Emma Jean “Jeannie” Hensley Dovel, 85, of Roanoke went home to be with the Lord on Saturday, August 1, 2020. She was born on September 5, 1934 in Rockingham County to the late Rev. Ralph and Veridia Williams Hensley. In addition to her parents she was preceded in death by her siblings, Bernice Good, Delmar Hensley and Weldon Hensley.
Jeannie is survived by Elbert Dovel, her best friend and husband of 67 years. Other survivors include children; Kemberly Smith, Lorna “Bonnie” Saunders (Danny Clinedinst), Amy Dovel, Nathen Dovel and Laila Meftah (Rob Marmerstein); grandchildren Carl Saunders (Heather), Deborah Smith, Sarah Shiflet (Wayne), Michael Smith, Jason Saunders (Kaitie) and Brandon Dovel. Also surviving are 7 great-grandchildren; Austin Smith, Jeanna Saunders, Trey Saunders, Jon Saunders, Nick Saunders, Brent Saunders and Arianna Alston.
Jeannie was a servant at heart. She taught Sunday School, served as Director of Foreign Missions, directed Bible School, wrote and directed multiple youth and children’s presentations at church. She served at a community food pantry for several years. She loved sharing her story about how she came to know her Savior at the tender age of 9 years old.
She was devoted to family. She celebrated every victory, supported through each trial, encouraged each to achieve their goals, and shared her faith. She taught how to live and love in word and deed.
Jeannie and Elbert impacted many young lives sharing their boundless love as Foster Parents for Roanoke County Social Services. They accepted each of the children’s challenges and loved them unconditionally. Much heartbreak was experienced while at the same time celebrating the victory of a child returning to his/her parents or finding a loving forever home through adoption. In 1979, Jeannie and Elbert received the Roanoke County Foster Parents of the Year award. She was quoted in the Roanoke Times article, “We try real hard to make every child a part of us.” Jeannie and Elbert fostered over 60 children.
Jeannie and Elbert “Poppie” touched the lives of many neighborhood children and their families during the time she served as home daycare provider.
Pastor Gary Hoffman will conduct a Celebration of Life service at 11 AM on Wednesday, August 5, 2020 at Faith Fellowship in Wirtz, VA. Family will receive friends following the service. In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to her church, Faith Fellowship for the Building Fund, 100 Wirtz Road, Wirtz, VA 24184.
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