Thelma Louise was born on September 7, 1930 as the sixth child of Sam B. and Clara Large Skipwith. Thelma is the last of nine siblings to relocate to her heavenly home. Professing her faith in Jesus Christ at an early age at Walkers' Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Birmingport,AL, her love for God, service to others and gift of music were nurtured. Thelma graduated from Praco High School where she met the man she would later marry. Her brother Sam Skipwith, Jr gave her the nickname
"Honey Bunch" that was shortened to "Bunch."
Clara and Sam moved their family to Brighton, Alabama where they joined St. Mark
A.M.E. Church. Thelma married Odis Northorp on August 11, 1953. Unto their union three children were born: Vincent, Yolanda Renee and Cynthia Faye. Valuing education, Thelma and Odis sacrificed to send their children to Catholic schools and to college.
Thelma's music gift was evident during her formative years. Her parents sacrificed to nurture this gift to augment her natural ability to play by ear. This gift became her life-long ministry. Thelma was well-known for her music abilities and has played in many churches over the years. Her longest music ministry was to St. Mark A.M.E. Church. She hosted and practiced with many musicians, singers and soloists in her home. She often would hear gospel music on the radio and sit down at the piano to, as she put it, "bump out" the song playing.
Thelma rarely mentioned her charity to others. Her home-cooked meals and baked sweets were well-loved. She would not sell her delicious cakes and pies, but gave them as a blessing. Often, she sent plates of food to those that just needed a little help or just because they asked. Her cherished advice was to "have a wide variety of friends from all walks of life." The telephone was one way she was able to talk to so many family members and friends. Her predeceased siblings, Mattie Lee Willliams, Willie Mae Pruitt, Sarah Louise York, Maggie Nell Mitchell, Sam "Bud"Skipwith, Jr., James Skipwith, Johnny Otis Skipwith and Juanita Denise Lee, were always close. They were a stabilizing support and joy network for family and friends.
Thelma enjoyed celebrating the holidays. Her feast-cooking was well-known with many requests for a "taste." Additionally, she and her late husband Odis were an awesome pair of barbeque connoisseurs.