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Debra Nash Cheeley Bowles passed away on Saturday, September 3, 2022. She was born July 28, 1956, to Milton Lee and Marie Bulifant Cheeley, preceded in death by her parents and the love of her life, husband, Ray Wade Bowles. Left to cherish her memory are her daughters, Vickie Marie Brewer, Phyllis Brewer Fox (Bubba) and Laura Hall (Brian). In November 1991 Ray brought three additional children into her life, Christopher Ray Bowles, Sheree Marie Bowles and Richard Wade Bowles. She was “Gammy” to seven grandchildren Rebecca Grace Branch, Cameron Wade Bowles, Zaden Walker, Renée Elizabeth Fox, Rachel Elizabeth Walker, Elyse Marie Fox and Dylan Hall. She is also survived by her brother Taz, nephew Ryan Blake Cheeley (Geri) and their children Blake and Vivian. Her amazing cousin she always called her sister, Julie Pond (Doug), the father of her first three girls, George Brewer III and many other wonderful family members. By her side to the end, her companion Daisy River, the world’s best Basset hound. Debra’s best friend Dianna Gustinis (Rick) and special friends, Sandy Smith, Mattie Newsome, Rob Covington and forever son-in-law Jacob “Tiny” Walker, coworkers Candice Pemberton, Lisa Braxton and Pam Nichols.
Debra worked for Colonial Heights City Schools for 27 years, then the City of Richmond City Clerk’s Office since 2012.
She had a love of music, starting piano at the age of 7, the organ at age 12 that she shared through her love of Christ with several local churches starting with Tabb Street Presbyterian on Mother’s Day 1972. She brought joy to congregations at Covenant Presbyterian, Colonial Heights Presbyterian, Colonial Heights Baptist, Wesley United Methodist, Highland United Methodist and finally Washington Street UMC in 2015. She loved sharing her faith through music leading children and youth choirs and handbell choirs for all ages. After retirement, she continued to substitute at several churches including St. Marks UMC, Second Baptist Church of Petersburg Colonial Christian and First Baptist Church Petersburg. She helped others celebrate by playing for many weddings and social events throughout the state.
Debra was a graduate of Colonial Heights High School, Class of 1974. She attended Richard Bland College, Longwood College where she studied music with an emphasis in piano and later graduated with honors from Virginia State University in Human Resources Management.
An active philanthropist as a member of the Colonial Heights Optimist Club, Colonial Heights Women of the Moose and Ladies Auxiliary of Petersburg Fraternal Order of the Eagles #882, where she was installed as President this year and also served on the Board of Trustees where she was a lifetime member of Highland UMC.
Her heart was full of love for her family, friends, music and Christ. She enjoyed sewing, crocheting and working jigsaw puzzles. As she would tell each of us at the end of a call or in her sweet messages, “I love you always.”
A funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, September 9, 2022 in Highland United Methodist Church, 125 E Westover Avenue, Colonial Heights, VA. Interment will follow in Blandford Cemetery, Petersburg, VA. The family will receive friends from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 8, 2022 at church. Funeral arrangements are being handled by the Colonial Heights Chapel of the E. Alvin Small Funeral Homes & Crematory, 2033 Boulevard. Condolences may be registered at www.ealvinsmall.com
Thursday, September 8, 2022
6:00 - 8:00pm (Eastern time)
Friday, September 9, 2022
Starts at 11:00am (Eastern time)
Friday, September 9, 2022
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