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.