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Sunday, July 23, 2023
1:00 - 2:00pm (Eastern time)
Sunday, July 23, 2023
Starts at 2:00pm (Eastern time)
Irma Marshall Bowling Roberts, a long-time resident of the Hickory Creek community in Faber, VA passed away peacefully on Monday, July 17, 2023, just two months shy of her 109th birthday. Born September 13, 1914 in Arrington, VA, she was the daughter of John W. and Sadie T. Bowling. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Nelson W. Roberts, as well as two brothers, Duval and John Alvin Bowling, Sr. She is survived by her daughter, Rosemary R. North and "favorite" son-in-law Russell H. North; and her son David G. Roberts. She was blessed with three grandchildren: Jeremy D. Roberts (Meredith), Richard A. North and Rosanne E. North-Jack (Jason), as well as three great-grandchildren: Logan and Caroline Roberts and Quinn North-Jack. A niece, Gail B. Sutler, and nephew, John A. Bowling, II along with their families also survive her.
At the age of four, Irma survived the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 and was never sick with the flu again, ever. She persevered through the Great Depression which left her with a life-long aversion to turnips along with the inability to throw anything away ... "I might need that one day, leave it alone!", she'd say.
A member of the Lovingston High School class of 1932, hers was the first class to graduate from the "new school" (the current Nelson Center), which she said was much too far away from everything in the village of Lovingston. Irma's first job after graduation was working as a waitress in the dining Room at Sweet Briar College where she polished the sterling silver flatware, folded linen tablecloths and napkins, and delivered meal trays to students in their rooms. She did all this and more for the princely wage of $20.00 per month - and she thought she was rich! In the early 1940's, with many men away fighting in WWII, she landed a job as a lab technician testing paint samples at American Cyanamid Company, known locally as "the Piney River Plant". She worked there for nine years, making many dear friends with whom she kept in touch until their deaths.
Irma traded in her lab coat for an apron in 1951, marrying an old high school beau and embarking on a new career as farmer's wife and mother. After her husband's death in 1993, she lived alone, content to pass the days reading, chatting on the phone with friends and relatives, working cross-word puzzles, knitting/crocheting, and taking many excursions with a special niece. She never turned down an invitation for a road trip!
In 2018, at age 104, Irma moved to Albemarle Health and Rehab Center (AHRC) where she continued to enjoy her two favorite things - reading and chocolate candy. She often said she could write a book about her life, but never did. However, she was interviewed by local author, Lynn Coffey, who included Irma's life story in her 2015 book entitled, Mountain Folk. It's well worth reading.
Irma will always be remembered for her wonderful sense of humor, her beautiful flower gardens, and her pies - chocolate chess and apple were her specialties. Rest in peace, Miss Mama, you'll be greatly missed!
Heartfelt thanks go out to the many caregivers who looked after Irma, both at home and at AHRC, for the past eight years. Each of you was a Heaven-sent blessing, and she loved you all.
A graveside service will be held at Rock Spring United Methodist Church in Faber on Sunday, July 23, 2023 at 2:00 pm., with Pastor John Campbell officiating. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service in the church's fellowship hall.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to our local library, which Irma faithfully patronized from it's beginning in 1972. Nelson Memorial Branch/Jefferson Madison Regional Library, PO Box 321, Lovingston, VA 22949.
Arrangements by the Wells/Sheffield Funeral Chapel of Lovingston (434-263-4097).