October 14, 1932 - September 19, 2015
Marianna Rowlett Harris passed away on September 19, 2015, in Charlotte, North Carolina, after an extended illness. As a child in Tazewell, Virginia, Marianna developed a life-long love for the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains and for the United Methodist Church, where she spent many years of loving service. A graduate of Emory & Henry College in Emory, VA, and of the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, GA, Marianna worked as a Christian educator, and as the Executive Director of the United Methodist Neighborhood Centers in Chattanooga, TN. She served tirelessly and fearlessly to improve the lives of children and their families who struggled to overcome poverty, and her Christian faith led her to work for justice, compassion, equality and peace, even in times of great social unrest. Always preferring to serve behind the scenes, she could not escape notice for her work, and the Chattanooga Times featured her in an article titled “Thoroughly Methodist Marianna” in 1967. After a lifelong spiritual and professional affiliation with the United Methodist Church, Marianna retired from State Street United Methodist Church in Bristol, VA after serving there as the Diaconal Minister of Programs. At all times, her church home was the rock upon which she stood, as she gladly accepted the challenges that life brought her way, striving always to do her best, to reflect God’s presence in any situation, and to seek and obey God’s will. She is remembered as a loyal friend, a lover of nature and of beautiful music, an adventurous traveler, a woman of quiet strength, determination and unwavering faith, and a source of deep compassion for those she served in times of suffering. Most of all, she is remembered for her life of sacrificial service to her family and community. On her happiest days, she explored winding mountain back roads, scrambling over fences with her metal pail in search of wild blackberries, finding her strength and deep joy in the beauty of it all. She treasured these words from Psalm 121, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains-where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Preceded in death by her husband, Rev. James Bibb Harris, Jr. in 1962, Marianna is survived by twin daughters, Anne Rowlett Harris of Greensboro, NC, and Martha Harris Brown of Charlotte NC, and devoted son-in-law Addison Brown. She is also survived by grandchildren Baylor Brown and wife Maegan, Harrison Brown, and Marianna “Meg” Brown. Also surviving her are her sister, Martha Graybeal Rowlett of Asheville NC, and brother Peyton Lee “Pete” Rowlett and his wife Virginia “Ginny” Bates Rowlett of Knoxville TN, and many loved nieces and nephews. The family will receive friends Thursday, September 24, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Blevins Funeral Home, 417 Lee Street, Bristol VA. A Celebration of Life will be held at the Chapel on the campus of Emory & Henry College on Friday, September 25, at 11:00 a.m. The family expresses gratitude to the caring staff at the Asbury Center in Charlotte NC, the staff of Seniors Helping Seniors, and to Hospice and Palliative Care of Charlotte. In honor of her life, and in lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The Nature Conservancy, Attn: Treasury, 4245 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 100, Arlington, VA 22203, or to the Legacy Fund of the United Methodist Women, Attn: Martha Knight, Treasurer, 475 Riverside Dr., Room 1503, New York, NY 10115.
Marianna Rowlett Harris passed away on September 19, 2015, in Charlotte, North Carolina, after an extended illness. As a child in Tazewell, Virginia, Marianna developed a life-long love for the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains and for the... View Obituary & Service Information
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