Mary Jennifer Jones Stewart, beloved wife, mother, teacher, and friend, passed away on July 20, 2023, at her home on Knotts Island, NC. She was born on October 16, 1974, in Norfolk, VA. Jennifer was 48 years old at the time of her passing.
Jennifer’s journey was marked by a passion for learning and a dedication to her work. She graduated from Norfolk Collegiate School before attending Hollins University on a field hockey scholarship. Jennifer later earned a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from James Madison University. Throughout her career, she found fulfillment as a teacher, field hockey coach, daycare center organizer, and private tutor.
It was during her encounter with the renowned chef Anthony Bourdain that Jennifer’s curiosity for cuisine and cooking traditions ignited. She had the opportunity to work at Tautogs Restaurant, Colbat Grille Restaurant, and Ray Ray’s at the Mayflower, exploring her love for food. As stated by Anthony Bourdain, “You learn a lot about someone when you share a meal together.” One of Jennifer’s favorite quotes.
Beyond her professional endeavors, Jennifer possessed a range of interests that defined who she was. She delighted in hosting, providing a warm and welcoming environment to create memorable experiences for those around her. Additionally, she found solace in the pages of books, with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” holding a special place in her heart. Jennifer’s love for music found expression in the soul-stirring notes of “Two Step” by Dave Matthews Band, a song that resonated deeply with her. Her favorite movies, including “Jaws,” “Shawshank Redemption,” “Princess Bride,” “The Goonies,” and “Almost Famous,” provided endless joy and inspiration.
Jennifer will be remembered for the love and devotion she shared with her family and friends. She was preceded in death by her mother and stepfather, Mary and Carl Laycock of Norfolk, VA; her father, William Thomas Jones, Jr. of Norfolk, VA; maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. James Earl Tumblin, Sr. of Jeffersonville, GA; and fraternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. William Thomas Jones, Sr. of Macon, GA.
Left to cherish her memory are her beloved husband, Marco E. Lepiz Montoya of Knotts Island, NC; her daughters, Mary Jane Stewart, Jill McCoy Stewart, and Julia Lester Stewart, all of Virginia Beach, VA; her uncle Richard Tumblin and wife Dianne of Portsmouth, VA; and a host of cousins: Evan Tumblin, Amy Leavell Bransford, John C. Moody, Nancy M. Moody, Samuel Moody, Tony Bond, Leesa R. Bond, Julie L. Secura, Daniel Ryan Elks, Laura Suzette Spears, Michelle D. Wheeler, and James Patrick Terry. Jennifer also leaves behind her faithful friend, Teddy, her black lab, who brought her great joy and companionship.
Jennifer’s unwavering dedication to her three daughters was truly admirable. She consistently put their needs above her own and embodied the selflessness and sacrifice that defines a great mother.
Jennifer’s presence will be deeply missed by all who knew her. She touched the lives of many, leaving behind beautiful memories that will forever be treasured. As she would often say, “The sky looks different when you have someone you love up there.”
Twiford Funeral Homes, Outer Banks is assisting the family with arrangements. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.TwifordFH.com.