Legendary in her achievements both as a business woman and community patron, Rowena Fullinwider’s goal was always to make the world a better place. She was a shining example of what a woman could accomplish. From simple joys, such as canning fruit from her backyard fruit trees to making scrumptious pound cakes for charities, Rowena creatively started a business in the 1980’s that exploded into a successful enterprise. The business started with a renovated warehouse to accommodate a gourmet manufacturing facility where you can still find her dreamy traditional desserts like her Almond Pound Cake and her Island Kissed Key Lime Pound Cake – both earning her the reputation as the “Cake Lady.” Once her store was opened, patrons would seek out her Carrot Jam and other delicacies that were unique. Rowena was showcased in many publications, including the Ladies Home Journal, Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Taste of Home, Redbook and Southern Living. She appeared on the 700 Club, PBS and The Food Network. She authored two children’s books The Adventures of Rowena and Carrot Jam the Rabbit and The Adventures of Rowena and the Jam and Jelly Factory.
Rowena’s community involvement included supporting the Girl Scouts. She became a Girl Scout Brownie at the age of six. In an interview in 2009, she said, “I’ve been a Scout all my life. It made such an impact on me when I was growing up. I absolutely loved all the activities that the Scouts introduced me to – the crafts, the camping and involvement in the community with cookie sales and other projects. It gave me confidence and truly prepared me for my own business.”
As an adult, Rowena served in many roles including as a Girl Scout leader and later on the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast (GSCCC) Board of Directors. She also served as the Capital Campaign Chair to raise funds for the construction of A Place for Girls. Today, girls enjoy cooking in Rowena’s Kitchen at A Place for Girls. Rowena was recognized with the Girl Scout Thanks Badge, the highest award given to an adult, and the Council’s prestigious Dorothy Barber Lifetime Achievement Award. She was honored as a 2012 Famous Former Girl Scout and was spotlighted in the 2012 Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast Celebration of Girl Scouts’ 100th Anniversary Calendar. Rowena also helped Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast to become a community partner of the Southeastern Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners – a chapter she helped found.
Always generous and thoughtful, Rowena contacted GSCCC in late May to donate 200 of her books. This summer, girls who attended camp sessions that included cooking themes were given The Adventures of Rowena and Carrot Jam the Rabbit book. Campers enjoyed using her recipes and learned about this outstanding woman who has been a role model for so many women and girls and will continue to be through her enduring legacy.
A memorial service will take place at 11:00 a.m. on July 27, 2013, at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 1004 Graydon Avenue, Norfolk, Va 23507. Rowena will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Donations, in lieu of flowers, may be made to the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast, 912 Cedar Road, Chesapeake, Va 23322. Funeral arrangements will be handled by H.D. Oliver Funeral Apartments, and online condolences may be offered to the family at www.hdoliver.com. Obituary notice.