Virginia Luce Fleming was born in Jacksonville, Texas, in 1920, lived there through her young adulthood and returned to the East Texas town 40 years ago. In between that span, she and her husband, Rev. Archie Fleming, served many Methodist churches including Groves and Nederland.
Rev. Fleming died in 1986. Calling upon her faith, her resilience as a child of the Great Depression, and the help of sons Archie, Jr. and Greg, Virginia continued to thrive. Her remarkable 102-year life ended Saturday in Beaumont. She had remained active, sprightly and independent until an infection led to hospital and rehab stays over the past two months.
Virginia was the only child of George and Annie Mae Bass Luce. She graduated from high school in 1938, then attended Tyler Commercial College to train in bookkeeping. She met Archie while he was attending Lon Morris College in Jacksonville. They were in Groves early in his ministry, and in Nederland from 1969 to 1976. Archie was also a pastor in Liberty, LaMarque and Freeport. Her dad worked as an agent for Magnolia Oil Company; and Virginia, while still in school, earned 50 cents on Saturdays working in a general store. She said her days lasted until the last potential customer might come in off the street.
Virginia recalled cold nights in their unheated Jacksonville home, using nine homemade quilts in a futile attempt to stay somewhat warm and a Christmas wish for a doll, but Santa left an orange.
Mrs. Fleming had started serving as the bookkeeper for Greg’s floral business in Nederland in 1974. She would drive herself from Jacksonville to Nederland until turning 90. For the next eight years Archie, Jr. and Greg would share turns driving her back and forth so she could continue doing the books, “with no computer, but with a #2 pencil and 24-column ledger paper.”
Virginia loved doing yard work and continued walking behind her lawn mower until 98. Age, Greg said, was just a number to her, no big deal. For the last year and a half she went twice weekly to physical therapy from Dr. Mark Culver, made weekly trips to the beauty shop and treated herself with occasional facials.
She is survived by sons Archie, Jr. of Jacksonville, Greg of Nederland, and grandsons Matt Fleming, Atlanta, Ga., and Justin Fleming, Las Vegas, NV.
A gathering of family and friends will be Thursday, September 29, 2022 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. with her Celebration of Life to begin at 6:00 p.m., at Melancon’s Funeral Home in Nederland. A graveside service will be held at 2:00 p.m., Saturday, October 1, 2022, at Still Water Memorial Gardens in Jacksonville, Texas.
Memorial contributions can be made to The Children’s Home in Waco, Texas, 1111 Herring Avenue, Waco TX 76708 or to the charity of your choice.