Estelle Iris Fowlkes Mountcastle
Estelle Iris Fowlkes Mountcastle, 92, of Providence Forge, VA, passed away in her home surrounded by family and wildlife on Aug. 21, 2019.
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 firs rebuffed George’s mischievous play. As all who knew them can attest, he won her heart, and theirs was an enduring love story.
Estelle graduated from Smithdale-Massey Business College, and in the mid-1940s, she became the executive secretary to the Commander at Cheatham Annex Naval Base in Yorktown. She would later go on to work and C&O Railroad.
Estelle was a member of a strong community. Among other things, she was there for her children’s activities and was an active member of 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 had 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 taught to crocheting baby blankets for her grandchildren, all the way up to her 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 Gwynn’s Island on the Chesapeake Bay for fishing, swimming, and wakeboarding, 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, Charles and Lillian Fowlkes; her husband, George Warren Mountcastle, and her brother, Irvin 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, and Chris Finley (Rhonda); seven great-grandchildren, Jolie Kamm, Kathleen Hankins, Brayden and Sadie Caldwell, Wyatt and Sophia Strain, and Harrison Bechtold; and sister-in-law, Edna Dean Fowlkes, whom she regarded as a sister.
A funeral service was held on Saturday, Aug. 24, at Providence Forge Presbyterian Church, with burial following at Olivet Presbyterian Church.
Tributes can be posted at www.vincentfh.com.