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1941 Wynda 2022

Wynda Chappell Chesson

March 26, 1941 — July 22, 2022

Wynda Chappell Chesson of Durham, NC, passed away on July 22, 2022, with her husband, two daughters, and four grandchildren by her side. After quietly persevering with multiple health issues for several years, she suffered a devastating stroke on July 19 while on vacation in Asheville with her family. Her wishes had always been to die at home. After a long ambulance ride, she lived for about 24 hours in her own bed. 


Wynda was born on the morning of March 26, 1941, in her Grandmother Ida Eure Blanchard’s home in Sunbury, NC. She grew up on the Chappell family farm on Piney Woods Road, Belvidere, NC. Wynda loved the farm, including all the animals and the wooded areas where she could wander carefree. While living on Piney Woods Road, she attended Piney Woods Friends Meeting, located within sight of her home. During her youth, Wynda loved the Outer Banks, where she made many happy memories.


Wynda graduated from Perquimans County High School in 1959 and went on to attend East Carolina University. In the fall of 1961, while still in college, Wynda married her high school sweetheart, Parker Chesson. Their marriage of nearly 61 years was indeed a love story from the beginning until the end. They were an inspiration to all of deep love and commitment. In fact, on the eve of her stroke, a stranger walked past them as they sat outside at their inn and commented on how in love they looked, calling them “two lovebirds.” With Parker’s phone, the stranger took their last photo together.


In 1962, Wynda graduated from East Carolina with a B.S. degree in Elementary Education. This degree led her to teach at many schools in several different cities, including Bridgers Elementary School in Tarboro, Sheep-Harney Elementary School in Elizabeth City, Aversboro Elementary School in Garner, and a private kindergarten in Elizabeth City. She put her heart into her classroom and kept in touch with some of her students throughout her life.


Wynda’s shining role in life began in 1967 when she had her first child, Daphne Lynn Chesson. Her second daughter, Melanie Anne Chesson, was born in 1971. Even as the years progressed, there was not a day when they did not feel her dedication and support. As one friend recently described her, she was the “pinnacle matriarch,” devoting herself to every aspect of her daughters’ lives. She will always remain their greatest champion, as they carry her tender care and wisdom with them.


Outside of her home, Wynda was very active in her community. Her most significant influence was in the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank School System, where she had many roles, including president of the PAGE organization and co-president of the PTA at Pasquotank Elementary with her husband. She was very involved in creating Kids Kollege, a unique program taught by volunteers at College of The Albemarle and helping to implement Project Graduation at Northeastern High School. Wynda was also elected to the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Board of Education, where she served for six years. While living in Elizabeth City, Wynda was an active member of Corinth Baptist Church. Although she had many roles there, her most significant contribution was as a teacher in the three-year-old class, where she was again able to nurture and teach.


During the summer of 1992, Wynda and Parker moved to Durham, NC. After living in Durham for a year, she became the caregiver for her parents, Fernando and Sibyl Chappell. Her parents lived in her home, receiving her daily care, until each of their deaths.


Wynda and Parker enjoyed traveling, often with their daughters. Amongst their favorite trips were England, France, and Kazakhstan. Their most memorable trip was a road trip in 2010 across the United States, where they visited 26 states and many national parks. Their enjoyment of adventure also led them to live in Texas for eight months in 2003 when Parker was interim chancellor of Alamo Colleges in San Antonio.


Wynda’s brightest sparkle in life began when she became a grandmother to three grandchildren within a matter of months: Tace Chappell Sullivan, Olga Stella Chesson, and Bolat Parker Chesson. Two years later, along came grandchild number four, Cail Nixon Sullivan. Prior to them entering school, she cared for all four when their mothers worked. She continued to be an integral part of their lives as they grew up. Her innumerable acts of love included cooking them meals that couldn’t be replicated, helping them with schoolwork, sitting at dance or sports activities, communicating with them daily, and learning about all the aspects of their lives that made them such special people to her.


Wynda was preceded in death by her paternal grandparents, George Alden and Harriet Copeland Chappell and her maternal grandparents, Edward Walter and Ida Eure Blanchard, her parents, Fernando Richard and Sibyl Blanchard Chappell, as well as her sister-in-law, Edna Cobb Chappell.


She is survived by her husband J. Parker Chesson, Jr., daughters Daphne Chesson and Melanie Chesson, and her four grandchildren: Tace Chappell Sullivan, Cail Nixon Sullivan, Olga Stella Chesson, and Bolat Parker Chesson. Other survivors include a brother, Tilson E. Chappell of Venice, FL, niece Anita Gates of Raleigh, NC, nephew Alan Chappell of Nehalem, OR, and aunt, Thelma Benton, of Rolesville, NC.


There will be a celebration of Wynda’s life at the home of her daughter, Melanie Chesson, in the near future for family and friends.


 In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial donation to the Education Foundation of Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools, P.O. Box 2453, Elizabeth City, NC 27909, or to a charity of your choice.


Wynda’s body will be cremated. A private burial of her ashes will occur at a later date at the UNC Memorial Grove, a wooded site with large oak trees on the edge of the UNC-CH campus. Online memorial condolences can be sent to the family at Hall-Wynne’s website or cards and written words mailed to her home address, 5 Falcon Nest Court, Durham, NC 27713. [Wynda was a fan of the written word and helped keep Hallmark in business!]

The Chesson family is under the care of Hall-Wynne Funeral Service. Online condolences: www.hallwynne.com – select obituaries.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Wynda Chappell Chesson , please visit our flower store.

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