Friday, June 24, 2016

Our Grief has not subsided, but we remain devoted to our Mission

A Very Personal Note from Thomas Wade Clegg III

Your notes, calls, e-mails and gifts in memory of Rev. Elisheva Clegg, who died in the UVA Medical Center on April 6, have been so meaningful to me and our four children,  plus Sam McLawhorn  and those who have supported our charitable activities over the last eight years.  Please know that in due course I will make contact and respond to your comments and wishes.

Our personal life as ordained Interfaith Ministers, although separate from the IHS public charity, was used as a supportive branch for funds for the charity.  Elisheva was so enthused each time we wrote and performed a wedding, but especially for the last six years when we allowed couples to participate with charitable giving as a part of their fee.

So Much Has Changed and Will Take Time to Adjust

Emotionally, I found myself forgetting simple things and just needing to withdraw for short periods.  I know we are behind in writing e-mails and posting blog notes, but that negligence on my part will change. The emails and blog postings may be shorter, but this next month we will provide more details on those who have been helping.

So Many Have Asked: What happened on April 5-6 that led to Elisheva's death?

I can only tell you that Elisheva did NOT die from cancers in both her lungs. She was working through a well-planned program with the UVA Cancer Center Lung Specialists, beginning at the first of the year.  I have every confidence that the Lung Cancer Center was in route to a complete and fruitful result had Elisheva lived for the removal of the cancer from her right lung which was scheduled for April 7.  She died the day before her final operation.

April 5th beginning at about 5:30 PM was a nightmare in slow motion

Elisheva walked to our upstairs bedroom, following a long conversation of planning for the remainder of the summer.  She called me to come upstairs. She was having intense pain in her back and chest and needed assistance. The ambulance arrived shortly thereafter and we were in UVA Hospital ER within the hour. She remained in ER for at least 6 hours

From slow nightmare to panic alarm

During the transition process from her ER rolling bed to the room bed, Elisheva experienced further distress and a code was sounded. The room filled with a multitude, all working feverously for almost twenty minutes until a heartbeat was noted. Twenty minutes is a long time.

The next move was down the hall to ICU

More hours passed. The description of exploratory intrusion to find the source of the internal bleeding will not be related.  The exploratory was necessary if the bleeding was to be stopped, but the cumulative efforts ended at 0944 hours.

The death certificate reads

Elisheva C. Clegg died of cardiac arrest, hemorrhage, chest wall trauma. Other significant conditions:  PEA arrest from unknown cause, CPR resulting in chest wall trauma.  Now you know what happened as concisely as I can offer.

Some final thoughts

I got through the funeral that Sunday, but I do not remember who was there. Elisheva was there in a lovely wooden coffin which my daughters selected for cremation.  I only had one wish and that was to have all four of my very adult children and their children hear from so many friends what generosity she provided with her life.  She loved so deeply and offered such kindness.  There was never a day when she did not say to me, one of the following several times:  "I love you so much."  " Do you know how much I love you?" " Let's do 20 more years, OK?" And I said, "Twenty years plus one!"   And she would kiss me.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Reverend Elisheva C. Clegg passed away unexpectedly in Charlottesville, VA on April 6, 2016 at the age of 72.

Elisheva is survived by her husband of 43 years, Thomas Wade Clegg III; her children, Ari Jolly and her husband John Jolly of Jacksonville, FL; Yalda Clegg and her husband Scott York of Alexandria, VA; Kristine Bechtel and her husband Todd Bechtel of Charlotte, NC; Wade Clegg IV and his wife Jolene Clegg of Los Angeles, CA, and sister in law Judith Clegg of Tupelo, MS.  She was also the loving grandmother of Chandler and Jack Jolly, Zachary and Joshua Bechtel and Arthur and Elsa Clegg.
Elisheva C. Clegg was born on January 22, 1944 in Kaiserslautern, Germany and was a war baby survivor of WWII.  She met and married her soulmate Thomas Wade Clegg III on June, 25, 1972 while he was stationed with the US Air Force serving at Ramstein AFB in Germany.  The entire family moved to the United States when Wade completed active duty with the US Air Force in 1974.
Elisheva was compassionate and found her calling in counseling and helping others in times of need.  She received a master's degree in pastoral counseling and became an ordained interfaith minister.  She also attended the UVA medical center chaplaincy program.

She was a kind, generous, witty, dedicated individual to all who had the privilege of meeting her.  She was extremely passionate about helping those who were unable to help themselves in times of crisis.   It was this need that led her, Wade and co-founder Sam McLawhorn to create the nonprofit charity Interfaith Humanitarian Sanctum (IHS).  IHS is an independent, non-religious, ALL volunteer, nonprofit, 501(c)3 public charity.  IHS assists long distance families who are underfunded with lodging and food and other critical needs including items such a providing new infant car seats for UVA's pediatric clinics.

A celebration of Elisheva's life is scheduled for this Sunday, April 10th beginning at 2:30 pm at Grace and Glory Lutheran Church located at 683 Thomas Jefferson Pwky VA-53 (Palmyra) VA 22963 (434-589-2217).

In lieu of flowers, please consider Elisheva's efforts in raising funds for her charity, IHS at or mail to:

PO Box 163
Palmyra, VA 22963

Saturday, February 6, 2016

First Things First - THE PLAN

So many of the readers of my e-mails are couples, or families of couples, whom we have already married.  The fog of planning for the wedding of which we were participants as wedding ministers has drifted into the past; but, the memories of bringing together all the vendors and support activities down to one date is remembered as a challenge. So much can be accomplished with such ease when attention to this one-time special occasion is given adequate time to plan.

Many considerations must go into planning a wedding, whether hosting a small or large audience. What is the most convenient time (Spring, Summer, Fall?) and location (farm, home, vineyard, chapel, etc.?) to insure that most guests can schedule attendance and make the trip with ease and expectation that a holiday or storm season will not leave them in an airport hundreds of miles away?  Budget considerations are prominent in all planning. Inside or outside for the ceremony, the reception, the music, the d├ęcor, the sound, the photography and alternatives for moving inside based on inclement weather.

A very deliberate list for planning has such merit.

AND THAT LIST NEEDS TO BE MADE AND EXPLORED WITH A KEY PLANNER FOR EACH BUSINESS WHO WILL FILL ALL THE SLOTS AS VENDORS.  Once you have decided on the desired month, an idea of venue for your budget, then discuss present availability based on those days which are available for booking.  Then - make a call list to check with your priority list of support people and their availability for the date. AND PLEASE PLACE THE WEDDING MINISTER ON THAT CALL LIST AS TO AVAILABILITY IN THE EARLY PLANNING.

Most Weddings which are structured to host family and friends are based on two parts:  The actual wedding service or ceremony and the party which follows.

We are concerned with the ceremony and providing a service which represents the depth of feelings which a couple wishes to express for the most important gathering of family and friends in their lives. As soon as a couple has a projected idea for a date, or a weekend, and a venue, or at least a town and state ... then go to my website home page at and access the "Contact" sheet across the top of the page, or the inquiry note at the bottom of the page.

Complete that short inquiry and send.  This is the most immediate method for learning if dates and times are open, and how long you have to make our participation permanent.  Once we have this basic info, exchanges can begin.

Read the website and blog postings and learn more about all contacts. There needs to be a feeling of comfort with each vendor, but most certainly with a wedding minister. It is he or she who is allowing your audience to know that they are attending the most special day in your journey together.

If you are a family member or close friend of a bride or groom just beginning to explore for the "big day," pass this item along to them. It may be the information that frees them from unnecessary stress.  That alone is often a wonderful gift for a nervous couple in need of guidance.

Just sharing ...  Reverend Elisheva