Heart Association and American Cancer Society, and she was also honored to be one of the first people to walk across the New River Gorge Bridge.

She never met a stranger and was very well-known in her town for her dedicated daily walks and neighborhood trash pick-up. She was a loving mother, wonderful grandparent, and cherished friend. She is already greatly missed but will be remembered for her spunky attitude, strength, wit, green thumb, and famous turkey “gobble” call. She enjoyed life to the fullest and filled hers with beautiful flowers, chirping birds and countless friends and loved ones. Please join family and friends as we celebrate her exceptional life.

Services celebrating the life and ministry of Mertha, will be held on Saturday, January 11, 2014, at 1 p.m. in the sanctuary of her beloved Crab Orchard Baptist Church with her Pastor Mike Sessions officiating. Following the service she will be laid to rest beside her beloved husband in Blue Ridge Memorial Gardens.

Friends may gather with the family from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at Blue Ridge Funeral Home.

Online condolences can be sent to the family by visiting

Arrangements are in the care of Blue Ridge Funeral Home, 5251 Robert C. Byrd Drive,  Beckley.

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