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Poquoson, VA 23662
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Mary M. WILSON Obituary
POQUOSON - Mary Martin Owenby Wilson, 90, a resident of Poquoson for 43 years, with family by her side, she went home to be with her Lord on July 23, 2012. Born and raised in Marietta, Ga., Mary graduated from Marietta High School and married Vernon Paul Owenby of Gainesville, Ga., on Aug. 14, 1938.
She and Vernon lived in 13 different places throughout the South while he worked as an engineer with Stone & Webster. In each place she focused on the three things that meant the most to her throughout her entire life – church, family, and community. One of those towns was Poquoson, where in 1955, she joined Emmaus Baptist Church. After 32 years of marriage, Vernon passed away in 1971, Mary returned to Poquoson and reconnected with her church home, Emmaus Baptist. She also began her first employment on Sept. 7, 1971, with Citizens Bank of Poquoson. While working at the bank, she met Ben Wilson and they were married in 1974. She retired on June 26, 1989, noting in her journal "I will miss it."
Mary's life revolved around church, from early years and throughout her life. At Emmaus, she served as a Deaconess, and was a member of the Women's Missionary Union, Willing Workers Adult Sunday school class, and the Joyful Hearts Choir. In more recent years she attended Messick Baptist Church where, as a kid at heart, she joined their Sunbeams Clown Troupe. She enjoyed going with the Troupe to Dominion Village and Bayside bringing her beautiful smile and joy to the residents. She also taught Sunday school most of her life and especially enjoyed the little ones. When the doors of the church were open, she was there whether serving or enjoying the fellowship with others at Soup and Sing, Sweet Tooth Socials, picnics on the ground, etc.
Her community involvement included serving on the Board of the Peninsula Agency on Aging and regularly helping with the Breakfast Club and the Community Center lunches. She received the Mayor's Certificate of Merit for Significant Service to the Community 2001 and 2002 through the Retired & Senior Volunteers Program of Virginia. Other volunteer work included regular visitation to those in need of kindness, encouragement, whether at Dominion Village or Bayside or in their homes. She would often show up at the home of one who had lost a loved one, or had a newborn, or was new to the neighborhood with one of her famous Japanese Fruit Pies. She also kept up with local and national news, and worked at the polls during 11 election years.
Her family was very precious to her. She and Daddy made a home for their little family wherever we lived. She supported and encouraged her girls (Jeannie and Jo Ann) in all we did, reading to us and encouraging us to do our best in school and in life. An accomplished seamstress, she made our clothes up until and beyond the time we married and they were always beautiful and fit perfectly. A fabulous cook, in the great Southern tradition of comfort foods, she made wonderful use of the gardens Daddy and Ben had and the fish that she and Ben caught in the waters off Poquoson. While we had a lot of homes over the years, she and Daddy always made sure we "came home" to Morganton and Marietta, Georgia for the Owenby and Martin reunions each summer so that we could realize the importance of family and have wonderful memories of good times with grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles.
Mary never met a stranger, and made friends quickly everywhere she lived, keeping many of her friendships for a life time. She loved to travel, meeting new people and seeing new places, and enjoying bus trips with a local church group, visiting sites in South Carolina, North Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland, and the Amish Country of Pennsylvania.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 32 years, Vernon Owenby; an infant son, John Martin Owenby; her second husband of 20 years, Ben Wilson; son-in-law, Henry Earl Freeman Jr.; parents, James and Annie Martin; a brother, James Martin, all of Marietta, Ga.; and a stepson, Eugene Wilson.
She is survived by two daughters, Jeannie Freeman, of Poquoson and Jo Ann Charlesworth (Art), of Richmond; four grandsons, Douglas Freeman, David Freeman (Pam), Darrell Freeman (Myra), all of Poquoson, and Jonathan Charlesworth, of Pasadena, Calif. Other survivors include a great-grandson, Jim Freeman, of Poquoson; two sisters, Evelyn Davis (Lloyd), of Knoxville, Tenn., and Charlotte Bridges (Julian), of Abilene, Texas; a brother, Bill Martin (Pat), of Centerville, Ga.; and many nieces and nephews. Also surviving are three stepsons, Ben Wilson Jr. (Doris), Billy Wilson (Amelia), both of Poquoson, and Ronnie Wilson (Betty), of North Carolina; a stepdaughter, Amy Budner (Marty), of Pennsylvania ; a stepdaughter-in-law, Ruth Wilson, of Poquoson; and a special stepdaughter, Judi Wilson Burton who was so good to Mary in many ways over the years (Glenn), of Poquoson; she also leaves behind many stepnieces, stepnephews, and stepgrandchildren.
The family will receive friends Thursday, July 26, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Claytor Rollins Funeral Home, Poquoson, and other times at the home of her daughter, Jeannie Freeman, 176 Hunts Neck Road. A funeral service will be held Friday, July 27, at 11 a.m. at Emmaus Baptist Church by the Rev. Dan Cromer and Dr. Julian Bridges (Mary's brother-in-law) of Abilene, Texas. Interment will follow at Parklawn Memorial Park, Hampton.
Memorial contributions may be made to Emmaus Baptist Church-General Fund, 814 Yorktown Road or Messick Baptist Church, 1118 Poquoson Avenue, or Poquoson Volunteer Rescue Squad, P. O. Box 2099, all Poquoson, VA 23662.
A special thank you to Dominion Village for the love and care they gave to Mary and also to Hospice Community Care for their added support. View and post condolences on our online guestbook at dailypress.com/guestbooks.

Published in Daily Press from July 26 to July 27, 2012
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