Bertha Marie Rowland
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.