The Connie Cheetham Award recognizes a member of the congregation for extraordinary service and work in one or more areas of the life of the congregation over a period of many years. Connie Cheetham was the wife of our third minister who returned to Charlottesville after her husband’s death and became the leader of the Women’s Alliance, fundraiser extraordinaire, our first pastoral visitor, hostess at coffee hour and so much more. In 1987 she was the first recipient of this award created to honor her long service to this church. It recognizes longtime service to our community in one or more areas of church life.

On June 11, 2017 the award was presented to Jean Newland, who signed our Membership book on January 25, 2005. Jean has served on the Membership Committee since her arrival at TJMC and she has served as chair for many of those years. She has welcomed newcomers, honored new members, served as a Greeter, worked tirelessly on fundraising events, hosted Auction and Circle dinners, helped with the Elder dinner, co-chaired the yard sale, and mentored youth in the coming of age religious education program. She claims to be a “worker bee” and has been a very, very busy bee here at TJMC for 12 years.

We owe much to Jean and to all the past winners of this award. They include:

  • Connie Cheetham
  • Ed Jones
  • Bonnie Sheppard and Bill Spurgin
  • Carolyn Silver
  • Al Reynolds
  • Edith Good
  • Waverly Parker
  • Christa Pierpont
  • Dell and Tony Smith
  • Kay and Sandy Peaslee
  • Phyllis and Gordon McKeeman
  • Stephanie Lowenhaupt
  • Margaret Jones
  • Ruth Nelson
  • Lois Brown
  • Elizabeth Breeden
  • Trudy Rohm
  • Dick and Greta Dershimer
  • Sally Taylor
  • Virginia James
  • Ruth Douglas
  • Virginia James
  • Josie Pipkin
  • Bob Gross and Jean Shepard
  • Pam McIntire
  • Pam Philips
  • Shirley Paul
  • Margaret Gorman
  • Jean Newland

Obituary for Constance Meta Cheetham
Published in the Daily Progress 8/4/2006-8/6/2006

Constance Meta Cheetham was born in March 1909. She lived in England (in Liverpool, Preston, Whitefield, and London) until February of 1953 when she and her husband, Henry Harris Cheetham, boarded the Queen Elizabeth II and sailed for America.

Although the landscape, history, and the people of England were always to be a significant part of her identity, she loved her life in the United States, in Newport Rhode Island, Boston, and Charlottesville.

In particular she enjoyed her many years in Charlottesville where she lived from 1955 until 1962 and again from 1968 until her death.

Connie took pleasure in helping others and organizing events that would bring people together. Her sensitivity to others’ needs, her facile charm, her delight in the small pleasures of life, and her respect for a diverse community as well as for the natural world made her innumerable friends.

In the course of her 97 years, she touched many lives. Even children who knew her when she was a young woman during the second world war still have vivid memories of her and often speak of her interest in getting them to read more and more books. Her most fulfilling moments were all these friends, young and old.

She also found satisfaction in the time she spent managing the gift shop at the University of Virginia Medical Center. But the most satisfying moments were the years she spent helping out in a number of ways at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church, Unitarian-Universalist, in Charlottesville. Her work there gave meaning to her life and others’.

This work was officially recognized when she received the Clara Barton Award from the National headquarters of the Unitarian-Universalist Association and through the priviledge of having a lifetime service award named after her.

She is survived by her daughter, Ann C Colley of Buffalo, New York; and her granddaughter Gwen Hilary Colley of Asheville, North Carolina. She is also survived bu an extraordinary and supportive group of friends and extended family whose care and generosity demonstrate that a more humane world is possible.

For those wishing to commemorate Connie, please send donations in her name either to the Charlottesville/Albemarle SPCA od the Memorial Endowment of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church.

There will be a memorial service at the  Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church at 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 28.