Rowena Stanley Jaap Fullinwider
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Norfolk - Rowena Stanley Jaap Fullinwider passed away peacefully on July 22, 2013 with her devoted husband Captain Peter Lansing Fullinwider at her side. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, she was the daughter of Mary Jane Gotshall Stanley and Rear Admiral Emory Day Stanley Jr. Growing up as the daughter of a naval officer; she lived in many places, but predominantly in Norfolk and Washington D.C. She attended Wilson High School in Washington D.C., and went on to study at the University of Delaware.
In1960 Rowena married Captain Joseph D. Jaap. As the wife of a career naval officer, she continued to travel throughout her adult life, and found herself establishing homes and raising her children - Mary Frances, Rowena and Joe - in places as varied as Japan, Michigan, and Oklahoma. She returned to Norfolk in 1976, and subsequently made it a permanent home. Professionally, her career began in the medical field as a Medical Technologist, and for more than 20 years she worked in laboratories such as the Naval Bethesda Hospital, the National Institute of Health, and the Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters.
In the early 1980s, Rowena began to explore the possibility of starting her own business. Already known for making pound cakes to donate to various charities for their fundraisers - she was encouraged by friends and family to open a business to sell the cakes on a larger scale. In 1983, she opened Rowena's Gourmet Foods in the historic Ghent section of Norfolk. "I didn't choose this business, it chose me," Rowena later said. Word spread quickly about her delicious cakes, jams and curds, and soon Rowena's Gourmet Foods was being featured in Southern Living, Gourmet Magazine and Bon Appetit, as well as on the Food Network. In 1987, Rowena's became the first specialty food producer in Virginia to carry the Virginia's Finest® trademark.
When asked in later years about her reasons for starting a business, Rowena said that she wanted to teach her children a few of life's lessons. "I needed my children to know that I not only stood for something, but that I also acted on it," she says. "You have to be a responsible business citizen and a responsible community citizen."
In terms of such responsible citizenship, Rowena made an indelible mark on Norfolk's social and professional landscapes. As well as running her own successful business, she served on several boards (including as president of the local National Association of Women Business Owners in 1996-97). She successfully lobbied Congress to help small businesses receive an exemption from the National Labeling and Education Act of 1990; served as chairman of the Governor's Small Business Advisory Board for six years; and was a delegate to the White House Conference on Small Business in 1995, serving as the co-chair for the Regulation and Paperwork Reduction committee. Rowena and her company were able to win numerous awards over the years, including the coveted Blue Chip Enterprise Award in 1994, and the Women Business Advocate Award for Virginia and Lifetime Achievement Award from the Small Business Administration in 2004.
In her "spare time", she found time to write and publish two children's adventure cookbooks - The Adventures of Rowena and Carrot Jam the Rabbit and The Adventures of Rowena and the Jam and Jelly Factory, as well as edit a historical cookbook, Celebrate Virginia!
In terms of community service, Rowena always believed that those who give back to the community will be rewarded abundantly, a belief that has only been confirmed and reinforced by the path her own life took. For many years, she was particularly involved with the Girl Scouts of America, as well as with the charity For Kids, a private agency whose mission is to "Break the cycle of family homelessness". At the same time, she mentored other women business owners, donated considerable time and product to charities.
Rowena was often asked about her philosophies and thoughts on a variety of issues, and was well-known for her words of wisdom. "Don't let others tell you your dreams are not valid", she once said. "Your dreams are your dreams. You make them happen." On her fight against ovarian cancer, she never asked "Why me?' She only asked "What can I do about it?" - and then went ahead and did exactly what was required.
In addition to her loving husband, Captain Peter Lansing Fullinwider, she is survived by their combined six children, 13 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Their children are: Mary Frances Bellman and her husband, Tim Bellman; Rowena Post and her husband, Brett Post; Joseph Jaap and his wife, Lori Jaap; Allyn Jones and her husband Phillippe Jones; Lanse Fullinwider and his wife Nan Fullinwider; and Stuart Fullinwider and his wife, Maria Fullinwider. Their grandchildren are: Grace and Josephine Bellman; Ethan Post; and Payton and Zachary Jaap; Geyer, Tucker and Sheldon Jones; Kody and Kaci Fullinwider; and Christopher, Cody and Raquel Fullinwider. Their great-grandchildren are: Megan and Ella Jones; and Levi and Quinn Jones.
Rowena is also survived by her beloved sisters, Dr Marilyn Stanley Hamilton and Mrs. Joan Stanley Maroulis, and their families.
A memorial service will take place at 11:00am on Saturday, July 27, 2013 at St Andrew's Episcopal Church, Norfolk. A celebration of Rowena's extraordinary life will follow from 1 to 3 p.m. at Harbor's Edge, 1 Colley Avenue, Norfolk, and the family will receive friends at the Harbor's Edge gathering. Rowena will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Donations, in lieu of flowers, may be made to the Girl Scouts of the USA, 912 Cedar Road, Chesapeake, VA 23322 Click here for Rowena’s Donation Page
. Funeral arrangements will be handled by H.D. Oliver Funeral Apartments, and online condolences may be offered to the family at www.hdoliver.com
Published in The Virginian Pilot on July 24, 2013