Nellouise Donoho Stepp, 82, passed away Saturday, March 4, 2017.
Born in Glendale, S.C., Nellouise was adopted as an infant by the late Erban and Emma Sams of Weaverville, N.C. She married Harold Stepp in 1954. His assignments as a government contractor, field engineer and later a civil service employee with the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy led to their living and traveling extensively throughout the United States and Europe. They finally settled down in Virginia Beach in 1969.
When her children reached high school age, Nellouise decided to get a job outside the home. Her career with Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation began modestly; she was hired as a part-time minivan driver for senior citizens. What started as a job became a calling. She could not help but become more involved in the lives of our city’s senior citizens, a group she dearly loved, and the feeling was mutual.
Over the course of her 23-year career ‘Weezie’ opened new doors to socialization and friendship for the elderly population of Virginia Beach. In 1979, she founded the Virginia Beach Seasoned Couples Club for couples 60 and older. Members met on the second Wednesday of the month to enjoy luncheons, guest speakers and a variety of entertainment venues. Many deep and lasting friendships were formed. The club’s activities weren’t confined to the local area; Couples Club members went on Parks and Recreation-sponsored trips to many destinations within the eastern continental United States and even Hawaii.
Nellouise was also responsible for establishing the Beach Tones choral group, which remains active to this day, singing at venues throughout Virginia Beach. In 1991, she was assigned to the Bayside Recreation Center working full-time with senior and youth programs until retiring in 1996.
In July 2004, at the 25th anniversary celebration of the club, Nellouise was honored for her efforts by then-Mayor Meyera Oberndorf, former co-workers and others whose lives had been enriched by the Couples Club. Members considered themselves to be a family. In 2009, the club was opened to all seniors and the name changed to the Virginia Beach Seasoned Citizens Club.
Left to cherish her memory are her husband of 62 years, Harold E. Stepp; daughter, Deborah S. Kirkpatrick, and her husband, Charles E., of Virginia Beach, Va.; son, Harold E. Stepp Jr., and his wife, Janet, of Melbourne, Fla.; and four grandchildren, Jennifer and Benjamin Stepp and Erin and Ian Kirkpatrick.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 25, at Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home, Bayside Chapel, 1457 Independence Blvd., Virginia Beach. A celebration of life will be held immediately following the service at the Aragona Moose Lodge, 3133 Ships Corner Road, Virginia Beach. Please RSVP by no later than March 16 to Debbie Kirkpatrick at firstname.lastname@example.org or Harold Stepp at email@example.com if you plan to attend.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Southeastern Virginia Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association or Union Mission Ministries.