Our thoughts and prayers go out to Cynthia Thorpe [Blaylock] on the passing of her mother.
Adelaide Rosborough Thorpe
“The Purple Lady”
Sunrise 14 June, 1920 – Sunset 17 October, 2014
Wife, mother, dear friend, and icon of the Brazosport Community, Adelaide Thorpe died peacefully in her home on this sunny October Friday morning. She and her husband, Vincent Ashford Thorpe, spent 60 wonderful years together in their “castle” at Lake Jackson Farms. In her unfailing love of life and our Lord, she carried on without her darling Vincent for another 14 years and 12 days, bringing love, insight, and graciousness to all who knew her. She is survived by their daughters Dr. Sylvia Ashford Thorpe of Bellingham, WA, Cynthia Thorpe Blaylock, son-in-law Forrest James Blaylock, both of Dallas, TX, and grandson Bryan Christopher Barnett of Austin, TX.
Adelaide’s loving parents, Mary Adelaide and John Walker Rosborough of Wilmington, NC, adopted her as baby, back in the day when a child born out of wedlock was not well accepted. She became very ill at age 10 and almost died, but an angel and her devoted parents healed her, giving her butterfly wings to fly to help those people around her and blessing her with keen insight into life and wisdom.
While studying library science at Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, VA, her mother met an interesting and handsome young man at a boarding house. She introduced her daughter to this promising fellow, Vincent Ashford Thorpe, and before you knew it, Adelaide decided to get her MRS degree instead of her BLS! On October 20, 1940 they were wed at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Wilmington, where she was also baptized and confirmed. They came to Freeport on their honeymoon, where Vincent was production supervisor for recently built Ethyl Dow, overseeing the manufacture of ethyl gasoline used during World War II. He encouraged his new bride to help form organizations to serve others in their budding community. Adelaide jumped in with both feet, rolling bandages, knitting socks, and serving hot chocolate with the Red Cross and USO.
In 1945, Adelaide received her second degree – MOM – with the birth of their daughter, Sylvia. Then in 1951, the happy couple (still on their honeymoon, as they would always say) moved to their new home on the lake. The following year their second daughter, Cynthia, was born and their family was complete. While her family always came first, Adelaide continued to enjoy her charitable activities, helping to make the growing Brazoria County area a great place to live. Her areas of interest included: Salvation Army, Community Chest, United Way, Girl Scouts, Child Welfare, Head Start, Brazosport Community Hospital, St. Timothy’s Episcopal, and Daughters of the King. She belonged to Wednesday Review Club, Altrusa, PTA, Lake Jackson Garden Club, and Community Concert Association. She served on the First Freeport National Bank Women’s Advisory Board and TDECU Credit Committee.
In 1980, the Salvation Army presented her with the prestigious “Others” award for helping establish Brazoria County operations, and the United Way bestowed the William D. Colgrove Volunteer of the Year Award for her work with the Red Cross, Brazoria County Child Welfare, Head Start, Girl Scouts, Community Chest, United Way, St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, and the Salvation Army. National recognitions included Who’s Who of American Women, Personalities of the South, and Two Thousand Women of Achievement, an international honor.
Her childhood illness instilled a desire to pursue a medical career, and Adelaide experienced some of her greatest joys working with Brazosport Community Hospital. She moved through the ranks as one of the first “Pink Ladies”, then she joined the Board of Trustees, the Institutional Review Board, and the Brazosport Health Foundation Board. In 1984, when Brazosport Memorial Hospital needed a new logo, Adelaide suggested using a heart shaped design enfolded with a unique swirl, indicating that love is the true medicine. One of her greatest achievements in this realm has been the establishment of the Adelaide R. Thorpe Scholarship Fund, which provides funds for tuition and books for promising nursing students. Established in 2007, four selected individuals have been awarded scholarships to earn associate nursing degrees at Brazosport College in exchange for three years employment at Brazosport Regional Health System. In 2011, the Brazosport Health Foundation renamed a street within the hospital campus in Adelaide’s honor to Thorpe Drive, a most fitting culmination to her lifelong service.
Other recognitions include Head Start’s first Lifetime Friend Award, Soroptimist’s Women of Distinction – 2001, SIDS Steel Magnolias – 2006, Community Foundation Philanthropist of the Year – 2009, and proclamation of Adelaide R. Thorpe Day on November 1, 2007 by the City of Lake Jackson.
For those privileged to know Adelaide Thorpe personally, their loss is great. So fine a woman, full of grace and vision, shall not likely pass our way again. But she would challenge each of us to follow in her footsteps by helping others and appreciating the beauty around us. The family would like to extend sincere appreciation for the dedicated caregivers during Adelaide’s final two years of life on this earth, as well as special friends Linda McKinney, Janis Warny, and Sherlyn Beauchamp.
Celebration of Adelaide’s life will be held Thursday, October 23 at 10:00 at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Lake Jackson with graveside services immediately following at Restwood Cemetery. Visitation will be Wednesday, October 22 from 6:00 – 8:00 at Lakewood Funeral Home. Those planning an expression of their sympathy may wish to consider a contribution to the Adelaide R. Thorpe Scholarship Fund.