Sewing 19

Velva (Wilson) Chamberlain

May 29, 1950 ~ November 4, 2021 (age 71)


Velva Ann Wilson Chamberlain

May 29, 1950 - November 4, 2021

Velva Chamberlain, a little girl who liked to sit on her porch and sing praises to the Lord, made a decision when she was just nine years old that would guide the rest of her life: She devoted herself to God.

It was a promise she kept through childhood as she became active in church, through high school and college when she sang in a Gospel choir and into adulthood when she taught Bible classes.

She lived a Christ-centered life every day until she drew her last breath on November 4, 2021, at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio, after a long battle with cancer. Her beloved husband, Walter, and son, George, were at her side when she died at age 71.

Her life will be celebrated in a Homegoing Service at 1 p.m., December 4, 2021, at First Baptist Church, 432 Shrewsbury St, Charleston, WV.

Family and friends will recall an elegant, hard-working woman who was known for her musical abilities and beautiful attire that she made herself. As a teacher, school administrator, and social service worker, she demonstrated boundless love and compassion. She led many people to the Lord and was always an active and enthusiastic church member.

Velva Ann Wilson was born May 29, 1950, in Charleston, West Virginia, to Huriam and Lucille Malloy Wilson.

She grew up in a tight-knit family — her grandmother, a woman of great faith, lived next door and frequently took young Velva to church with her.

Velva had an eye for fashion from the time she was a little girl. She knew her parents didn’t have money to buy the fancy clothes she loved and she taught herself to sew. Throughout her life she enjoyed designing her own clothes and earned a reputation as a sharp dresser.

Velva graduated from South Charleston High School in 1967. A strong student, she went on to West Virginia State College where she graduated cum laude in 1972.

Church was the center of her life through her younger years. She taught herself to play the piano and was a member of her church gospel choir.

Velva was member of the Southern West Virginia Gospel Chorus when it accompanied renowned singer Ethel Caffie-Austin on her 1969 record “Praise this God of Mine.”

After college, Velva started a long career with the Charleston Job Corps Center, beginning as a teacher who helped young people earn their GED and move onto careers.

She loved her job and her students, often referring to them as her children. During this time, Velva led many young people to Christ, even offering to drive students to church.

One day in 1981, Velva was playing the piano at the First Church of God in Christ in Kimberly, West Virginia, when she met a fellow churchgoer, Walter Harold Chamberlain.

They were married in a joyful ceremony on August 22, 1981, at the First Baptist Church of Charleston. Pastor Bernard Sheely was a groomsman and his wife, Annie Sheely, was a bridesmaid. Ethel Caffie-Austin, by then known as West Virginia’s First Lady of Gospel music, and her choir, sang at the ceremony.

Velva continued to serve God as she became a wife and mother. She was a Bible teacher and sang for the First Church of God in Christ.

She set examples of dedication to God and selflessness as she raised her son, George Earl Chamberlain IV. Velva and Walter worked hard and sacrificed so their son could attend private school and they applauded his success.

She wasn’t a prideful woman, but allowed herself rare moments of satisfaction when her son was accepted at top colleges and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law.

Velva’s career continued to advance. She served as academic manager and vocational manager, overseeing the Job Corps program development, budgeting, staff training and curriculum.

After 36 years of service, she left the Charleston Job Corps Center. She then worked for the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, where she served as both a child and adult protective service worker.

She owned several sewing machines and collected hundreds of sewing patterns. Velva liked to cook new dishes, but her favorites remained the Southern food of her childhood — fried chicken, cornbread, greens.

Church and devotion to God remained the center of her life and brought her great comfort when she became ill.

In addition to her husband, Walter, and son, George, Velva is survived by a wide circle of church family as well as her brothers, Harriston and Sylvan Wilson; and a sister, Brenda Marshall, all of Columbus, Ohio. Her parents and a brother, Terrance Wilson, died earlier.

Cook & Son-Pallay Funeral Home, 1631 Parsons Ave., Columbus, OH 43207, handled arrangements.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Velva (Wilson) Chamberlain, please visit our floral store.


Memorial Gathering
December 4, 2021

1:00 PM
First Baptist Church (Charleston, Charleston Job Corps Center)

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