Theora Fennelly bio
Theora Jones Fennelly was born February 14, 1966, in Huntsville, Alabama, to Samuel and Rebecca Jones. Samuel was an Army Sergeant Major, and Rebecca was a finance clerk at Redstone Arsenal. Theora was their only child.
In high school, Theora was a cheerleader and a good student with many friends. Her father was gone a lot because of his job, so she spent a lot of time with her mother, who encouraged and supervised Theora's cheerleading practice. Their diligence paid off, and Theora helped her team to win many competitions. She became so skilled that she earned a cheerleading scholarship to the University of Alabama.
Early in her senior year, Theora met a young soldier named Ryan Jacobs, and they began dating despite the Sergeant Major's disapproval. When Ryan received orders and left for Germany, he promised to come back and marry her. She wrote to him every day, but his letters were few.
During a routine physical, Theora was shocked to learn she was pregnant. She couldn't wait to tell Ryan, but before she could, she received a letter from him saying he was in love with another girl. While she was still reeling from the breakup, her parents were killed in a horrific car accident returning from a well-earned Florida vacation. Theora's world was crumbling from all sides.
During her parents' funeral, she confided in her aunt and uncle, telling them all about Ryan and the baby. They offered her a place to live, and with nothing left for her in Alabama, she gave up her scholarship and moved in with them in Oxford, using her inheritance to support herself and contribute to household expenses. She never told Ryan about the baby.
Three years after Lauren was born, Theora decided to buy a house of her own and went to Fennelly Real Estate for help. She was impressed with the 26-year-old owner, Robert Fennelly, and he soon asked her out. After only four months of dating, he proposed, and they married on February 14, 1987. Robert accepted Lauren as part of the package but wasn't thrilled with being a stepfather.
They bought a beautiful old Victorian house and completely remodeled it. Early in their marriage, Robert gave Theora everything she wanted but barely noticed Lauren. Over time, Robert became increasingly controlling. He forbade Theora to leave the house unless he knew where she was going and when she'd be back. Eventually, the beautiful old house she loved became her prison.
Things got worse when Robert started coming home drunk. Theora was embarrassed to go out because her neighbors would see the bruises and always made excuses for her aunt and uncle not to visit. She was miserable, but her love for Robert made her stay.
When Lauren was seven, Robert came home plastered and started a huge fight. He threatened to kill Theora and chased her up the stairs. As Robert lunged for her throat, he slipped and tumbled from the top of the stairs. He died of a broken neck at the age of 30. Rumors swirled that Theora finally did him in by causing his fall, but the police ruled it an accident.
Again a single parent, Theora did her best to teach her daughter right from wrong. When Lauren's husband abandoned her, Theora was there to help with Katy. She became Katy's best friend and taught her granddaughter everything she knew about cheerleading.
Theora lives alone in her old Victorian home. Robert left her financially stable, and she never remarried.