Olivia Romaine Borum Wilcher, 86, teacher who’s remembered for knowledge of family and local history

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Olivia Romaine Borum Wilcher
Olivia Romaine Borum Wilcher

Olivia Romaine Borum Wilcher, 86, passed away peacefully, Friday, May 6, 2016, at Mary Immaculate Hospital, Newport News.

Her life began on August 5, 1929, the daughter of the late Alphonso and Sadie Cooke Borum of Hornsbyville.

She was honored as the valedictorian of the graduating Class of 1946 of York County Training School. Mrs. Wilcher continued her education and received both bachelor’s and master‘s degrees from Howard University. It follows, therefore, that she was an avid Howard University supporter.

She spent 38 years working within the York County School Division; she taught at York County Training School, James Weldon Johnson School and York High School. She retired in 1989.

She was a lifelong member of Grafton Baptist Church Harris Grove, where she enjoyed attending Wednesday afternoon Bible Study and the activities arranged by the Seniors On the Move Group. She also enjoyed writing articles for the church newsletter, serving on the Anniversary Souvenir Booklet Committee and Building Fund Committee. Her dedication to education led her to join HYPE, a group that helped youth prepare academically and socially to serve within the community.

An impeccable grammarian, Mrs. Wilcher was regarded for her precise elocution and insistence on proper word choice. Not surprisingly, she was often called upon to deliver announcements and readings before congregations and other audiences. A lifelong resident of Hornsbyville, she will be remembered for her knowledge of family and local history.

Mrs. Wilcher was proud to be a member of the Lee Bertie Norton Scholarship Committee, which awards scholarships to deserving high school seniors to assist with college tuition. She was also a member of the York County African American Cultural Society that hosted community activities to commemorate Black History Month.

Sister Wilcher was a member of the Virginia State Grand Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, for over 50 years. She served as worthy matron for Electa Chapter Number 19 for several terms. She also served as treasurer before becoming worthy matron. Her efficiency with records was truly admired and appreciated. She was considered the ‘glue’ that held Electa together.

Romaine was also preceded in death by her two brothers, Thomas W. Borum and Wilbert T. Borum.

Mrs. Wilcher is survived by her devoted daughter, Shauneille Romaine Wilcher of Hornsbyville. Those who will also miss her dearly include a nephew, Michael Borum (Kim); four nieces, Joan Borum, Cathy BaCote (Theodore), Jennifer Bechet (Leon) and Colette Gresham (Doran); two beloved sisters-in-law, Theresa Borum of Yorktown and Ethel E. Borum of Newport News; two closely-held cousins, Alice Cooke Washington and Thelma Harrod Griffin, both of Yorktown; and a host of great-nephews and great-nieces, one great-great-niece, one great-great-nephew, cousins and countless friends. In addition, Mrs. Wilcher’s many former students are left with kind remembrances to complement the knowledge she helped instill in them.

A viewing will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, May 12, at Whiting’s Funeral Home, 7005 Pocahontas Trail, Williamsburg. A funeral service will be held 1 p.m. on Friday, May 13, at Grafton Baptist Church Harris Grove, 1301 Old York-Hampton Highway, Yorktown. The Rev. Reginald N. Bagley will be officiating services. Interment will follow in the church’s cemetery.

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