Loving and beautiful wife, mother, and friend, Beth Murray Dunnavant, 59, of Chesterfield, VA was called home to the arms of God on Saturday, May 7, 2022 after a courageous battle with cancer.
When thinking of Beth, it is easy to imagine her bustling around her kitchen, the delicious scent of a meal (or dessert) wafting in the air. Perhaps she is instructing one of her daughters how to prepare the meal for themselves or maybe she’s assisting a beloved grandchild with a spatula as they mix ingredients together. Her greatest joys arose from being a wife, mother, grandmother, and homemaker.
Beth married Mark Dunnavant on the 14th of September in 1984 and spent the rest of her life with him, as Mark would say, “attached at the hip.” Constant companions through life’s delights as well as challenges, their relationship was one of deep love, friendship, and humor. The two of them raised their three daughters, but even after their children were grown, they never lacked for things to do together. Side by side, their life was full of food and friends, trips to Myrtle Beach that included long hours of basking in the sun and walks to the pier, Panthers football games, bowling leagues, and purposely taking back roads to look for abandoned buildings together.
Leading with her heart, Beth was a constant demonstration of love in action, always quick to assist and love on friends, strangers, and feral cats alike. People speak of the abundance of her love and the ways she loved unconditionally, without any demands of perfection.
Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs. The ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile, and who love you no matter what. – Beth Dunnavant
Throughout her battle with cancer, Beth put her trust in God and sought to continue serving him however she could. Together, she and Mark regularly volunteered with the food pantry. She saw her illness as an opportunity to practice patience and gratitude. More than anything, Beth often expressed a deep gratitude for the way Mark loved and cared for her as she found herself needing to lean on him more.
Quite the romantic and a skilled storyteller, Beth often painted her life with words. Of her childhood, she might have told you about her dog named Lucky, the tire swing on the big tree in her yard, or the way she sat on her Daddy’s lap. Her writings are filled with stories of her girls, grands, and the furry or feathery critters that she loved over the years.
Animals in need always seemed to have a sense that Beth would be willing to care for them. Bunnies, possums, dogs, cats, and once (when she was a child) a baby bird that fell from a tree, all found their way into her gentle, loving hands.
Beth prided herself in being a ceaseless learner and she would happily share with you the things she knew about cooking, canning, gardening, sewing, scrapbooking, birds, butterflies, and so much more. She was confident in her abilities to accomplish any task she put her mind to do.
Beth enjoyed technology and the freedom it gave her to learn new skills and stay connected to those she loved. Rarely far from her phone, those close to her knew she would be there if they needed her. Close friends express extensive gratitude for the poignant conversations they’ve shared with her over the years.
Her daughters speak highly of the way she mothered them, particularly through their teenage years. Unlike the struggle that so many parents and teens experience, those years were high in connectedness. Her daughters often sought her out for her listening ears and words of wisdom. She took them seriously and had extensive faith and trust in her children. In the words of her daughter, Lindsay, “She always knew our hearts and intentions and believed in the best in us.” The legacy of her motherhood will be passed on in the way that they choose to mother their own children.
She was preceded in death by her father, Willie Andrew Murray. Beth is survived by her husband, Mark Dunnavant; daughters, Brittany Rea Dunnavant, Lindsay Lynch (Michael) and Chelsea Dunnavant (Adam Boyer); grandchildren, Teddy, Willow, Judah, Dakota, and Waverly; daughter of her heart, Kerry June Howington; mother, Lillian Murray; sisters, Faye VanHeuveln (Henry) and Sheila Hayes; and brother, Blaine Murray.
A memorial service will be held at 2:00pm on Saturday, May 21 at Hope Point Church, 10500 Newbys Bridge Rd., Chesterfield, VA 23832. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations made to Smitty’s Cat Rescue (https://www.paypal.com/donate/?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=AJZ65DS7ZY84L&source=url