Thelma Saunders Steingold

by | Jun 8, 2020 | Obituaries

Norfolk—Thelma Steingold, 93, was born in Norfolk and raised in the Ghent/West Ghent area. She was the daughter of Isaac and Rose Saunders, immigrants who were devoted, life-long members of Congregation Beth El. After living in Florida for many years, she returned to Norfolk 2 years ago, lived at Harbor’s Edge and passed away May 21, 2020 in her apartment. She loved her short time there and perked up every time her new friend Kori came for fitness.

Thelma was the ultimate “soccer mom” before that term was commonly used. In her younger years, she was keeping up with her four sons—Ira, Lawrence, Joe, and Sam. In addition to their school activities, there was always a soccer game, tennis match, piano lesson and more, where she was present. She claimed (unsubstantiated) to be the only mother in the history of Norfolk Academy to have at least one child enrolled in the school for 28 consecutive years. She continually expressed with pride the accomplishments of her children which involved leadership positions at charitable and educational organizations including Jewish Family Service, CASA, Norfolk Academy, Jewish Museum, H.E.R Shelter, and Ohef Sholom Temple.

Thelma and her husband Maurice were married for 61 years before his passing in 2010. Thelma was a graduate of Richmond Professional Institute (now VCU) in Richmond. They lived for over 20 years in Florida. In addition to their devotion to family, they were passionate about the sport of tennis and all the friends they met along the way. She loved the social aspect of it just as much as the sporting activity. Thelma enjoyed traveling with Maurice around the world and collecting fine works of art that they could enjoy in their home. When her health didn’t permit her to play tennis, she just switched to playing golf and loved that just as much for as long as she physically could.

Thelma was one of five siblings born to Isaac and Rose Saunders—including Ella, Lorraine, Leonard and David. The Saunders and Fine families settled in the Norfolk area and were great in number and spirit. Family gatherings for holidays and other celebrations were frequent and meaningful. Upon her marriage to Maurice, she was welcomed into an equally big family of the Steingold/Laibstain group. She became just as devoted to the extended Steingold families, being close throughout her life with many special nieces and nephews throughout the families.

Thelma is survived by her four sons Ira, Lawrence, Joe and Sam (Trish), all in Virginia Beach; her much loved grandchildren, Michael in Tokyo, Max and Rose, both UVA-bound; and her brother Leonard in Florida.

A graveside was held at Forest Lawn Cemetery with Rabbi Rosalin Mandelberg officiating. Memorial contributions to Jewish Family Service, Virginia Beach CASA, or a charity of your choice.