In 1915, in a farmhouse in Roanoke County, a three-pound baby girl was born. The attending doctor advised the parents, Pearl May Reynolds and John Lee Reynolds, not to name the baby because she would not survive, just to keep her warm. Well, that baby girl was named Mozelle Nesebeth Reynolds and she lived 102 years, until her passing on June 29, 2017. She outlived four sisters, Evelyn Jones Hall, Charlotte Walker, Winslow Thurman, Juanita Reynolds and five brothers James Schoolcraft Reynolds, John Reynolds, Jr., Calvin Reynolds, Frank Reynolds and Ranny Reynolds.
She was married 56 years to Garner P. Dobyns, who also preceded her in death. She is survived by nieces Barbara Hawks, Betty Jones Rice, Elaine Thurman Belyea and Margaret Hodge; nephews Jim Reynolds, Ron Reynolds, Phil Reynolds, Keith Reynolds, Doug Reynolds, Mike Reynolds and Tony Reynolds. Also surviving her are sisters-in-law Peggy Reynolds and Jackie Reynolds, who were incredibly supportive and helpful in the last four years when Mozelle needed help, instead of being able to provide it to others.
During WWII, she worked at Radford Arsenal and later at Burlington Hosiery Mill until its closing in 1963. Following the closure, she “retired” to spend time helping her mother and doing things for many others.
Mozelle was active at Ft. Lewis Christian Church in her early life and later spent 65 years at Melrose Christian Church. There she held many leadership roles, including Chairman of the Board. She taught Sunday School for decades and was very active in the Christian Women’s Fellowship.
She was the first female Elder at Melrose and was named Elder Emeritus in 2010. During her years there, she and her husband were the counselors/mentors for the Christian Endeavor [CE] interdenominational youth group and influenced several generations of youth. In 2014, she returned to Ft Lewis Christian Church.
Mozelle survived colon cancer in 1974. In an era when the word cancer was generally not spoken, she was always open about her experience and was an inspiration to many others in living a very active life. She helped many others and even bought groceries for a neighbor until she was 95. She was still mowing her lawn when she was 98. The picture shown here was taken at her 100th birthday.
Visitation is at Lotz Funeral Home, Salem, on Friday, July 7 from 6 – 8 p.m. with the funeral on Saturday, July 8 at 11 a.m. Burial will follow at Sherwood Memorial Park.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Mozelle Dobyns Memorial Fund at Ft Lewis Christian Church, 2931 West Main Street, Salem VA 24153.