Thelma Cumbo Lennon

April 12, 1928 ~ May 13, 2019 (age 91)


Thelma Cumbo Lennon became absent from the body and present with the Lord on Monday May 13, 2019. Her earthly death occurred at Transitions LifeCare in Raleigh, NC. Mrs. Lennon, who recently celebrated her 91st birthday was born on April 12, 1928 to the late Benjamin and Kitty Cumbo. She was a Raleigh native who moved to Durham upon marrying her late husband, John Lennon. Thelma and John were married 25 years until his death.

Mrs. Lennon was a career State of North Carolina employee, retiring in the 1990s after employment with the Department of Public Instruction. Educated in the Raleigh Public School system, Mrs. Lennon received a Bachelor’s degree in Guidance and Counseling from North Carolina Central University. She pursued and completed her graduate studies at Boston University where as a classmate, she was privileged to know a young Martin Luther King, Jr. She willingly shared with friends her many encounters with Dr. King while she and others met at his home for discussions on various topics. She said she knew then that Dr. King would one day become well known and make his mark in history.

Mrs. Lennon in later years, returned to Boston to attend classes at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Always community minded and a strong advocate for the elderly, Mrs. Lennon served on numerous boards within the City of Raleigh some of which were The Raleigh Housing Authority, The North Carolina Medical Board, and the YWCA. She also served as North Carolina President for AARP, an organization which was dear to her heart.

As a strong Christian, Mrs. Lennon attended Bible Study Fellowship for 10 years; she facilitated workshops at and was formerly active in the Intergenerational Council at First Baptist Church where she was baptized at age 12; she also taught Sunday school at White Rock Baptist Church before moving back to Raleigh.

Besides her parents, Mrs. Lennon was predeceased by brother Benjamin; sisters Inez Wilson and Thernatta Curtis, nephew Freddie Curtis and niece Brenda Jones.

Mrs. Lennon leaves two siblings to cherish her memories-sisters Eunice White (with whom she shared a home for over 25 years) and Bernice Coles; she also has a host of nieces, nephews, their children, and cousins who will remember “Aunt Thelma” as someone who welcomed them with open arms at all times. Thelma had a plethora of friends, several of whom were like family.

Mrs. Lennon was a person who grew older gracefully. She lived a life of diversity and enjoyed her long-term fellowships with groups like The Links, The Lunch Bunch, the Leisuretttes and others. She will be greatly missed; those who knew her are blessed to have known her. Her infectious smile will be remembered by those who never saw her down because she believed that life was to be lived and that every moment was one for which to be grateful.

Mrs. Lennon was cremated; her family will hold a Celebration of Life service at First Baptist Church, Wilmington Street, Raleigh at a date to be announced later.  

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Services are to be announced

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