MOUNTCASTLE, ESTELLE

MOUNTCASTLE, Mrs. Estelle Iris Fowlkes, of Providence Forge, Va., passed away in her home, surrounded by family and wildlife on August 21, 2019. She was 92. Born at home on June 30, 1927, in South Richmond, Estelle flourished into a beautiful young woman, wife, mother and community member. She was equally a woman of nature who hunted, fished and trekked in the woods with her beloved husband, George. George and Estelle met in grade school, where a more serious Estelle at first rebuffed George's mischievous play. As all who knew them can attest, he won her heart, and theirs was an enduring love story. She graduated from Smithdale-Massey Business College, and in the mid-1940s Estelle became the executive secretary to the Commander at Cheatham Annex Naval Base in Yorktown. She would later go on to work at the C & O Railroad. Estelle was a member of a strong community. Among many other things, she was there for her children's school activities and was an active member of the Providence Forge Presbyterian Church and the historic Olivet Church, keeping its history books. For 20 years, her husband was chief of the volunteer fire department, and from their home, she was the night dispatcher. As a child of the Depression era, making good use of resources and saving were lifelong traits. In a sense, she was also a keeper of stories, with her meticulous research and recording of family genealogy. Her bounds of photographs date back to the 1800s with names and dates faithfully noted on the backs of each one. She has boxes of jewelry and artifacts from her childhood to the present with notes tucked in them telling where they came from. Whatever Estelle set out to do was done with great care, from her professional work, to sewing beautiful dresses for her daughter, crocheting baby blankets for her grandchildren, to cooking and baking. She made jams that graced the Christmas breakfast table every year and canned from the garden. It's hard to say how many pounds of walnuts and crabs she picked for cakes and cookies and crab casseroles! Her family was fortunate to have a house at Gywnn's Island on the Chesapeake Bay for fishing, swimming and wake boarding, with boards handmade by George. They also had a mountain cabin in Bedford, Va., where many adventures were had and memories made. When her children were grown, Estelle became an avid photographer. After her husband passed away in 1994, she traveled with friends worldwide. Throughout the years until her passing, deer, turkeys and birds delighted her in the fields just beyond her windows. Estelle was preceded in death by her parents, Charlie and Lillian Fowlkes; her husband, George Warren Mountcastle; and her brother, Irvine Fowlkes. She is survived by her three children, G. Warren Mountcastle Jr. (Susan Malechek), David Mountcastle (Wanda) and Nancy Harris (Dick); five grandchildren, Carol Caldwell Bechtold (Roy), Jon Caldwell (Alicia), Jessica Mountcastle Strain (Christopher) and Michael Mountcastle, Chris Finley (Rhonda); seven great-grandchildren, Jolie Kamm, Kathleen Hankins, Brayden and Sadie Caldwell, Wyatt and Sophia Strain and Harrison Bechtold. Estelle is also survived by Edna Dean Fowlkes, her sister-in-law, whom she regarded as a sister. A funeral service will be held 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 24, at Providence Forge Presbyterian Church, with burial following at Olivet Presbyterian Church. The family will receive friends from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, August 23, at Vincent Funeral Home, 9923 Pocahontas Trail, Providence Forge, Va. Tributes can be posted at www.vincentfh.com.

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