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Memories & Candles

“Grandma ”
1 of 2 | Posted by: Aaron Lorenzo Starks - Washington, DC

“I just found about Ms. Bea's death. She was a neighbor to my mother and myself. She would often come to my mother's house and sit on the porch, as...Read More »
2 of 2 | Posted by: Domonique Williams - Washington, DC


Beatrice Bowman Harley, daughter of the late Reverend Joshua and Estelle Hickerson was born December 26, 1914, in King George, Virginia. Bea was the first of three children; she had one sister, Virginia Hickerson, and one brother, Esaias Hickerson. Bea accepted Christ at a very early age and became a member of St. Stephens Baptist Church. As a child, she attended many Churches pastored by her Grandfather, the late Reverend Woodson Hickerson, with her father. Bea attended grade school in King George, Virginia and later, attended Cardoza High School in Washington, DC where she completed her high school education. As a young teenager, Bea worked as a domestic worker in Dahlgren, Virginia. While working as a domestic, she learned proper etiquette, and expanded her communication and "people" skills. Desiring to pursue a career, Bea left home at the age of sixteen, and settled in Arlington, Virginia. Inspired by the Madam C. J. Walker, Bea sought training in Cosmetology. Bea became so successful in cosmetology; that she was able to save money to buy her first home in Arlington, Virginia. Bea cared for over thirty foster children in her Arlington, home. Other young children in the community and the children Bea fostered would gather at Bea's home to learn hymns. One day, in the 1940's while traveling in the District of Columbia Bea met William Bowman, who studied Ministry at Howard University. In 1950, Bea was joined in holy matrimony to the late Reverend Bowman. They were blessed with a son, Paul. William and Bea enjoyed serving the Lord – he Pastored and she served as First Lady at three churches between Washington, DC and Orange County, VA; raising their son Paul, and traveling until William's death in February 1976. In 1979, Beatrice was joined in holy matrimony to Deacon Frank Harley of Southeast, Washington, DC. Frank and Bea lived happily until Frank's death in March 2001. After the passing of Frank, Bea learned to oil paint. Bea enjoyed to paint and sold several paintings, as others enjoyed her work as well. Bea was a loving and devoted mother, aunt, and in-law. Not only did she love and adore her family and friends, she was truly a blessing to children. Bea enjoyed, cooking, entertaining, traveling, painting, and playing the piano and teaching family and friends to play the piano. Bea taught hundreds of student's beginner piano and organ lessons in her home and would have her students display their talents at annual, formal recitals. Her love for musical instruments lead her to learn to play the guitar. Bea also loved working in her yard and enjoyed feeding the neighborhood cast, which she also loved. On Sunday, March 22, 2015, Beatrice was called home to rest. Beatrice leaves to cherish her memories beloved son, Paul Bowman and daughter-in-law Patricia Bowman; three grandchildren: Cecelia Jeter, Dereka Bowman, and Aaron Starks; two great grandchildren: Perri and Malik Jeter; one "selected" sister, Patti Mae Baskerville; three sisters-in-law: Catherine Wise of Greenville, Mississippi and Carrie Durdan of Ferriday Louisiana; and Erma Winfield of Los Angeles, California; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family and friends.

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