Mattie Spence Dowtin lived her faith and loved her family for 106 years. She was born August 23, 1914. On Saturday April 3, 2021, she passed away quietly at her home in Norfolk, Virginia.
Mattie was the loving matriarch of a sprawling family that resided primarily in Virginia, but also reached Washington D.C., Maryland, Georgia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Florida and as far away as Oakland, California.
Aunt Mattie, as she was so affectionately known, survived her husband, Walter Dowtin, Sr. As a young widow, she raised her only son, Walter Jr., who grew up to become a U.S. Marshal. She is survived by her devoted son Walter Jr., 79, his wife Brenda, their two daughters, Miriam Telford (Stephen) and Helen Dowtin (Lloyd Hooks). Mattie has two great grandchildren, Simone Telford, 15, and Lenora Hooks, 3.
Aunt Mattie is the last survivor of 14 children of Nora and Robert Spence from Hickory, Virginia. They raised their children on the family farm and owned a general store. Mattie was preceded in death by her siblings: Clara Manuel, Ethel Godfrey, Mary Rodgers, Mable Reid, Arizona Wilson, Rethella (Barbara) White, Ernestine Ellis, Robert Spence, Albert Spence, Columbus Spence, Colby Spence, Wilbur Johnson and Stanley Johnson.
Aunt Mattie was a devoted Christian. In 2019, she was honored by her home church, Gabriel Chapel AME Zion in Chesapeake, Virginia, which the Spence family co-founded more than a century ago. During the 118th session of the Norfolk District Conference, Mattie received the Deaconess Award for her faithful and dedicated service to the church and the community.
Mattie Dowtin was beloved by her family, friends, and all who benefited from her many acts of kindness.
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