Edith Harryman

March 8, 2024
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Edith Harryman Obituary

Edith Mae Wunder-Harryman 92, of Virginia Beach went to be with the Lord on Friday, March 8, 2024.  She was born in Baltimore, Maryland on February 29, 1932 to the late Jennie Leona Michel Wunder-Ackerman and the late Harry Albert Wunder.  She was married for 17 years to the late Maj. Douglas Turnbull Harryman Sr., and they had three children, Rev. Victoria Rae Midgett, the late Dr. Douglas Turnbull Harryman II (Kevin), who was also a Major in the Airforce, and Lisa Brooks Carlson (Tommy Ackiss).  Edee as she was known to her friends had two brothers, the late Harry Albert Wunder Jr. that died as an infant and the late Harry Dale Wunder(Carol) of Silver Spring, Maryland.  She was a devote Christian and was a member of Foundry United Methodist Church in Virginia Beach singing in the choir for 4 years and later a member of The Rock Church of Virginia Beach for 40 years, being one of the original members of the church in the 1970s in Virginia Beach.  She loved CBN and had listened to them when they first started their ministry in Portsmouth, Virginia on a radio station.  She loved TBN and listened to them every day on her television.  Edee was a generous philanthropist to many organizations whether Christian, Jewish, African, Native American, or Hispanic and gave to many different charities and collected monies for Cancer Funds and March of Dimes.  She was a breast cancer survivor, and her son that she loved dearly died of cancer, and she made sure to donate to help others so they could have victory over cancer. She was also a patron of the Arts, loving the opera, ballet, plays, Shakespeare in the Park, The Little Theater, The Chrysler Museum, the symphony and the Boardwalk Art Show.  She was a model for a painting and a sculpture by a local Virginia Beach artist. She wrote a play for the Girl Scouts, directed it, and did the costume designs, and choreographed dances for 5 talent shows at King’s Grant Elementary.  She was also a PTA officer and room mother for her children.  She made many costumes that won awards.  She sewed and repaired clothes for young men of the Church, and donated clothing to anyone that needed it.  Edee had a Bible study for adults and then later a Bible study for teens and young adults.  The second grew so big that her house could not contain them all and the youth became a strong network of young adults that loved God, enjoyed being with each other and worshipped at Rock Church, helping to build it with their construction skills and musical talent.  This was during a time of a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit and revival in the 1970s. Edith Mae had attended Towson High School in Baltimore Maryland and graduated early at 16 in 1948, which was a fantastic accomplishment as she had been hit by her teacher’s car passing the school bus as she was getting off the bus as a child and spent a whole year bedridden.  At that time she devoured books and was very fond of the works of author Robert Louis Stevenson, who had spent much time in bed as a child due to his health, she empathized with him, and grew a love for poetry and novels that later was instilled into her children and grandchildren.  After she graduated from Towson High School she went to work for the city of Baltimore in the Medical Examiner’s Office and Morgue at 16 years old.  She had memories from that job that would haunt her for life, but she did enjoy the Undertaker’s Ball every year.  She was married in 1951 to Maj. Douglas Turnbull Harryman and later that year she had her first child Victoria Rae while still living in Baltimore.  Later in 1953, while still in Baltimore she had Douglas Turnbull. Her husband was a Major in the Air Force and was a computer programmer and installer for the military and for colleges and schools so they moved often from state to state.  First to Mount Marion, New York in the Catskill Mountains and then to Bath, Maine where her husband also taught computer science at the university.  Then to Livingston, New Jersey and next to Paramus, New Jersey where their third child was born, Lisa Brooks.  After this she moved to Elmira, New York.  While in New York and New Jersey she fell in love with their fashion, plays, ballet, and symphony.  Then in 1963 to Virginia Beach, Virginia.  Edee had many different jobs while also being a housewife and attending Key Business College, TCC and Rock Church Bible College.  She took private Russian lessons and learned Greek .  She worked for the Medical Examiner’s Office and for the morgue, was a key punch operator, a bus driver for the Catholic School and for Rock Academy.  She was an accountant for Adkins Furniture Store in South Norfolk.  She was a carrier for the United States Postal Service in Virginia Beach and she worked 25 years for the Detective Bureau of Virginia Beach, and worked 2 jobs, taking care of her grandchildren full time, and working full time for the detective bureau.  Edee was a hard worker that was always busy and she had a saying from a quote of Benjamin Franklin, “If you want something done ask a busy person.”  She found time to have fun playing basketball with her son and his friends.  She had lettered in high school in Volley Ball and enjoyed bowling on a league with her husband Doug in every state they lived in.  Her and her husband played Bridge in a Bridge Club and Pinochle, and she enjoyed rummikub, canasta and many other games.  She was very competitive and also enjoyed exercising her mind with daily crossword puzzles and she read the newspaper every day.  She loved learning and teaching and had tricks she taught people to remember how to study for tests and retain the information.  She had a flair for the unusual and liked modern furniture, before its time with acrylic and glass tables and chairs.  People thought her odd with her full dead tree in the living room that she decorated and her ornaments that hung from the ceiling that are typical in any IKEA store now and made into lamps.  She had made a coffee table out of an old door and made her own curtains for windows as well as pull down shades for book cases.  She displayed the taxidermy trophy mounts of her husband and loved his charcoal drawings.  She let her children have many pets of all kinds from salamander, snakes, cats, chickens, rabbits, turtles, snails, ducks, guinea pigs, guinea hens, and a rooster to helping feed and take care of horses, parrots, dogs, and cats and other animals of her children when they were adults.  She interested her children in the sciences with projects and chemistry sets, short wave radios, and project kits of all kinds, dissecting frogs and viewing of slides through microscopes, and viewing the stars through telescopes.  Edee was very active and later when she was divorced she mowed her own grass and raked leaves on a large property and her neighbors would honk their horns as they drove by with her long black hair blowing in the wind as she worked.  She was very friendly and would strike up a conversation with anyone.  She loved plants and her grandfather had a wholesale florist company in Maryland that supplied all the local florists with their many greenhouses full of flowers and plants.  She had a green thumb and enjoyed growing many indoor as well as outdoor plants and her mother even created a new hybrid azalea-rhododendron.  The love of every kind of plant was part of her family inheritance.  She spent time with her children and grandchildren and great grandchildren and taught them first and foremost about God and Jesus and helped them to read.  She gave them many clothes and created styles that were upbeat and surfer skater cool.  In the 1960s she would load up the station wagon with surfboards for her children and friends and carry a car load of teens to the beach.  Edee had a feel for new trends and created trends herself that others loved to copy.  She was very artistic and loved singing along to the radio in her kitchen and constantly had music or preaching filling the air of the house or car.  Even though she had many wonderful points she was human just like any of us and had her disappointments as well.  As a single mother she struggled to make ends meet and was stressed over how she was going to pay bills and every time God came through for her in miraculous ways.  She fully depended on God to provide for whatever she needed but she worked hard to make sure that she was doing all she could.  She had always wanted to go to Israel and see Jerusalem and when a preacher asked in the church for people to stand that wanted to go to Israel at some time but didn’t have the funds she stood to believe in faith that one day she would go and many years later she did.  Edee went to Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Greece, the Greek Islands, Canada, Nova Scotia, the whole east coast, the west coast and to Hawaii.  She was so happy to get the opportunity to go and it was a pleasure to see her laugh and be carefree relieved of the stressful day to day back at home.  In her later years she was struck with Lymphedema a disease that was caused by her lymph glands being removed when she had breast cancer.  This caused her legs to swell 4 or 5 times their size and she could no longer walk.  She was bound to a wheelchair for 17 years.  She never complained about the wheelchair or how she couldn’t get around.  She moaned in pain, but never complained about it even after the last senior home she ended up in would not allow motorized wheelchairs, and the backs of her legs were cut and red from having to sit in a standard wheel chair and roll wheels with her arms moving her heavy legs down the hall.  She was athletic and determined that she could do it and did until there was no longer anyone to help her get in and out of the bed at the senior home.  Prior to this she enjoyed living in her house and went to Bayside Rehab, and lived at The Gardens Senior home and at her daughter’s house in the country and at Westminster Canterbury Rehab and the Cypress Point Senior Home. She had many unusual things happen in her life. She was born on Februrary 29th a leapling, born in a terrible storm that blew the roof off her parents’ house.  She came in like a Lion into this world, like Spring, and she went out like a lamb with her Lamb, the Lamb of God, Jesus.  She also had been hit by her teacher’s car and almost killed when her teacher had passed the school bus when she was crossing the street getting off the bus and was left injured and unable to get around for a year missing school.  She almost lost her life drowning in a lake and a man saved her life as a child and she wrote a paper for school to honor him.  Edee had whooping cough as a child and almost died of that and her mother put kerosene down her throat to save her.  She survived an abusive marriage from a man that was an alcoholic and threatened her life. She survived breast cancer.  Many times the enemy of God tried to snuff out her life, but she was protected by God.  Most of us today would not exist if she hadn’t.  She became our mother or grandmother or great grandmother or great great grandmother.  She has 41 grandchildren.  One person in this life makes a huge difference.  You are important to God, you are important to Edith Mae Harryman and she loved each and every one of you and always will.  Her life at times went from victim to victorious as her first child’s name states…. Victoria.  She was a tough love person that pushed herself and others to continue on and do the best they can.  She had an attitude of perseverance.  Her legacy is us, each and every one, and she is proud to call you hers.  Most importantly she would say, as Mark said, “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.”…. and don’t forget to love each other.


Rev. Victoria Rae Midgett ,Dr. Douglas Turnbull Harryman II (Kevin)and Lisa Brooks Carlson (TommyAckiss)


Nathaniel Gillespie (Kalyn), Sarah Gillespie, Abram Gillespie, Amanda Wagner, Yahnah Beal (Mike), Brandt Halm (Brandon), Krista Cooper (Tray)

Paige Bornkamp (Kjell), Ian Carlson, Crystal Carlson, Katrina Moore (Christian)

Great Grandchildren

Abbey Gillespie Berrios (Juan), Marina Gillespie Nelson (James Holt), Evalyn Gillespie, Bella Gillespie, Marley Gillespie, Elijah Gillespie

Willow Gillespie, Juniper Gillespie, Radia Pierce, Remington Moore, Baby Moore, Wade Cooper, Brynn Cooper, Reese Cooper   , Luke Cooper

Aaron Halm, Pierce Halm, Wessel Bornkamp, Eliza Bornkamp, Adele Bornkamp, Nadia Gray, Miles Gray

Great Great Grandchildren

Jackson , Olivia, Reilly, Christian, Novalee, Matthew, Juniper ,and Winsley

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