Ann Elkins Mills Tharp was Born September 28, 1930 and passed through Heaven’s Gate peacefully on September 30, 2022. And was born in Blackwater Virginia to Merle and Hubert Elkins. She grew up on the farm enjoying the fields and mountains of Powell Valley. She moved to Wallens Creek for the latter part of her childhood when her father Hubert purchased land in that area. After graduating high school, Ann went off to Spalding College in Louisville KY to become an executive secretary. After graduating from Spalding college she met and married James Wesley Mills Junior. They had five children. Two girls Wesley Ann and Victoria and three boys Richard, Michael and David. Wesley Ann died in 1954 of childhood cancer and Michael was killed in a car crash in 1961. In that same crash Ann was severely injured and left in a life threatening coma. She awoke from the coma and was told she would never walk again. Ann not only got out of the bed and walked but she went back to work within a year of the accident to support the remaining three children. Her husband Jim never recovered from the loss and died in 1969. Ann eventually became the executive secretary of the president of Catalysts and Chemicals in Louisville Kentucky. She worked for Dr. Robert Habermill who developed some of the first catalytic conversions used widely today. She left Catalysts and Chemicals and went to Statewide Rural Electric Association to be Executive Secretary to the President. There, she met Clem Tharp the General Manager of Nolin RECC. They developed a close relationship, started dating and in 1971 they were married. Ann became a stay at home mom and a full time volunteer. Ann had volunteered throughout her life. As a working mom and now is a stay-a -home mom. Her passion for service never ceased. As a single mom in the 60s she was the youth leader of Bethany Methodist church MYF and volunteered in Boy Scouts by keeping the books as the treasurer of Cub Scout pack 61. Eventually she was appointed to the secretary/treasurer position for Boy Scout troop 61. She was one of the first female officers in the Boy Scouts of America’s history. After marrying Clem she became president of the Kentucky Women’s Task Force, a political activist group lobbying for the Rural Electric System. Clem and Ann built a home in Elizabethtown Kentucky in 1973 moving there from Louisville. Ann pursued her passion for volunteering when she joined the hospital Auxiliary at Hardin Memorial Hospital. She became the president of the auxiliary there for several decades. Clem passed away in 1988. Ann then moved to their retirement home in Vero Beach Florida where she volunteered in the hospitals there. Eventually she would come back to Jonesville Virginia where she Worked with Cumberland Hospital Auxiliary until late in life. A strong Christian faith sustained Ann through all of her trials and adventures. She taught Sunday school for the youth at Bethany Methodist church in Louisville Kentucky, adult Sunday school at Vero Beach United Methodist church and adult Sunday school at Jonesville Baptist church. And shared her faith with the way she talked and the way she walked. In 2017 Ann again moved to Florida to live with her son Richard. She resided with him in Palatka Florida until her death on September 30, 2022. Ann touched the lives of so many people. She will not only be remembered but she will live on in the hearts of those that she met. May the Lord bless and keep her.
Ann is survived by two sisters, Bobbie Speck of Dayton Ohio and Barbara Elkins of Blackwater, VA, a brother, James Crawford Elkins of Castlewood, VA., three children and seven grandchildren.
A celebration of Ann’s life will be held Saturday, October 8, 2022, 11 AM at First Baptist Church of Jonesville Virginia. Visitation will be from 11AM to 12PM. The funeral service will take place at 12PM, followed by a graveside service at the Bledsoe/Elkins cemetery on Wallens Creek.
Flowers can be sent to Robinette Funeral Home 146 Maple Drive Jonesville Virginia, 24263. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to First Baptist Church of Jonesville or Young Life Putnam County Florida.
Memories and condolences may be expressed to the family at Anna’s Book of Memories page at www.johnsonoverturffunerals.com.
Local arrangements are entrusted to Johnson-Overturf Funeral Home in Palatka.