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Mrs. Mary Thelma (Newkirk) Dowdy, 97, of Southern Pines, North Carolina entered into eternal rest on Wednesday, September 27, 2023, at Dahlia Gardens in Aberdeen, North Carolina.
Please visit https://www.facebook.com/dccreativeconcepts/ for livestreaming of St. Mary Thelma Newkirk Dowdy services on Sunday, October 8th during the noted service time(s).
The journey of life began on May 2, 1926, when Mary Thelma Newkirk was born to Charles Henry and Sarah Lena Alston Newkirk, in Southern Pines, North Carolina. Her 97 years, 4 months, and 25 days’ journey were completed on September 27, 2023, at Dahlia Gardens Nursing Facility in Aberdeen, North Carolina.
Mary’s education began at West Southern Pines School. At the time she attended, there were only eleven grades. When the twelfth grade was added, she was one of the first eleven to graduate from the twelfth grade. As tall as she was, she played guard on the high school basketball team. She received a Nursing Certificate using it to serve those in need and worked as a domestic engineer in the Moore County area for many years.
At an early age, she was immersed into the Church of God and Saints of Christ by Elder A. J. Person and was a life-long member. Her desire was always to serve God, and to work in the tabernacle and this religious body. She was placed in the choir and sang alto. St. Mary was dedicated to this religious body, serving for many years as the tabernacle secretary, the Daughter’s Auxiliary secretary, and on the local Trustee Board. She not only worked locally, but she would also lend a “cooking hand” in the dining room during the Passover and Assembly at Headquarters in Belleville, Virginia. At the 1976 Passover she was appointed to the office of Southern District Choir Treasurer, serving for over 42 years. She loved all the Leaders of this religious body and worked locally and nationally to keep the banner from trailing the ground. St. Mary willingly opened the doors to her house and welcomed members who would come to visit the Southern Pines Tabernacle.
Mary met James W. Dowdy; they were married on December 10, 1944. To this union two children were born, Jimmy and Libby. Together with their own children they raised her sister’s two children: Curtis (Punchy) and Ardis (Skip) Caldwell. Her love for education led her to become a member of the West Southern Pines PTA, and serve for several years as the secretary.
She mentored and assisted in raising many other children in the tabernacle and was very active in the community. She joined the Golden Star Chapter 84 of the Eastern Stars in Southern Pines.
St. Mary was a jovial, fun-loving person always bringing some laughter and light to whomever she was around. She enjoyed playing bingo and Pokeno with her church family, neighbors, and friends. St. Mary really got into the basketball games while watching her nephews playing in high school and college. She acted as though she was the coach of the team.
St. Mary, also known to close family as “Miss Tillie”, will be missed by many. We will not forget her sock-it-to-me cakes, her famous pound cakes and chicken biscuits.
She will be remembered by her son James Jr; daughter, Libby (husband, Howard); granddaughter, Kim (husband, Bobby) and grandsons, Hosea (wife, Kyeisha) and Lamar; a loving and caring Daughter-in-Love, Marylin Bennett; fifteen great-grandchildren; four great-great-grandchildren; one sister, Elvy Ola Newkirk; and a host of other relatives and dear friends.
Please keep the family and friends of Mrs. Mary Thelma (Newkirk) Dowdy in your thoughts and prayers.
Arrangements are entrusted to McLeod Funeral Home of Southern Pines, North Carolina.