August 30, 1930 - May 15, 2020
UTICA - Mrs. Bessie Ruth (Smith) Steele Bowens, age 89, was glorified as she transitioned to glory on Friday, May 15, 2020 with those she loved most in her heart. Born in Elba, Alabama on August 30, 1930, Bessie was the youngest daughter of the late Columbus Alexander Smith, Sr. and Bessie (Harper) Smith. She was fortunate to be educated in the Coffee County Training High School because of her parent’s determination and having set the bar high for their children. Bessie met and married Willie E. Steele, Sr., and their union was blessed with four children. He admired her Christian way of life and he was amazed by her musical abilities and interests. Willie passed away in 1952. A blessing fell upon Bessie when she met Claude L. Bowens and they began sharing their lives. He was a wonderful provider to their three children, and he cared for Bessie’s children as his own. Claude passed away in May of 2005. In the hopes of a better life, Bessie and her family moved to the Utica area. Her honesty, transparency and immaculate housekeeping skills afforded her to become a domestic for several local prominent families. She had the fortitude of not only rendering love and care to these special families, but she returned to her own home and was a beacon of light and continued to keep a watchful eye over her household. In retrospect, those who knew Bessie all loved and respected her for her core values of integrity. As a mother, Bessie led by example, and she never strayed from her ways. She always did the right thing. She had a radiant smile that uplifted your spirit when you were in her presence. Her children were so honored that she was their mother, and she was proud of each of them and hoped that they would seek out the Lord and serve in whatever capacity that they could. She was a sincere supporter of the Ministry and volunteered as pianist at St. Matthew’s Temple Church of God in Christ, the Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church, and the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church. She was a talented musician and had been anointed to play and she did so with grace and dedication. Bessie was the eldest mother of her church, Believer’s Miracle Deliverance Ministries. She served as a Church Mother for women and men, and was a role model for many others. She lived the Bible and her stewardship was benevolent in her intention of seeing the church prosper. She praised the Lord and taught Sunday School, and spent the weekdays in between preparing and studying the Word of God. She saw good in all and sought out the better in everyone. She also saw any failing and found the courage to transform it to good. It was upon the rock from which she stood that she proclaimed with great strength and conviction. A great baker and outstanding cook, Bessie labored to prepare meals for her family, especially her boys because she loved them so much! Holidays were special to her, and she baked everybody’s favorite pies and she was credited for being an incredible cake maker that were unforgettable. Many plants adorned her home, and she catered and nurtured them with pride. She saw the beauty in each flower, carefully planted her annuals and had beautiful rose bushes, all were a reflection of her holiness. Bessie was a provider on all levels. From the tender age of 14 years old she received Christ in her life, and she credited her parents with setting the example she embraced from her childhood to the end of her days. A mentor to many, her radiant spirit and loyal support were hallmark to Mother Bowens. She was respected and her pearls of wisdom as well as her life experiences are found in many relationships that she formed, especially with her Pastor Angela U. Carter. Her Pastor felt that Bessie took her under her wing and as the tables turned she began to trust in her opinions and decisions. She was the first one to say “Amen”, and was so proud of the accomplishments of Pastor Angela and her children. Bessie is survived by her children, Alexander and Debbie Steele, Chief Apostle Willie J. Steele with whom she shared her life, her heart, and a home. It was through her love and support that her daughter accomplished the many great graces in her ministry; Prophetess Eleanor D. McDonald, and Donald L. Bowens. She was preceded and held close to her heart the memory of her children, Helen M. Bowens (1993), Willie Edward Steele Jr. (2006), and Roger Lee Bowens (2015). She will be remembered by her special daughter-in-law, Victoria Steele; her grandchildren, Michele Steele Motley (Rev. Charles Motley), Alexander Steele Jr., Shandele Steele, and Nicole Steele; Stacey M. Airall (Ralph D. Airall), the late Stephanie Steele; Javelle Howard, and Alicia D. Chin; Shawanda Steele; William Steele, Kahil Steele, Qiaja Steele; Tyra Bowens; and Myrtle Lambright (Kevin); 31 great-grandchildren; and her sister, Ovia R. Stephens. She also leaves a host of nieces and nephews, including Margaret Hester, Earl Loman, Hazel Stephens, and the late Supervisor Mildred L. Loman Eason; great-nieces, great-nephews; cousins, especially B.F. Smith; in-laws, Ann L. Smith, Darnelle Scott, Johnny Scott, and Bill Taylor; the gift of her godchildren, Pastor Angela U. Carter, Apostle Troy Wallace, Rev. Arthur Gary, and Thomas Bryant; and her church family from Believer’s Miracle Deliverance Ministries who meant the world to her. She was predeceased by her sister and brother-in-law, Ophelia and Clarence Loman; her brother who passed at childbirth; and brothers-in-law, Rev. Ceather Stephens, and Columbus A. Smith, Jr. The family extends their appreciation to Bessie’s physician of 25 years, Dr. Jerry Sloan; the 5th Floor Nursing staff at MVHS at St. Luke’s Healthcare for their kindness and tender care during Bessie’s last days; and extended family Pastor Angela Carter who was always by her side, Evangelist Kenneth and Yvonne Melchor who all came to the rescue, day or night to assist in any way they could. Due to current health concerns and in keeping with federal and state regulations, the immediate family will honor Mother Bowen’s life privately. In following her devotion, memorial contributions may be directed to Believer’s Miracles Deliverance Ministries, 207 Eagle St., Utica, NY 13501. Please take a moment to connect with Bessie’s family through the “Memories” section of her obituary on our website. Our prayers continue to go out to all as a sign of our community support.
UTICA - Mrs. Bessie Ruth (Smith) Steele Bowens, age 89, was glorified as she transitioned to glory on Friday, May 15, 2020 with those she loved most in her heart. Born in Elba, Alabama on August 30, 1930, Bessie was the youngest daughter of... View Obituary & Service Information
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