Sibyl Doggett Gillespie, 75, of Carrollton, VA, died peacefully in her home on Tuesday, December 18th. A committed member of her church and community as well as a devoted wife, mother and grandmother, Sibyl will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved her.
Sibyl was born on May 15, 1943, daughter of Thomas Glenn and Carrie Stacey Doggett, originally of Rutherford County, NC. She is survived by her husband of over 50 years, Ernest R. Gillespie; three daughters and their spouses, Suzanne Gillespie-Thompson and Carrington Thompson of Suffolk, Catherine Gillespie and Andre Hakes of Charlottesville and Cara and Craig Bennett of Charleston, SC; one brother, Leslie E. Doggett of Chesapeake; three grandchildren, Mason Hakes, Hayden Thompson and Emerson Bennett and many more family and friends.
Having graduated with a BA from Radford College in 1965, Sibyl initially taught home economics at Chincoteague High School. There, at a summer beach party, mutual friends played matchmakers and introduced her to Ernie, a native Chincoteaguer and the love of her life. The two married on June 25, 1967 at Benn’s United Methodist Church in Smithfield, VA and recently celebrated their 50th anniversary with a large and loving crowd of friends and family. They started their family together in a small home in Newport News, VA, but soon moved back to the Doggett family farm in Carrollton where they raised their children and shared their lives.
Sibyl spent most of her life on the farm originally bought by her parents in the late 1940’s where she learned that the most important things were telling the truth and honoring the importance of family. She put forth tremendous love and care to insure their family traditions of meals and holidays together as well as Sunday morning church and summer trips to Chincoteague. From swimming with her teenage friends in Jones Creek to throwing her children’s birthday parties in the family home, to gazing at the sunsets over the water as she was cared for in her final days, Sibyl shared that, “Growing up and living on this farm has been my ideal of a family life.”
Sibyl, a member and leader in the Carrollton Women’s Club for nearly 40 years, was honored to help lead the group’s effort in raising money for the creation of the first Carrollton Library in Carrisbrook in the early 1980’s, and again for the establishment of the current Carrollton Branch of the Blackwater Regional Library in 1999. She was proud of initiating the women’s club’s most successful fundraiser in their annual lunch and fashion show which has raised almost $80,000 since the early 1990’s for many community causes. Sibyl was also active in the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution serving as Registrar for several years, patiently helping new members trace historical documents and research their family genealogy.
After teaching, Sibyl had the fortune of pursuing a second career that allowed her to serve her community in a different capacity. In the early 1980’s, she served as Carrollton’s first full-time librarian in Carrisbrooke. In 1989, she became Assistant Branch Manager at the Smithfield Library when it made its big move from Church Street to James Street, and in 2001, she became Director of Human Resources for the Blackwater Regional Library before retiring in 2004. Sibyl had a fulfilling and rewarding career offering nearly twenty years of service to the community through our area’s library system.
Active in her community in many ways, Sibyl’s longest and deepest commitment was to her church, Benn’s United Methodist. From being a member of the UMYF as a teenager to being a member of the Adult Fellowship Class as an elder, Sibyl was engaged in the church throughout her life, serving on virtually every standing committee. She was most recently proud of helping the church create their new contemporary worship service. Sibyl cared deeply about serving God, serving her church and serving her community.
A funeral service will be held on Saturday, December 22, 3 PM at Benn’s United Methodist Church, Smithfield, VA. Graveside services will follow at St. Luke’s Memorial Park Cemetery. The family will receive friends Friday evening from 6 to 7 p.m. at Little’s Funeral Home and suggest that memorial donations be made to either Benn’s United Methodist Church or the national ALS Association.
Online condolences may be registered at www.littlesfuneralhome.com.