Saturday, November 7, 2009

Ancestor Birthday Celebrations, Florence Ruth Dews Bowen

Florence Ruth Dews was born November 7, 1904 in Kempsville, Princess Anne County, Virginia to William Henry Dews and Lorena Estelle Eley Norsworthy Dews.  (Both William and Lorena had been previously married and were widowed.)

Florence married Hayden Eugene Bowen on December 23, 1923 at South Mills, Camden County, North Carolina.  Florence worked for many years at Rice's Department Store in Norfolk, Virginia and eventually, Hayden and Florence opened their own little clothing store. First they opened Bowen's Sportswear in Great Bridge, Virginia and later opened Nags Head Sportswear in Nags Head, Dare County, North Carolina.  Florence and the Nags Head Sportswear Store were the subject of  They Worked Hard for the Family, Bowen style.

Florence lived her life as an independent woman in a time that the norm was the housewife who was more interested in clean floors and wax build-up. She loved fashion and worked in retail sales most of her life. She had a "career" before it was fashionable or necessary for a woman to do so. When she was first married she had to keep that fact a secrete from her employer so that she could continue to work. She only revealed her marriage when she found herself pregnant and was forced to tell both her family and her employer.

Florence was also the subject of a post titled, Memory triggers - -snap goes the flea.

Florence died on January 8, 1996 in Nags Head, Dare County, North Carolina and is buried at Riverside Memorial Park Cemetery, Norfolk, Virginia with her mother and several siblings.  Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

One of my favorite photos of Florence, my grandmother, in May of 1970 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, holding Son #1.


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