Thelma Peach

Obituary of Thelma Vernon Sorrell Peach

Thelma Vernon Sorrell Peach, 97, died peacefully on April 26, 2024, in Lexington, Ky., after a three-year struggle with dementia. Granny Peach, as she was known, was many things to the many loved ones in her life, including three children, eight grandchildren. 14 great-grandchildren and one great-great granddaughter.

So let’s hear from some of them:

“She introduced us all to potato candy and pretzel salad,” grandson Chase Warner wrote. “She made us laugh with her yodeling. She made hand-painted Christmas cards …. She was a truth-teller. She was a caregiver. She was a force. But one of the best things she gave us was her time. When you were with Granny, you got her completely … she was wholly invested in the present moment.”

Added Amy Crowder after her grandmother’s death: “Yesterday …I took to the bed . I just had to let myself feel this loss; yes she lived a long life but that doesn’t make me feel any better. However, she would not be happy with me sitting around being upset, she would probably grab her fly swatter or a switch (and tell me) I have people to raise and things to do and she influenced all of that!”

Granddaughter Chelsi McDonald concluded: “For so much of her life, it was easy to love Granny because she was all of those things (and way more); after all, it's easy to love easy people. But eventually the easy took a back seat to the dementia. It felt cruel and I didn't understand why someone so special, uncomplicated and selfless would (have to) end her life like that.

“But the past three years - and most specifically these last four months - I got to see my dad (Scott Warner) take care of his mom every single day. Tending to her softly, with patience and grace, like a gardener of sorts. Giving the best care for and to his mom who had taken care of people her entire life. Now, it was her turn to receive.”

Thelma was born on April 11 (we think, records were lost), 1927, in Owingsville, Ky., the fifth of eight children of the late Espie and Anna Flora Sorrell, tenant farmers who raised crops, animals and hardy kids in Central Kentucky during the Depression.

Thelma graduated from Clark County High School in 1945, a year after her sweetheart, Maurice Hunter Warner, enlisted in the Army and went off to war. A few months after he returned from Europe, they were married on Christmas Day of 1946. Maybe that’s why Christmas was always so special in Granny Peach’s house. She created a winter wonderland in her living room every December, then took it down and redid it all even bigger the next year.

While Maurice studied at the University of Kentucky’s School of the Fine Arts, Thelma worked designing the windows at downtown Lexington department stores. Their first son, Stuart, was born in 1952.

In 1955, they moved to Millbrook Drive, the home where Thelma would live until just a few months before her death. Scott (1956) and Gina (1959) were born at the new house.

With Maurice's budding commercial art business, three kids and a three-bedroom house with a fenced yard, they were living the bucolic suburban life until Maurice suffered a brain injury after a fall in 1960. He died on the last day of 1961.

But Thelma, then 34 years old, carried on, raising her children alone, taking them to Little League games and dance recitals, until she was remarried, to Raymond J. Peach, in 1965. And that’s how she ultimately became Granny Peach.

The Peaches both loved bowling and brought home numerous trophies. Mr. Peach died in 2014 but Thelma continued with the sport until she was 90, retiring in 2017 after leading her senior league in average and high series.

And while she was many things, Thelma will be remembered best as a caregiver, tending to ailing family members, friends and others with the same nurturing spirit that she provided to the abundant blossoms in her backyard gardens.

“She was such a kind person,” said nephew Jimmy Sorrell, Thelma’s oldest living relative. “We should all try to model our lives to live the way she did.”

In addition to her parents and two husbands, she was preceded in death by her brothers Kenneth, Buford, Jewett and Clayton Sorrell, and her sisters, Mary Lee Littler, Stella Barnett and Phyllis Isaacs. She leaves behind her sons Stuart (Debora) and Scott (Jackie) Warner and daughter Gina (the late James) Greene. Her other grandchildren include Emilie Clemmens, Amanda Poynter, Christye Greene, Denise Schaefer and Chad Warner.

There will be a small, private family Celebration of Life. Thelma will be interred in Maurice's plot at Blue Grass Memorial Gardens.

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A Memorial Tree was planted for Thelma
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Clark Legacy Center - Lexington
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