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Pond’s donation in memory of late wife

Editor’s Note: The Suffolk News-Herald will be sharing Christmas memories of notable locals in the weeks leading up to Christmas in order to help promote the Cheer Fund.

When some Suffolk children find gifts under the tree on Christmas morning this year, it will be in the memory of a woman they likely never met.

Juanita Kelly Pond died last November at age 72. She was married to Charles B. Pond III and was a secretary at Oakland Elementary School for 33 years.

Charles Pond said he kicked off the Cheer Fund’s efforts this year with a donation in memory of his late wife because she enjoyed working with kids.

“The kids would talk to her when they wouldn’t talk to their parents,” he said. “That means a whole lot to kids — sometimes they don’t know who to talk to, and she was a loving and caring person, and they really got to talk to her.”

Charles and Juanita had known each other since high school but didn’t marry until 1991. They enjoyed many activities such as traveling to Amish Country in Pennsylvania and seeing the theatrical productions there as well as in Branson, Mo. They also enjoyed fishing together.

One of his favorite Christmas memories with her is attending the annual Christmas party for  Carrier Corporation, where Charles is a franchisee. “We just enjoyed meeting the dealers and just had a good time,” he said.

Throughout their marriage, Charles said, they never had a fight.

“She was a wonderful, amazing wife,” he said. “There’s not another one like her, I don’t care where you look.”

The Ponds supported Chowan University and the University of North Carolina extensively, but for her, the kids were always the most important part, he said, even though they didn’t have children of their own.

“I would like to see the people of Suffolk and surrounding areas give to the Cheer Fund, because she cared about kids, and we want them to have a wonderful Christmas.”

The Cheer Fund is an annual effort by the Suffolk community to provide toys for children from disadvantaged families. The Cheer Fund provides approximately $40,000 to the Salvation Army to purchase toys every year.

To donate to the Cheer Fund, send a check to P.O. Box 1220, Suffolk, VA 23439 or bring it to the newspaper’s temporary office, 157 N. Main St., from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. We will list your donation in the newspaper, but it can be marked “anonymous” if you like. Donations may be made in honor of or in memory of someone. If you bring the check to our office, we’ll even take your picture as you hand it to one of our staff.

Online giving is available through the link on the Suffolk Cheer Fund Facebook page. For more information on the Cheer Fund, call 757-539-3437.