Oxley-Heard Funeral Home has been serving the community since 1931.
Bertha Marie Rowland

Bertha Marie Rowland

January 24, 1923 - April 11, 2017     Age: 94

Mrs. Bertha Marie Rowland, age 94 of Fernandina Beach passed away peacefully on Tuesday afternoon, April 11, 2017 at her home, surrounded by her family.
Born in New Bedford, MA, she was one of seven children born to the late Fred and Laura Marie Cormier Arsenault. Her father who was a commercial deep sea fisherman on the New England Coast passed away tragically when Bertha was 8 years old. Her mother moved with the children back to her childhood home of Shediac, Canada for a short time before returning to Waltham, Massachusetts. At the age of 20, she met and married a young Sailor, Dupont Damon “Duke” Rowland. The newlyweds made their first home in Providence, RI where their first child was born. Upon her husband’s honorable discharge, they settled in his home town of McRae, GA. While her husband worked in Saw Mill and Petroleum businesses of South Georgia Mrs. Rowland made their home and raised their additional six children that were born while living in McRae. In 1958, in search of a better life for his family, the Rowlands moved to Fernandina Beach. Mr. Rowland immediately built Rowland’s Southern States on the corner of Magnolia Lane and 8th Streets and their home on adjoining property. He unexpectedly passed away later that same year. At the time of her husband’s passing Mrs. Rowland became a single mother of eight children and a business owner. In 1963, she began working as a Secretary for Exteen Corbett at Nassau Fertilizer. As she managed the needs of her children, and worked for Mr. Corbett she became the family matriarch. Her home became the safe haven not only for her children but also other family members as circumstances would require. Her children grew up knowing that their mother’s life was centered around each of their needs; both physical and spiritual. In 1976, her eldest son, Barry Edwin Rowland died in a local boating accident. The loss of her son left an indelible scar on her heart and emotions which drew her closer to her already deeply rooted faith within the Roman Catholic Church. Mrs. Rowland continued to work for Nassau Fertilizer until retiring in 1988.
She was a longtime and devout member of St. Michael Catholic Church where she delivered communion to members that were homebound, served on various committees responsible for the care of the altar linens.
Mrs. Rowland leaves behind those that she served; her children, Raymond Rowland and his wife Linda, Duane Rowland and his wife Peggy, Elaine Rhatigan and her husband Tommy, Doris Welch and her husband Richard, Norman Rowland and his wife Melanie, Renee Pitts and her husband Troy of Fernandina Beach, FL and Rush Rowland. She leaves behind two siblings she cherished, a brother, Jerry Arsenault, Dallas, TX, a sister, Doris Gordon, San Diego, CA, twenty four grandchildren, thirty six great grandchildren, three great great grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be at 11:00 am on Saturday, April 15, 2017 in the Burgess Chapel of Oxley Heard with the Reverend Father Tom Sullivan, officiating.
She will be laid to rest beside her mother in Bosque Bello Cemetery.
The family will receive friends from 10:00 AM until the hour of service at Oxley-Heard.

14 Condolences

  • Joni Reid Posted April 11, 2017 9:51 pm

    So sorry to hear of Ms. Rowland’s passing. Thoughts and prayers of comfort to the family.

  • Patty Arsenault Posted April 12, 2017 6:39 am

    What a beautiful lady I had the privilege of knowing all my life, her and my grandmother were my moms, never turning me away when I had any questions, and helping me with hard decisions in my life, She leaves behind all her fantastic children and grandchildren, and great grandchildren and nieces and nephews, always a smile for everyone that saw her. She will be missed dearly, she is with all the other family members she has missed now and her beloved husband. Fly on the wings of angels Aunt Bertha, no one has earned it more than you. I will love you now and forever…your niece Patty

  • Cindy (Miner) Evans Posted April 12, 2017 1:42 pm

    Renee, I am so sorry to hear of your mom’s passing. I have many fond memories of our younger days at St. Michaels and spending the night with you. Your mom was always so gracious and I remember well our fun times together…you were my first best friend in school. My thoughts and prayers are with your family, I know too well this feeling….Friday will be one year for my daddy. But, what a blessing to have had them as long as we did. Prayers that you will feel God’s loving arms wrapped tightly around me and that you will feel his comfort during these difficult days.

  • Wanda C. Mastin Posted April 13, 2017 7:36 pm

    Renee, my love, thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Your mom was a wonderful woman. Cherish the love and memories, knowing she is part of you always <3

  • Anita Portier White Posted April 13, 2017 7:44 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear about your mom. She was a wonderful person.

  • Brenda O’Hara Posted April 13, 2017 9:49 pm

    Sorry for your families loss, Monica. She sounded like a wonderful person.

  • Tim and Pat Middleton Posted April 13, 2017 9:55 pm

    Norman, Rush and all the Rowland family. We were very saddened when we learned of the passing of your mother. What a remarkable life she led. She certainly was a strong woman. With our deepest sympathy. Tim and Pat Middleton

  • BILL AND SARA DAVIS Posted April 14, 2017 9:18 am

    We first met Mrs. Rowland when our daughter became engaged to her grandson David. We were around her at many Rowland family gatherings, and were in awe of her and her life story. She truly lived a life of faith and family, but always with a quiet modesty and dignity. She will be greatly missed.

  • Jill and Steve Wyman Posted April 14, 2017 9:26 am

    Such an incredible gracious lady. Her legacy lives on in the family she has raised and loved. Our condolences and prayers to the family.

  • David and Lisa Burghardt Posted April 14, 2017 12:44 pm

    To Norman and the extended Rowland family, we were very sorry to learn of your mother’s passing. There are not too many things in life more painful than losing your parents. May the love you share hold you up in this time of sorrow. You are all in our thoughts and prayers.

  • Rick and Fran Blake Posted April 14, 2017 2:39 pm

    To Elaine Rhatigan, the Rhatigan family and the Rowland family: we send our sincere sympathy. She was a remarkable lady that led an exemplary life. All of us that met her are richer for that experience.
    She will be missed.

  • Penny Barnett Posted April 14, 2017 3:47 pm

    Duane and Family. Blessed that your MOM has lived a wonderful life and yawl had many days to love her; also many memories to cherish. This wonderful MOM has been honored to enter the gates of Heaven. May you find peace of mind in your own time.

  • Marsha Carman Posted April 14, 2017 9:01 pm

    Duane and family, Your sweet mom has entered into God’s peace and God’s rest! She wonderfully completed her earthly work and she has gone to her Heavenly Home! Some day when we finish our Lord’s work. We will see our Lord Jesus and our love ones on Holy Ground!

    For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:7-8

    Duane your classmates prayer team are praying for you and your sweet family I am sorry I am unable to attend I am taking care of my mom. God Bless you and your family, Marsha H. Carman

  • Mary hurley Posted April 15, 2017 1:21 pm

    Such a strong lady!! Was a great friend to my mom. Bertha was such a character!!!! Never a dull moment!

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