Ruth Estelle Bowser Lewis

Ruth Estelle Bowser Lewis, 81, of Manteo, N.C. passed away on March 18, 2020 at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital surrounded by her family.

Ruth was born on October 26th, 1938 to Hazel Pearl Scarborough (deceased) and Lloyd Meekins Sr. (deceased) in Manteo, North Carolina. She had two siblings Lloyd Meekins Jr. (deceased) and Thelma Thrash (deceased). She loved dancing, basketball, sports cars, baking, and learning as much as she could from her mother.

On December 23rd, 1976 Ruth married the love of her life Clarence Lewis and began her world travels. During her travels as a military spouse, she had the opportunity to work all over the world. Her work included setting up the Kitty Concern daycare in Hanau, Germany, and providing services for families as a social worker in Hawaii.

She started the Economic Improvement Council in Manteo, North Carolina. When she returned to Dare County after living away, Ruth was hired as the first African American Social Worker in Dare County and help to set up the daycare at the Presbyterian Church. She also spent some time as a corrections officer at Pasquotank County Correctional Facility.

In recent years she started her business Baking House on the Corner (Native Born & Bread). She enjoyed baking for others, spending time with her family, competing in the senior games, and reading her bible. She was a member of the American Legion Women’s Auxiliary, Order of the Eastern Star, and the Golden Circle. She was an ordained minister.

Ruth believed in setting goals and not stopping until you reached them. She also believed in living and teaching by example. She was the Salutatorian of her high school class and returned to college in her 50’s. While working full time, she went to night school, took care of her mother, and provided a happy and loving home for her family. She is an example that hard work and perseverance pay off.

Ruth had a passion for justice. She had the desire to make the community and the world a better place for all. Twenty-nine years ago, she took on the mantle of spearheading the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration and took joy in helping others understand the work of Dr. King.

In her later years, she battled cancer twice and won. Her faith and joy in the midst of all things are a testament to the goodness of God. When anyone else would have broken, she stayed strong. Through her, we know what resilience, perseverance, and love truly look like. She was a beacon of light to those who knew her well and a friend to those in need. Her favorite scripture was Psalms 23, and her favorite saying was “The Lord is my Shepard”. She loved life, her husband, and all of her children. She was a strict disciplinarian and often presented a tough demeanor but would give you her last if she had it to give.

Ruth was preceded in death by her daughter Ella Planter, and is survived by her husband Clarence Lewis, daughters Wanda Muhammad, Anjelica Lewis, and Michelle Lewis, and sons Alton Tillett Jr (Nicole S. Tillett) and Michael Lewis (Eva R. Lewis). She has 8 grandchildren (Tashia, Derrick, Frederick, Monica, Timothy, Marcel, Ayman, and Tauheedah), and a host of great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, extended family, and friends. The bible says to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Cor 5:8). While Ruth may not be here on earth with us we know she is with her heavenly father, reunited with her loved ones, and truly free of all hurt, harm, and danger.

Cards and condolences can be sent to 514 Sir Walter Raleigh Street, Manteo, N.C. 27954.

Funeral arrangements are forthcoming.

Twiford Funeral Homes, Outer Banks is assisting the family with arrangements. Condolences and memories can be shared at