Marlene Marie Selby

Sunrise: March 6, 1949

Sunset: March 22, 2021

A Time to Be Born

Marlene Marie Selby was the second of four children born to the late Reverend Ernest and Emma Powell on March 6, 1949 in Harlem, New York.

Marlene was raised in the church where her father was the pastor.  She was baptized at the age of ten, May 1959 at First Union Baptist Church. Marlene continued to serve the Lord throughout her life.  In 2006, she joined St. Mark’s United Church of Christ where she served faithfully in the music, hospitality, youth, and usher ministries.

Marlene was gifted with a beautiful voice and when she sang you could feel the spirit touching your soul. Marlene and her sisters sang in the Powell Youth Chorale a choir that was established and named after their father Ernest Powell.

In her spare time, she loved to shop, read, eat out, and work crossword/wordsearch puzzles.

A Time to Live

Marlene received her elementary and secondary education in Bronx, New York.  She graduated from Evander Childs High School in 1968.  After graduation, Marlene went to work for the New York State Department of Labor as an Unemployment Officer. She worked over twenty years and retired in 1987.  Upon retirement the family relocated to Virginia Beach, Virginia. Marlene went to work as a Customer Care Representative at QVC until 2014.

A Time to Love

While visiting cousins in Queens, New York, Marlene met the love of her life Johnnie Selby. They quickly became friends, started dating and were married March 20, 1971, at First Union Baptist Church in Bronx, New York.  On Saturday, March 20, 2021 Marlene and John celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary in Roswell, Georgia. Marlene and John were fortunate to be surrounded by a small group of family and friends, and others joined the celebration virtually. Marlene was so happy, singing dancing and enjoying the love.

From this union three beautiful daughters were born: Patria, Doretha and Leah all of whom they loved very much. As a mother, Marlene was always willing to give all she had for each of them and taught them the value of sacrifice and being there for one another.

Marlene was the matriarch of the family after the passing of their mother Emma and older sister Sondra Lee.  Marlene loved her family and always found a way to support them.  She was there for everyone’s graduations, weddings, baby showers, birthday celebrations and family gatherings.

 A Time to Be with the Lord

For the last several years, Marlene struggled with health challenges which she managed well with grace and a fierce independence.  On Monday, March 22, 2021, Marlene peacefully went to be with the Lord.  Marlene leaves to cherish her memory her husband and soul mate, Johnnie Selby.  She also leaves sisters Denise Powell (Tony), Ernestine McCoy (Byron); daughters, Patria Mitchell (Jerome); Doretha Selby-Diggs; Leah Scott (Marcus); grandchildren, Diamond, Malik, Jordan, Markus, Miles, Maxwell, Mason; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law Eddie Selby (Val), Ruby Lambert (Keith), Teddy Selby, Rennie Deriberprey (Bobby), David Selby (Loretta) and Darryl Selby (Anita), Donald Selby and a host of cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.

Marlene was a daughter, sister, wife, mother, aunt, and grandmother.  She was affectionally known as “Selby”, “Marteen”, “Little Head”, “Mommy”, and “Nana”.  Marlene was a woman of faith, feisty, generous, and quick with a comeback.  She was hope, beauty, power, love, and a friend. She will be dearly missed by all.


Viewing Saturday, March 27, 2021 12:00pm - 4:00pm Metropolitan Funeral Service 120 W. Berkley Avenue Norfolk, VA 23523 Service WATCH SERVICE LIVE ONLINE Sunday, March 28, 2021 2:00pm Metropolitan Funeral Service Berkley Chapel The family is following the CDC and State of Virginia guidelines for funeral attendance.

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  1. reply
    Barbara McRae says

    I will miss Marlene so much. She has a beautiful kind hearted soul. My heart is heavy; I’m going miss seeing, singing and talking with her. Condolence to the family. I will be praying for your strength during this difficult time. 🙏🏽🙏🏽

    • reply
      Danielle Howard says

      My heart is broken. My condolences to the entire family. She will remain in my thoughts..heart and spirit. Mrs. Selby was a great woman. I am so grateful to have known her.

  2. reply
    Gracie Butts says

    My Sincerely condolences to the family of Marlene Selby, She was a kind and friendly lady, she would always greet you with a smile at St. Mark UCC. She will truly be missed.

    • reply
      Rodney & Rena Jackson says

      We extend our heartfelt, sincerest & deepest condolences to the Selby family.

  3. reply
    Lisa Taylor says

    We are truly Saddened to hear of the passing of Marlene Selby. We go back many years, from 129th Avenue in NY and here in Chesapeake, as we are also relatives of other Selby family members. We have Lived on the same street with them at a time and even vacationed with Johnnie and Marlene. They were a beautiful example of love. She was a beautiful Wife, Mother, Aunt, & Grandmother and even a loving Daughter inlaw to Johnnie’s parents when they were alive. We will always keep those fond memories of her. We have kept you all in our prayers. John 5:28 – 29.. Love.. Gladys Smith, Sean & Lisa Taylor

  4. reply
    Denise Watford says

    I know this is real, but it’s so hard to believe! Marlene was a beautiful person inside and out. She will be missed so much! I will miss our conversations, laughter, singing in the choir, riding together, and just everything! My prayers go to the family for peace, strength, and comfort during this difficult time! May God keep you in His care!

  5. reply
    Butch Keene (QCV) says

    My condolences to the Selby family. I have known Marlene for many years, I found her to be a very sweet and loving lady. From my experience she would do anything for you. I have had the experience eating her cooking for myself and Johnnie, even had the opportunity to visit her a few times at her home. I was deeply saddened of her passing. My prayers go out to her family and Johnnie, brother I’m here for you at anytime.

  6. reply

    My Deepest Condolences to the Family

  7. reply
    Gale F Griffin..QVC says

    My condolence to Johnnie and family..I will all ways remember Marlene as a very kind and thoughtful person.God bless the entire family

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