Katherine Louise Barden Spady

Published 6:18 pm Monday, January 4, 2016

SUFFOLK — Katherine Louise Barden Spady died peacefully in her sleep on Jan. 4, 2016, at Lake Prince Woods, Suffolk, where she had been living since August 2014. Her husband of 66 years, Frank A. Spady Jr. died in February 2013.

Katherine Louise Barden was born to Annie Barrett Barden and Andrew Jackson Barden on June 26, 1920, a few minutes before her twin brother William Herbert Barden. He died at his home in Winter Haven, Fla. this past July, a month after the twins celebrated their ninety-fifth birthdays together in Suffolk. Katherine Barden grew up at 116 Poplar Ave. in the Berkley section of Norfolk and graduated from Maury High School in 1938. After attending the Norfolk Extension of the College of William and Mary (now Old Dominion University), she transferred to the College of William and Mary where she graduated in 1942 with a double major in English and library science, which she studied under Dr. Gregg Earl Swem. She began her teaching career in Franklin during World War II, continuing there for four years.

In the summer of 1945, friends introduced her to Lt. Frank A. Spady Jr. on a blind date. They married the next year and lived for a short time in Boca Raton, Fla. where he was stationed. They then returned to Virginia to live in her husband’s native village of Chuckatuck. With the exception of two years in North Augusta, S.C. and one in Norfolk, while her husband was beginning his architectural career, they remained in Chuckatuck until 1985 and then moved to Eclipse to be closer to their grandchildren.

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After many years as a substitute teacher, Mrs. Spady returned to fulltime teaching at Chuckatuck elementary and high schools (later John Yeates High School) in 1965, specializing in English grammar, reading and American literature. At John Yeates, she also served as assistant librarian and then moved into the position of head librarian. In addition to her work in the classroom and library, she sponsored the junior class, yearbook, and Beta Club.

She retired from public education in 1982. That same summer, the Suffolk Library opened a branch in Chuckatuck and Mrs. Spady accepted the position of lead volunteer, which she continued for the next twenty years. In addition to managing volunteers to staff the library, she initiated “Saturday Story Time” for children, assisted with record keeping and ordering, processed donated books and inspired people to read—her lifelong passion.

In her youth, she was a member of Berkley Avenue Baptist Church. After moving to Chuckatuck, she and her husband joined Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church, which he had attended as a child. She remained an active member until last year and at the time of her death, was the congregation’s oldest living member. Besides playing the piano and organ for church activities such as Sunday school, church services, and Vacation Bible School, she was a member of the United Methodist Women, served multiple terms as a member of the Board of Directors, taught Bible school and Sunday school classes for both youth and adults, and for decades selected educational materials for the Sunday school classes. On the occasion of the church’s 100th anniversary, she and her husband wrote and published a series of articles on the church’s history.

Among her community activities, she was a member of Delta Kappa Gamma Society for women educators, and a founding member of the Chuckatuck Book Club. She also volunteered as a Girl Scout and Cub Scout leader. 

Survivors include her five children, Karen S. Hazelwood and husband, Thomas; Matthew F. Spady and partner, Scott Robinson; Jean S. Keeling and husband, James; James E. Spady and wife, Kevin Wood Spady; Frank A. Spady III and wife Denise Hewitt Spady; six grandchildren, Jean Adams Hazelwood; Sidney Bertram Hazelwood II and wife Melissa; Katherine Suzanne Keeling Dorman and husband, Jacob; Adam Barrett Keeling and wife Christina, Anne Barden Spady, Alexander Matthew Spady; and four great-grandchildren, Sidney Bertram Hazelwood III, Jackson Barrett Dorman, Molly Russell Hazelwood, Savannah Faye Keeling and numerous nieces and nephews. 

The Spady family would like to thank the staff of Lake Prince Woods, Home Instead Senior Care, Heartland Hospice, and the wonderful women who provided loving care to their mother in her final years, Judie Ashworth, Priscilla Zimmerman, Suzanne Yeomans, and especially Lillie Jernigan.  

A funeral service will be conducted on Thursday, Jan. 7, 11 a.m. at Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church by the Reverends Brandon Nichols and Ileana Rosario. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends in the R.W. Baker & Co. Funeral Home and Crematory, 509 W. Washington St., Suffolk, on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 6 – 8 pm. Condolences may be registered at www.rwbakerfh.com. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church in Chuckatuck.