Della Luetisher Owens Tolbert
January 29, 1937 - August 16, 2011
Della Luetisher Owens Tolbert, 74 died August 16, 2011 in Fayetteville, NC. She was born in Lebanon, TN the tenth child of fourteen born to the late John Alvis and Gentry (Gilliam) Owens. She was the wife of the late Thaddeus Tolbert. She is the mother of Thaddeus A. Tolbert, Keyante D. Edwards-Tolbert. She was educated in public schools in Wilson County and Rutherford County. She travelled extensively as a Navy dependent the last duty station being Newport, RI and lived there 43 years. She trained at Newport Hospital as a Nurses' Assistant and worked there a total of 17 years until she became ill with lymph node cancer. After her health improved, she became involved with numerous civic and fraternal organizations: she was a member of the Community Baptist Church and its Trustee Board, the Senior Usher Board President of Paul Lawrence Dunbar Ministry. She produced fashion shows, wrote plays and directed them. She starred in “Revelation” an original play show-cased at RI School of Design by Newport Black Ensemble Theater for 2 years. She was a member of the Arthur Burton #1268 Auxiliary V.F.W. the Newport County Branch N.A.A.C.P., Chairperson of Banquet Souvinor Journas for many years. She is a past Daughter Ruler of Harriett Tubman Temple #88 I.B.P.O.E. of W. and Loyal Daughter Ruler of Liberty Council Past Daughter Rulers, past Commandress of Constantine Court #8, Daughter of Isis P.H.A. and was awarded Key to the City of Newport on April 26, 1986 for her charity work and Della L. Tolbert Day by Mayor Patrick Kirby. She was a Charter Member of William A. Heathman #66 Order of Golden Circle P.H.A. Presided as its first elected Loyal Lady Ruler and designed its dress cape in 1981. Member of Mt. Sinah Court Cyrene Crusaders P.H.A., past Matron of Queen Esther Chapter O.S.E. P.H.A. Past Grand Worthy Matron order of Eastern Star State of Rhode Island P.H.A. Past Presiding Chair Person of Regional North East Grand Matron and Grand Patrons Council P.H.A. (1990-91). She volunteered on many committees including Safe Place for Foster Children in Emergency Cases, E.E.O. for Newport School Department and others too numerous to mention. She moved to Fayetteville NC in 2005 to be near her niece and family. She joined Shekinah Glory Church of Faith and Deliverance, preceded by Pastor Bishop Grey Harper and served on the Mothers Board Ministry since 2006. For the last year, her health still deteriorating she continued as Chairperson of Pastors Banquet Journal. She is also survived by her very close devoted niece Felicia R. Bonner and Taminka, her companion Charles M. Baker, USN retired Boastswain Mate and 6 siblings Mary Reynolds, Betty Anderson, Viola Barber, John Alvis Owens Jr, James Henry Owens and Howard Owens, brothers-in-law, James Tolbert, Jerry Anderson and Glover Reynolds and sisters-in-law Bernice Owens and Georgia Mae Tolbert, god children Lynn Neves, Omar Landson, Chondra Almeida, Constante White and life-long family friend Bettye Parker.
Funeral Service Saturday, August 27 at 9 a.m. in Community Baptist Church, 50 Dr. Marcus F. Wheatland Blvd, Newport RI 02840.
Calling hours Friday, August 26 from 6 to 9 p.m. in the church.
She will be laid to rest with her beloved husband, Thaddeus in the Newport Memorial Park Cemetery, 123 Howland Avenue, Middletown, RI 02842.