Selma Thomson (Wertime)
Selma Margaret Wertime Thomson, 100, of Chambersburg, PA, passed away peacefully at her home on Thursday, May 31, 2018. Born October 3, 1917, in Harmony Cottage on the Wilson College Campus in Chambersburg, she was the last surviving child of the late Rudolf and Flora Edith Montgomery Wertime. Her husband, James Cutting Thomson, whom she married in 1948, preceded her in death on November 1, 1986.
Selma attended the Mary B. Sharpe School (The Broad Street School) for grades 1-3. In 1927, she and her family moved to Roland Avenue, and for grades 4-8 she attended Mount Zion Country School. She took the county exams to get into high school and graduated from the Queen Street High School in 1934. Selma attended Wilson College 1934-1938, where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Music. She then attended New York University 1938-1940, earning a Master of Arts in Music Education. She taught in various elementary and secondary schools in Chambersburg, Newville, and Mount Lebanon, PA and Glen Burnie, MD until 1946. Her professional activities during these years included a radio show based in Chambersburg. Selma taught at New Haven State Teachers College in New Haven, CT from 1946-1951. She spent the next 19 years of her life raising her children, residing in Chambersburg, Lawrence KS, and West Chester PA. Also during this time she served as a substitute instructor at the University of Kansas and returned to NYU to get the 6th year on her Masters’ certificate. Selma taught music education from 1970-1987 at Kutztown University, retiring as an associate professor. After she retired, she moved to Chambersburg and taught music and music appreciation at the Institute for Retired Persons. While living in Lawrence KS, Selma was active in the Girl Scouts and the League of Women Voters, where she organized a conference on water issues. She greatly valued education and loved fine classical music, including opera, and had a series subscription to the Metropolitan Opera for about 30 years. In Chambersburg, she enthusiastically supported local musical endeavors, including Summer Trios and community concerts, such as Concerts at Central. She greatly enjoyed travel and visited at least 16 countries, including Mexico, Spain, France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Germany, Scotland, England, China, Russia, Finland, Greece, and Turkey. She was a lifelong conservationist and avid home gardener with a great love for columbine and roses. Selma was in the process of finishing a book that will be published posthumously, The One-Room Schoolhouse, Memories and Reminiscences.
Selma considered her children “her most precious accomplishment.” She was a doting grandmother, and took great pleasure in her large, extended family of nieces and nephews. Surviving are three daughters, Jean E. Thomson Black (Donald T.) of Darien, CT, Margaret C. Thomson of Harrisburg, PA, and Vivian E. Thomson (Patrick Roach) of Charlottesville, VA; eight grandchildren, Donald S. Black (Rebecca Mason) of Somerville, MA, Christopher W. Black (Megan) of Cary, NC, Amelia Jane Thomson-DeVeaux (Samuel Taxy) of Chicago, IL, Flora C. Thomson-DeVeaux (Paula Scarpin) of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Carolyn Thomson Mauney of Concord NC, Andrew Thomson and (Bonnie) of Lantana FL, Rachel Margargal of Lancaster PA, and Joanna Hanham of Torrance CA; seven great-grandchildren; and her daughter-in-law, Anna Thomson, of Concord NC. Also surviving are numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and nephews, and great-great nieces and nephews. In addition to her parents and husband, she is preceded in death by five siblings, Rudolf Wertime, Mary Katherine Wehausen, Clara Gilmer, Theodore Wertime, and Joseph R. Wertime and a stepson, Ralph G. Thomson.
The family wishes to recognize her dedicated and loving caregivers: Mary Defenderfer, Denise Keener, Larissa Croutch, Crystal Phillips, Skyelar Matson, Rose Mills, Jennie King, and Deb Cover.
A celebration of her life and accomplishments will be held at 11:00 AM on Thursday, June 7, 2018, in Central Presbyterian Church, 40 Lincoln Way W., Chambersburg, PA 17201. Rev. Scott Bowerman will officiate. The family will receive friends on Wednesday, June 6, 2018 from 7:00 – 9:00 PM at the Thomas L. Geisel Funeral Home and Cremation Center, 333 Falling Spring Road, Chambersburg, PA 17202. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent in memory of Selma Wertime Thomson to: The Rudolf and Flora M. Wertime Scholarship Fund, Kutztown University Foundation & Alumni Relations, Kutztown University Foundation, P.O. Box 151, Kutztown, PA 19530; Central Presbyterian Church: Concerts at Central or the Organ Fund, 40 Lincoln Way, Chambersburg PA 17201; National Audubon Society: www.audubon.org; or to Wilson College, The Wilson Fund, Institutional Advancement, 1015, Philadelphia Avenue, Chambersburg PA 17201.