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Maria Ruth Bowden Tillery


Sunrise: September 27, 1954

Sunset: November 20, 2019

Fondly known as Ria or Ree to those closest to her, Maria entered this earthly realm on September 27, 1954. She was the youngest child born to her proud parents, the late Thomas Edmond and Joanna DeLoatche Bowden of Norfolk.   The effervescent Maria proceeded through life touching the souls of everyone she met.  On Wednesday, November 20, 2019, this strong, woman of faith peacefully transcended beyond this earthly home. She was predeceased by her parents, her older sister, Gail Bowden Lamb, Air Force (Ret.) son, Lawrence Edmond Sharp and maternal aunt, Annie DeLoatche Phelps.

Maria was educated primarily in the Norfolk Public Schools. She was a 1972 graduate of Norview High School.  She matriculated at the former Saint Paul’s College, in Lawrenceville, VA where she majored in business administration.   After college she worked for the Commerce Department in Washington, D.C. in Naval contracts. She returned to Norfolk after the birth of her son, Lawrence where she was gainfully employed until she retired at the Norfolk Naval Base in ­­­2014 as a Financial Management Analyst. Due to her dedication and strong work ethic, Maria was asked to return to the Department of the Navy as a contractor for Capstone. Moreover, she was endeared to her vibrant and supportive work family who became a lifeline for her until her passing.

“God’s Will, Not Mine was one of the foundation statements of what she believed, and how she lived was exemplified in her daily talk and walk with Christ. When confronted with health challenges, she believed in prayer.  Putting God first was a childhood lesson that helped sustain her through her adult life. She was confirmed and baptized at an early childhood age at Grace Episcopal Church in Norfolk and continued there as a faithful member until she left for college. In recent years, she has been a faithful, dedicated, and supportive member of New Horizons Outreach Ministries. She also traveled with her “Sister Cousin,” Frannie when she would preach at local churches and supported her when she served at St. John’s AME Bute Street and as Senior Pastor of Ebenezer AME in Roanoke, VA.

Our Maria left an indelible mark on the lives of many and her spirit was contagious.  She shared her humor, generous spirit, many talents, and her devotion to family and friends.  She leaves to treasure her memory a brother, Jimmy E. Bowden (Barbara) of Florida; Sister Cousin, Jeanette DeLoatche Phelps of Richmond; Special Daughter, Elif Topal, New York; Niece, Mynddie Bowden, of Norfolk; Nephews, Kenneth Lamb, of Chesapeake, and Michael Lamb, of Maryland; Devoted Sister Friends, Annette Brimmer of VA Beach, Pam Benton of VA Beach, Justine Godwin Jones of Mechanicsville, Patricia Wilson Daniels of Richmond, Debora Pope of Chesapeake, Michele Clements of Chesapeake and a host of other relatives and friends.

Viewing Friday, November 29, 2019 Metropolitan Funeral Service 120 W. Berkley Avenue Norfolk, VA 23523 Wake Service Friday, November 29, 2019 6:00pm - 8:00pm Metropolitan Funeral Service 120 W. Berkley Avenue Norfolk, VA 23523 Service WATCH SERVICE LIVE ONLINE Saturday, November 30, 2019 11:00am Metropolitan Funeral Service Berkley Chapel Interment Roosevelt Memorial Park 1101 Campostella Road Chesapeake, VA 23320

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Condolences(10)

  1. reply
    ANGELA MITCHELL COWELL says

    To Be Absent From The Body
    Is To Be Present With Our Lord
    And Savior Jesus Christ. My Sincere Condolences Go Out To All Eho Knew Maria. I Have Many Beautiful Childhood Memories of Us Growwing Up Together in The Chesapeake Gardens Section Of Norfolk. Regardless of Our Earthly Demise. Remember We Are Hopefully All Striving To Do God’s Good , Love , Peace and
    Blessing Always 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏

  2. reply
    ANGELA MITCHELL COWELL says

    To Be Absent From The Body
    Is To Be Present With Our Lord
    And Savior Jesus Christ. My Sincere Condolences Go Out To All Who Knew Maria. I Have Many Beautiful Childhood Memories of Us Growwing Up Together in The Chesapeake Gardens Section Of Norfolk. Regardless of Our Earthly Demise. Remember We Are Hopefully All Striving To Do God’s Good , Love , Peace and
    Blessing Always 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏

    • reply
      Vanessa A. Copeland says

      Will miss you Maria. Praying for your family

  3. reply
    William h. Williams says

    My sincere condolences to the family and many friends of Maria. I met Maria at Saint Paul’s College and she was a very close friend of my future wife Linda Massey Williams. Maria was also part of a group of six women that my wife and I met at SPC and remained close to over 40 years after graduation as we went about our lives. I have hope and faith that Maria rests with her Lord and savior.

    • reply
      Chaplain George N. Cooke says

      Gone from our sight, but never from our heart. May the gates of heaven open up to reveal strength and comfort …. My Sincere Condolences go out to all that heart was touch by Maria. I have many beautiful memories of us growing up at Norview High School and going off to college at St. Paul’s College. Maria May You Rest In Peace With Our Lord and Savior.

  4. reply
    Dana and :Aquatta Arnold says

    My heart goes out to the family of Maria Sharpe. She was a good friend. My Condolences and prayers goes out to fhe family

  5. reply
    Michelle McDowell says

    My Dear Maria, You left us unexpectedly. I miss you already. You were the example. You taught us how to get along with one another, how to smile, how to laugh out loud and how to help each other. I am so honored to have shared the gift of friendship with you; it felt like kinship. I will carry your gracious spirit with me. You’ve touched my life and I am forever grateful for sharing the same time and space with you. Fly High, my Beautiful Friend.

  6. reply
    Evelyn Faulks says

    Maria…a dear friend and a listening ear for me. I was your 1st lady but was your friend first. I will miss your smile, laugh and encouraging words. You and Lawrence are now enjoying each other company without pain. You will always have a special place in my heart. Rest in heaven my friend.

  7. reply
    Joyce & Stacy Howard says

    To the family of Maria Bowden Tillery. My mother and I wish to express our sincerest condolences to you. We have found that the Bible, God’s word, provides the best of comfort at such a time as this. We encourage you to please, consider reading a few of our favorite scriptures that has provided us with much relief and hope. 1Corinthians 15:26, Isaiah 25:8, & Revelation 21:3, 4. These promises are soon to become a reality and are certainly true because God cannot lie (Titus 1:2). We hope that you find that same comfort in the scriptures because Jehovah, the God of comfort, can console family and friends during such a time of sorrow. (2Corinthians 1:3, 4) Please feel free to contact us for more soothing and reassuring information regarding God’s promises that offer a real and refreshing hope for the very near future. Our most heartfelt regards, Joyce & Stacy Howard.

  8. reply
    Delores A Butler says

    Beautiful Maria! What a blessed life you lived! I’ll always remember the good days at SPC as classmates and housemates. My sincerest condolences to Maria’s family and her friends. May you you all find Peace in your memories cause I just know they got to be good! (Smiles…)

    Peace and Blessings….
    Can’t Beat Tiger Pride – SPC Forever….

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