Thelma Pearl Cave

Thelma Pearl Clark Morabito Cave, 92, recently of Abilene, left this life behind on September 14, 2021, at the home of her daughter in Endicott, NY.  

She is survived by seven children: Dan Morabito (Tisha) of Abilene, Donald Cave Jr (Dorothy) of Wilmington DE, Charmaine Cave Dersham (George) of Poestenkill NY, Summer Cave and Brenda Cave-James (Isaac) of Endicott, Christopher Cave of Binghamton NY, and Mark Cave Sr of Vestal NY. 

 She is also survived by 21 grandchildren and 39 great grandchildren. Thelma was preceded in death by her husband of 48 years, Donald Dean Cave Sr, her parents, Freeman Morris Clark and Maud Miller Deats Clark, and her siblings, DeForest Clark, Ralph Deats, Glen Deats, Violet Clark Fotusky Briggs, Alice Deats Myers Rumsey and Hazel Deats Frazier Lennon.  Thelma was born in Conklin, NY.  

The family moved to Binghamton in time for her to begin junior high school. After schooling and before a brief marriage to James Morabito, she worked at Endicott-Johnson Shoe Factory by day and in her own seamstress shop, The Yardstick, by night. Thelma married Donald Cave in 1950, and after her third child was born, the family moved to rural Lisle where they had pigs and chickens, sold eggs, grew much of what they ate, and she sewed much of what they wore. 

Thelma became famous locally for the unique Halloween costumes she designed each year. By 1962, the family was complete with the last four children.  Thelma sang in the choir and taught Sunday School in the Nanticoke Baptist Church and then in the Glen Aubrey Baptist Church when the family moved to Glen Aubrey. From her kitchen there, she catered weddings and other special events, big and small, designing unique favors, canopies, sugar work, and exquisitely decorated cakes.   

At the same time, she and Donald  grew a successful Shaklee business which took them traveling near and far. They made a final move to Vestal when the two youngest children began high school.  

Thelma and Donald sang with Trinity Singers at Trinity AME Zion Church and in the choir at Beautiful Plain Baptist Church and also the Binghamton Community Gospel Choir. At age 70, in the year following Donald’s death, Thelma relocated to Abilene to live near her oldest child, Dan and his wife, Tisha.  

Here she found her final avocation; from her Color Me Purple Studio she handcrafted fashions with fiber from her sheep, alpacas, and llamas, mastering spinning, weaving, knitting, felting, and also quilting, bead work and more.  Over the years, her hats, belts, boots, muffs, socks, shawls, rugs, spreads and more won numerous blue ribbons in the Central Kansas, Dickinson County, and Kansas State Fairs. Thelma was a member of  Kansas Alliance of Weavers & Spinners and Smokey Valley Weavers & Spinners.  She loved teaching children to spin and weave at Dickinson County Historical Society’s Pioneer Camp. 

She enjoyed another round of sewing Halloween costumes for her 21st grandchild, Sequoyah Morabito, whose Tin Man was among the winners at the Children’s Library when he was 3. She attended Abilene First Christian Church.  

In 2019, Thelma returned east to live in the nursing care of her daughter, Brenda.  A special note of appreciation is given to Thelma’s “helpers” during the final year of her life in Abilene, Marge and Art Freeman, whose attention and friendship meant much to Thelma and to her family. 

 A private family Gathering is planned at Vestal Hills Memorial Park where Thelma’s ashes will be inurned next to those of Donald. Donations in memory of Thelma can be made to Lourdes Hospice, 169 Riverside Drive, Binghamton, NY 13905.


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