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Rebecca Jean (Byrd) Stokesbury of Bridgeville and formerly of Ocean City and Smyrna passed peacefully from this life on her 78th birthday, December 13, 2018. As she was throughout her life, she was surrounded by the love of family and friends.
Rebecca – who was known to some as “Becky” some as “Jean” and most everyone just simply as MomMom – was born to Samuel Edward and Lillian F. Byrd in Critz, Virginia on December 13, 1940. She grew up in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and graduated from Hardin Reynolds Memorial School as a member of the class of 1959. During her senior class trip to Washington, DC she met William A. Stokesbury, IV of Smyrna, Delaware. The two carried on a whirlwind courtship by mail even as Jean went off to nursing school and Bill enlisted in the Navy. They were married on June 28, 1961 and together raised four children. During the seventies and eighties, they owned and operated Delaware Electric Signal Company, in which Jean took great pride. After Bill suffered disabling injuries related to his Naval service, Jean became his full-time caregiver, a role she performed until his death in 1998 after 36 years of marriage. From 1988 until her retirement in 2015, Jean was the hostess at the Frog House Family Restaurant in Bethany Beach, Delaware. She was a beloved fixture at the hostess stand and customers would come in year after year looking for Miss Jean. She had a way of making every person she met feel special.
Of all the roles she held in her life, the one she treasured most was that of grandmother. With fifteen grandchildren, fourteen great grandchildren and three more great grandchildren on the way her entire focus has been making sure that every grandchild felt treasured and special. She was such an amazing MomMom that she became MomMom to children (and adults) from near and far who couldn’t resist the kindness of her heart and the warmth of her kitchen. Whether it was pizza, cake, chocolate chip cookies or her Apple Scrapple Festival blue ribbon apple dumplings, MomMom firmly believed that food was the remedy for any ailment.
Jean treasured her family, her friends and her independence. She loved traveling, playing bingo, going to the slots, attending concerts, and spending time with her grandchildren at sporting events and pageants. She gained the nickname BMX Grandma from her time at the BMX track and she carried it with pride. She loved music, especially Scotty McCreery and Elvis. She was known for her Elvis collection and for always carrying her Elvis purse. She loved Walt Disney World and visited as often as possible. Some of her most treasured memories involved trips to Disney with her grandchildren. Jean developed a love of Nascar racing as a young girl growing up near the Martinsville Speedway. Having grown up around and knowing the Woods brothers she always held a special fondness for their drivers but her favorite driver was always an Earnhardt.
Jean was an animal lover and a tremendously empathetic person who believed strongly in spreading kindness wherever you could. She volunteered with OC Town Cats for more than five years and fostered approximately 75 cats. In recent years, she took on the care of three guinea pigs who provided her endless joy. Since 2012, Jean has volunteered with the American Red Cross, earning her five-year service pin this past January. Jean also worked closely as a volunteer with several organizations run by her grandchildren.
Jean is survived by a large family that she taught to love fiercely, live purposefully and believe in the power of angels - including her four children: Daughter Cathy Montefusco and son-in-law Pete of Dover, Dorothy Morris and son-in-law Benjamin of Clayton and Suzanne Farris and son-in-law David of Bridgeville as well as son William A. Stokesbury V (Billy) of Clayton; fifteen grandchildren: Joey Bradley (Ashley), Brian Bradley (Nichole), Amanda Bradley ( Justin Maher), Terri Buker (Matt), Peter Montefusco (Cabyn), Michael Montefusco (Victoria), Ashley Stokesbury (Jason Vicidomini), Brittany Mast (Brian), Jessie Gill (Pat), Benjamin Morris V (Taylor), Rebecca Reding (Chris), Kayleigh Barnes, Harrison Barnes (Paige Thornburg), Shelby Farris and Lilyan Farris; and seventeen great-grandchildren: Justin and Colin Maher, Jenna, Blain and Brody Buker, Mikayla Stokesbury, Hunter Gage Vicidomini (due February 2019), Maxx Mast and Memphis Lee Mast (due December 2018), Sophia, Madelyn, Jocelyn and Dominic Gill, Benjamin Morris, Beau and Colby Reding and Baby Reding (due June 2019); her best friend Jean Belcher of Virginia and countless other friends and loved ones who are already missing her terribly.
Services for MomMom will be held at Faries Funeral home in Smyrna, Delaware beginning with a visitation from 6-8pm on Monday, December 17 and a second chance for visitation from 11am – 12pm on Tuesday, December 18 followed by funeral services officiated by the Rev. Jim Penuel with commitment to follow at Odd Fellows Cemetery in Smyrna, Delaware.
On Sunday, December 23 we hope that everyone who knew and loved MomMom will join us for a joyous celebration of her life at Union United Methodist Church in Bridgeville, Delaware starting at 1pm. Please bring a covered dish and consider bringing a donation to support the packing of care packages for service members through Operation We Care. A list of requested items is available on their website. We ask that for this occasion you dress in festive holiday attire and children are encouraged.
Condolence letters may be sent by visiting www.fariesfuneralhome.com.