Cover photo for Ruth Linger Rowles's Obituary
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Ruth Linger Rowles

d. October 4, 2022

Ruth Linger Rowles

ROWLES, Ruth Linger, age 98, died October 4th, 2022, at her home in Halifax, Virginia. She was preceded in death by her parents, the Rev. O. Afton Linger and Ammie Guthrie Linger; her husband, the Rev. James Rayfield Rowles, Jr.; and a son, John Mark Rowles, MD. She is survived by Mark’s widow, Ann Weaver Rowles of Atlanta Georgia. Also surviving are her two sons and their wives, the Rev. Stephen Paul Rowles, D.Min., and his wife, Cynthia Kendrick Rowles, of New Kent, Virginia, and James Timothy Rowles and his wife, Katherine Cox, of Efland, North Carolina.

She is also survived by a grandson, Matthew Mark Rowles and his wife, Heather Lantz Rowles, and their son, Ruth’s great-grandchild, James Afton Rowles, all of Atlanta, Georgia. Ruth also leaves an “unofficially adopted” son, John Esley Garrett of Charlotte, North Carolina.

A graduate of Elkins High School, Elkins, West Virginia, Ruth attended Bethel Women’s College in Hopkinsville, Kentucky for a year until the school closed due to WWII. While there she was elected chair of the Christian Young Women’s Group and was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society for junior colleges.  She then transferred to Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee, from which she graduated.

For twenty-three years she did not work outside the home but when her sons grew older, she returned to school and earned a degree as a librarian. For several years she was the librarian at George Hildebran School (grades 1-12) in North Carolina. When her husband was called as pastor of Beth Car Baptist Church in Halifax, they moved there and she became the librarian for Meadville Elementary School, where she served for 11 years.

After his retirement, her husband opened Rowles Counseling Service in Halifax. Ruth resigned as librarian to work with him as secretary-treasurer. From that time until his death in 1993, the two of them taught at Southside Community College.

For twenty years she and her husband were leaders in ACME:  the Association of Couples for Marriage Enrichment, whose motto was “making good marriages better.” They led retreats in Kentucky, North Carolina, Maryland, and Virginia. They also led workshops training ACME facilitators for many years and received the Special Recognition Award in 1988. In 1983, during the International ACME meeting in Atlanta, they led a workshop on “Spiritual Dimensions in Marriage.” For five years, ending with the death of her husband, they also led similar retreats at Ridgecrest, the national Southern Baptist assembly in western North Carolina.

Following her husband’s death, she led workshops at Eagle Eyrie, the Virginia Baptist state assembly grounds. As a pastor’s wife, she was quite active in all the churches he served, teaching Sunday School Classes and Vacation Bible School, and leading Women’s Missionary organizations. She and a friend from North Carolina organized the “Samantha Dolls” project in the Dan River Baptist association, an organization that makes dolls and distributes them to hospitalized children. For six years she served as Clerk of the Dan River Baptist Association. She was a long-time member of Beth Car Church and had served terms as Deacon.

A celebration of her life will take place in Beth Car Baptist Church, 25 Church Street, Halifax, Virginia 24558 on Saturday, October 8, 2022, at three o’clock in the afternoon. There will be a time of visitation following in the church’s fellowship hall. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Rowles Scholarship Fund at Beth Car Church or to Beth Car, whose address is above.

The family is deeply grateful for her medical team, her many friends, her church family, and her wonderful and devoted caregivers, especially LaWanda Chandler, Rosa Crews, and Pam Fannin.

Online condolences may be directed to

Arrangements entrusted to Powell Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 1603 Wilborn Ave., South Boston, VA 2459

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ruth Linger Rowles, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Funeral Service

Saturday, October 8, 2022

Starts at 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

Beth Car Baptist Church

25 Church St, Halifax, VA 24558

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