Edna Earl Boyett Bowling, 91, died February 17, at the Arbor Nursing Facility in Ridgeland. She had been the proprietress of Cottage Antiques, which she opened on North State Street in Jackson, Miss., in 1970.
She was born August 24, 1918, in Durant, Miss., and graduated from Sallis High School as valedictorian and attended Holmes Junior College. She then moved to Kosciusko and represented Kosciusko in the Miss Mississippi pageant, and won first alternate.
In 1940, she moved to Jackson, and was employed by Deposit Guaranty Bank until her marriage to Francis S. Bowling in 1942. They married at Galloway Memorial Methodist Church and were lifelong members.
She served as the first PTA president of the new Boyd Elementary School and also was on the citizens advisory committee on secondary education. She performed in many community children’s theater plays and was a charter member of the Pierian Federated Women’s Club.
Edna’s love for early American and English antiques led her to open her antique shop, and she especially enjoyed going on buying trips in the United States and England with family friends. She also loved reading, working in the garden and bird watching in her yard.
Edna was preceded in death by her husband, State Supreme Court Justice Francis S. Bowling; brother, James Hewitt Boyett; and sister, Ouida Pitre. Survivors include two daughters, Nancy Bowling Parker and husband Wayne of Ridgeland and Linda van Dyck of Palm Beach, Fla.; a sister, Claudine Matthews of Jackson; and several nieces and nephews.
Memorials may be made to Galloway United Methodist Church, 305 North Congress Street, Jackson MS 39201 or the charity of one’s choice.
I grew up in Jackson, Miss. My love and interest in antiques came to me as a gift from my mother, Rita Cook, as I tagged along with her for years, browsing through many shops throughout the South. It was her good friend, Edna Bowling, who as I grew older, more specifically introduced me to Pennsylvania and New England decorative arts †thus instilling in me, as a collector, an interest that has continued to develop since my high school days. It was during this time that Edna opened her shop, Cottage Antiques, in Jackson.
With a daughter living in Connecticut, and her love of antiques of the Northeast, she had a focus and direction for her buying trips. She enthusiastically made the long drive a few times during the year, loading up a U-haul trailer, buying from many of the longtime prominent New England and Pennsylvania dealers, including Howard and Priscilla Richmond and Bob Walin.
Upon returning to Jackson from these trips, Edna arranged exciting “openings” in her little shop, displaying the many wonderful antique treasures she had found †furniture, porcelains, textiles, paintings, folk art and toys. There was always a long line of devoted followers waiting at the door on these eventful days.
Edna Bowling’s fine taste, knowledge, enthusiasm and kindness made a lasting contribution, not only to my life, but to the lives of many others in my home town. I deeply appreciate the inspiration she brought to my life. It will be with me always.