Catholic 02

Theresa Margaret Gheen

May 1, 2020


Mrs. Theresa Margaret Gheen, age 105, passed away May 1, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. Mrs Gheen lived a long, adventurous life with admiring family. Mrs. Gheen was born in September 1914 to Margaret and Louis Portas, immigrants from Hungary. Orphaned at a young age, she became the daughter of her aunt Elizabeth Kovacs and Alec of York County, Pennsylvania. As a young woman, she married Mr. William Elliot Gheen, Sr. (D. 1972) of Maclean, Virginia. Mrs Gheen was the source of strength, care, nurturing, intelligence and guiding faith for her family which grew to include three children; Mrs. Theresa Louise Ritcherson (b. 1937), Dr. William Elliot Gheen, Jr. (b. 1938) and Mrs. Rachel Helen Hebert (b. 1940, d. 2014). Mrs Gheen saw over a century of change in the United States, including the Great Depression, civil rights movements, world wars, peace, and several technological revolutions. she admired the pursuit of education, though she had been permitted to attend school only up to grade 8. A lifelong learner, Mrs Gheen adapted and expanded the knowledge and skills she acquired as a child on a farm and as a student in a one-room school house to work as a bookkeeper and assistant manager with her husband. Together, they worked for and traveled with the Cristiani Brothers Circus, rogers Brothers Circus, Clyde Beatty Cole Brothers Circus and Bill Monroe's bluegrass band, among others. One of Mrs Gheen's crowning achievements was homeschooling her children through elementary grades, providing the foundation for their future professional and personal accomplishments. They, like her, inherited a desire to learn, discover, care for, and nurture. When Mrs Gheen retired, she volunteered for many organizations over several decades, raising and donating money to help young mothers and children in need, stopping only when she no longer physically able. Her varied interests including travelling, reading, collecting dolls, and gardening, to name a few. Her daughter Theresa Louise, a retired nurse , cared for Mrs Gheen in her last years.  The generations that followed include eight grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren. Mrs Gheen's husband William, her daughter Rachel, and her great-grandson Zackery Alexander Patterson (d. 2017), among other family and friends who preceded her , today embrace her with open arms in Heaven. Those of us still on Earth will remember Mrs. Gheen with great fondness and admiration as one of the kindest,  gentlest, and most generous people we had the pleasure of knowing and loving.
A funeral Mass for the family will be celebrated at 11 AM Wednesday at Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church. Burial will take place in Zionsview, Pennsylvania. Family will spend their own time with Mrs Gheen at the funeral home on Tuesday.
















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