Claretha E. Fontelroy

Claretha E. Fontelroy, 89, of Parsons peacefully passed away at 12:45 a.m. Monday, Sept. 26, 2022, at Labette Health. 

Claretha Edwina Ponds was born on Nov. 25, 1932, to Joseph and Willie Beatrice (Brewster) Ponds in Muskogee, Oklahoma. As a young girl, she moved with her family to Parsons, where she grew up and attended Douglas School. She continued her education at Parsons High School. 

Claretha was employed by the Labette County Health Department prior to her employment with the Parsons Police Department. For 30 years, she served as a public safety/emergency medical dispatcher and obtained various certifications from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) before retiring in 2002. After retirement, she volunteered at the Parsons foodbank and St. Vincent de Paul Society Thrift Store. She was recognized by Labette Health as volunteer of the year for her service as a “Pink Lady.” Claretha loved helping people and was loved by many who affectionately called her Mom.

Claretha accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior at a very early age and was very active in the church. She supported her husband’s efforts when he started his official ministry in 1976. She held various titles, including first lady of Saints Memorial COGIC (Galena), church mother of Pleas Temple COGIC (Independence) and member of Pleas Chapel/Watson Memorial COGIC (Parsons).

Her greatest joy was relaxing on her front porch in the sun, shopping, collecting church hats, traveling and, most of all, spending time with her family, especially her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Claretha and Walter H. Fontelroy Sr. were married for over 50 years and blessed with 15 children.

Survivors include five sons, Ronald E. Fontelroy of Houston, Texas, Dennis Fontelroy (Tietha) of Wichita, Albert “Joe” Fontelroy of Parsons, Mark A. Fontelroy (Carol) of Gulf Port, Mississippi, and David Fontelroy of Parsons; five daughters, Retha Davis (Gary) of Pomona, California, Michelle Fontelroy,

Evangeline Fontelroy and Beatrice Fontelroy, all of Parsons, and Christine Fontelroy-Hill (Edwin) of Joplin, Missouri; 26 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Walter H. Fontelroy Sr., on Jan. 7, 2000; five sons, Walter Jr. on Feb. 23, 2010, Carl on Oct. 1, 2011, Thara on Jan. 12, 2022, and infants Phares and Michael; two brothers; and four sisters.

The service will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Watson Memorial Church of God in Christ. Burial will follow at Oakwood Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at Forbes-Hoffman Funeral Home.

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