CHESAPEAKE - Ruth Elaine Godwin Mariner was born on September 6, 1931 to Alma Estelle Copeland and George Benjamin Godwin, Sr. in Newport News, Virginia. She was the second of their four children. Following graduation from Huntington High School in Newport News, Virginia, she attended and received a business certificate from Reid Business School in Atlanta, Georgia, and began a long and productive career in the field of personnel management. On April 20,1952 Ruth married Joseph Mariner Sr., and their marriage produced three children, Deborah, Jonathan Douglas, and Joseph Jr. They remained lifelong partners for 59 years until Joe's passing on April 18, 2011 after a brief illness. Ruth spent over 33 years working for the Office of Personnel Management at the Norfolk Naval Supply Center, retiring in 1986 as a Personnel Staff Specialist. Over the span of her long career there, she received numerous awards and recognition for her outstanding work. More importantly, she was able to source job opportunities, and find placement for literally hundreds of individuals who to this day still express their appreciation for the help she provided them. Following her formal retirement from the Naval Supply Center, and not being ready to slow down, Ruth spent the next five years working for the Navy Exchange in a similar capacity as a personnel specialist. And, once again, she expanded her network of friends and colleagues through the many professional opportunities she helped them obtain. Ruth took advantage of her retirement years to do one of the things she loved most: travel with friends and family, and especially on cruises. During her travels, she had the opportunity to visit such amazing places as Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Venezuela, Tunisia, Malta, Spain, Italy, Paris, Hawaii, and Alaska, in addition to spending most winters visiting her sons in south Florida. Like her husband, Joe, she relished the time she spent with her grandkids, who she affectionately referred to as her "broncos." Growing up, they would spend summers at her home, and she would provide them with all the spoiling and love expected of grandparents. More importantly, she took that opportunity to instill in them the same moral values and character-building lessons that she used to raise her own children, and that defined her wonderful life. Those are memories that they still cherish to this day. Ruth's life was not just confined to her work and family. She also shared her spirit of generosity in her community through her volunteer work with Meals-on-Wheels, diligently delivering food to others with more need, and as assistant chief officer for the Chesapeake Board of Elections. Everyone who knew her was aware of her passion for politics and political talk shows. And, nothing made her prouder than being a campaign worker in November 2008 where she was able to play her own small part in the election of our first African American president. A devout Christian, Ruth was a member of the Grove Baptist Church in Portsmouth, Virginia, where she volunteered in a number of areas and was an active participant in Bible study. Ruth departed this earth on Monday, February 17, 2014 following complications from a recurrence of her breast cancer
, after having the opportunity to say good-bye to her children, grandchildren, surviving brother and sister, and other close family members who were at her bedside during her final transition. Besides her parents and husband, Ruth was pre-deceased by her sister, Naomi Ferebee Battle and foster sister, Margaret Norman Johnson. Ruth is survived by a daughter, Deborah Mariner Hubbard; two sons, Jonathan Douglas Mariner and Joseph (Joey) Mariner, Jr.; seven grandchildren: Ryan Hubbard and Olisa Armstrong, Brian Mariner and his wife, Theresa Johnson, Marcus Mariner and his wife Christine Savoureux, Matthew Mariner, Phillip Mariner and his wife Kathryn, Alexis Mariner, and Jonathan Calvin Mariner; two great-grandchildren; Trinity and Indiah Hubbard; one sister, Esther Britt; one brother, George B. Godwin, Jr. and his wife, Anna; two brothers-in law, Dr. James Mariner and his wife, Betty, Thomas Mariner and his wife Glenda, one sister-in-law, Delois Stringfield; and a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins who were all as close to her as her immediate family. A celebration of her life will be held on Saturday February 22, 2014 at 11:00 AM at Woodlawn Funeral Home, 6329 E. VA Beach Blvd, Norfolk, VA 23502. The family will receive friends Friday night from 6:00 - 8:00 pm at the funeral home. Please visit www.woodlawngroup.com
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