DUFFIELD, VA - Alma Bernice Bledsoe Bowen, 92, of Duffield, Virginia born on July 16, 1928, passed away Thursday, December 24, 2020.

Born in 1928, Alma graduated from Fairview High School as a premier member of the basketball team before attending Radford College and later the University of Virginia, where she graduated at the top of her class while pioneering as one of the first women to attend the school.

Alma began a long and illustrious teaching career spanning nearly four decades, humbly beginning in a single room schoolhouse in Dry Creek, then teaching at Purchase Ridge before finishing her career at Duffield-Pattonsville Elementary School. She instructed three generations and took immense pride in her work as a lifelong educator.

Following her retirement, Alma traveled Europe in 1999 with her daughter Donetta and granddaughter Lelia extensively researching the family’s genealogy and restoring missing gaps in the family history. They visited both the Bowen and Bledsoe castles in England, among many other highlights.

She was the daughter of Clarence Rufus Bledsoe and Elizabeth Banner Burchett Bledsoe. She met her beloved husband Dude William Bowen of 40 years at an early age when he used to save her the front seat on the bus driven by her eventual father-in-law, Smith “Pap” Bowen. They eloped to Spartansburg, SC before later settling in Duffield.

Alma was preceded in death by her husband Dude in 1986, and her two sisters Frankie Cabrie of Charlotte, North Carolina, and June Palmer of Kingsport, Tennessee.

Farming was a passion for Alma, she spent hours nearly every day gardening and could reliably be found in the field even into her late seventies probably chasing her cows. She was always on the lookout for fresh corn for her famous stovetop fried corn.

She was a member of Thomas Village Baptist Church and loved serving her community. Her generosity was boundless; Alma always put the needs of others before her own.

She is survived by her three children, Clarence W and wife Nancy H Bowen of Charlottesville, VA, Donetta Graham of Midlothian, VA, Michael Bowen and wife Louise Bozzi of Daytona, FL, nine grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

Alma and her family convey our deepest gratitude to the staff, aides, and volunteers of Nova Rehab Center for their thirteen years of dedicated care and compassion.

There will be a small graveside service arranged by Gate City Funeral Home to ensure the community’s safety at 1:00 p.m., Saturday, January 2, 2021 at Holston View Cemetery, Weber City, VA with Rev. Darryl Fletcher officiating.

Family and friends are asked to meet at Holston View Cemetery at 12:45 p.m., for the graveside service.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to local charities, churches, and communities. Cards may be sent ℅ Family of Alma Bowen, PO Box 7545 Charlottesville, VA 22906. Clarence Bowen can be reached by email at clarencewbowen@gmail.com or phone 434-760-2358.

An online guest register is available for the Bowen family at www.gatecityfunerals.com.

Gate City Funeral Home is honored to be serving the family of Alma. B. Bowen.