On July 1, 2019, Viola Doris Singletary, loving wife and mother of three, passed away at the age of 90.
Viola was born on May 8, 1929, in Anderson, TX., to Charles Andrew and Ella Sechelski. Viola was the eighth of ten children raised on a farm, milking cows and feeding chickens before walking miles to and from school, uphill both ways, in the snow and with a warm potato in her pocket for lunch. She and her siblings worked hard to care for many different animals, but did spend time playing in Rocky Creek. Viola had an early love for music and played the clarinet in the band. Because she was so smart, her teachers recommended that she skip a grade, thus allowing her to graduate high school a year early.
After high school, she moved to Houston to live with her oldest sister and brother-in-law. She attended a business school and began working as a secretary in downtown Houston. While walking down the street with a co-worker during a lunch hour, her raving beauty caught the eye of Jim Frank (Buddy) Singletary and her life changed forever. They married in Richmond, TX on June 1, 1949 and settled in southeast Houston where two sons and one daughter were brought into this world. Viola loved children and opened a daycare in her home where she cared for several, plus her own. Her days were spent seeing that her own children were in dance lessons, baseball, cub scouts, piano lessons and making good grades in school. She was a Sunday school teacher, a Cub Scout den mother, and active in the PTA. Her free time was spent talking to neighbors over the fence, telephoning or visiting her siblings, dancing in the living room and bowling a good game in her bowling league. Viola so loved all her siblings and was fortunate that all but one lived in the Houston area.
In August 1964, husband Buddy was transferred and the family moved to Troup, TX., where she spent the rest of her very full life. After taking some accounting classes, she worked as an accountant, bookkeeper and office manager for Troup Lumber Company and East Tex Building Materials until the age of 67. Viola was an active member for many years in the Troup Women’s Civic Organization, Troup Chamber of Commerce and Friends of the Library. She was a member of First United Methodist Church and a Methodist Youth Fellowship Sponsor. She supported her children’s activities by being in the Troup PTA and Band Boosters Club. Viola’s proudest civic duty was serving as the first female Troup City Councilwoman for 12 years. Her love of crafting included many hobbies such as china and ceramic painting, cross stitch, refinishing furniture and collecting antiques. She had a green thumb and loved gardening and was a great cook as well. She and Buddy loved playing bridge with their friends and Viola played competitively in several local bridge clubs. She loved and excelled at the games of bridge, canasta and dominos and played duplicate bridge at the Holt House in Tyler until her mid-80’s.
Viola’s true passion in life was for people. Her warmth and generosity extended to all—her family, neighbors, friends, and strangers. She shared her energy, warmth, and sharp wit with all she met her entire life. Viola, known to her family and grandchildren as “Nannie”, always took care of everyone. She especially loved to feed people – even if you were just dropping by, you would get a glass of iced tea and a piece of pie. In fact, she probably has a ham, a chess cake, and a squash casserole already cooked and in the freezer for her memorial service! Viola loved the Christmas season and would make sure “Santa” didn’t forget anyone. She would call and tell you the gift that she had purchased for you to give someone, just in case you had forgotten to buy something. To this day, she continued sending her entire family funny valentines containing a dollar and never forgot a birthday. She was never too busy to help others. She volunteered her time wrapping and taking gifts to all Troup residents of the local nursing homes, taking meals to family and local shut-ins and with charity activities associated with TWCO. She so generously gave monetary donations to the church, library, veterans, cancer research, boys home, etc…and had enough personalized address labels to last three lifetimes!
Towards the end of her life, she still loved to visit and connect with family and friends and remained a ruthless competitor at dominoes. Her sharp wit and sarcasm were with her even on her final day on earth.
Viola is predeceased by parents, Charles Andrew and Ella Lillian Sechelski; siblings (and their spouses) Helen Marie Mercado (Bob), Anna Mae Sechelski, Joe Harold Sechelski (Thelma), Christine Watkins (Glenn), Edward Leon Sechelski (Ginna), Clara Bess Black (Bill), Charles Andrew Sechelski Jr., Robert Lee Sechelski, and Victoria Neely (John). She is survived by husband Jim Frank Singletary; children (and their spouses) Jim Frank Singletary Jr. (Jan), Charles Andrew Singletary (Paula) and Jan Ardath Martin (Steve); eight grandchildren (and their spouses) Jennifer Renee Jennings (Russell), Jon Anthony Singletary (Leslie), Andrea Jean Nossaman (Greg), Rebekah Charity McGrady (Andy), Aaron David Singletary, Josiah Andrew Singletary (Cynthia), Damon Ray Knight (Michelle) and Kristofer Stephen Martin (Aja); eight great grandchildren Finley Grace Jennings, Nash Grady Jennings, Avery Elizabeth Singletary, Abigail Ceora Nossaman, Jacob Lawrence Nossaman, Charlotte Naima Nossaman, Lara Jade McGrady and Brooklyn Rae Knight.
Viola brought intelligence, determination, and humor to all that she did and was a constant example of hard work, grace, and generosity to her children and grandchildren. It is with heavy hearts that we release her to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. “Well done good and faithful servant: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”
Visitation will be Friday, July 5th 6:00-8:00 PM at Cottle Funeral Home, 105 East Bradford St., Troup, TX. 75789. A brief service will be Saturday, July 6th 10:30 AM at the Cottle Funeral Home. A private, family interment will follow the service.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to Cameron J. Jarvis Library, Troup, TX. and First United Methodist Church, Troup, TX.