FARNHAM—Proverbs 31:25-31 “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue…”
Pearl Marie Rich-Conaway of Farnham, the daughter of the late Robert and Mazie Rich, entered into eternal rest Friday, February 11, 2022.
She was born October 26,1931, in Kilmarnock, one of 19 children. Pearl was educated in the Northumberland County school system and attended Julius Rosenwald High School.
She met the love of her life, Lewis Conaway Sr. at a local bakery, and if you know Pearl you have heard the story of how Lewis bought a pie every day until she agreed to go on a date with him. They married, made their home in Morattico, and nurtured and loved 12 children. In addition to being a full-time mom, housewife and supporting her husband’s businesses, Pearl loved to cook and entertain.
Lewis, also a musician and awesome chef, made a perfect match for Pearl and as a young couple their home became the place to be every week especially on Friday nights when they entertained family and friends.
Pearl began her journey to Christ when she and Lewis hosted in their home the Church of Deliverance Sunday morning radio broadcasts before the church was built. Prior to giving her life to Christ, she fell deathly ill and credited God for her healing, promising service to him.
When the doors of the Church of Deliverance opened four years later, she accepted the Lord as her personal savior at 35 years old. Pearl and Lewis devoted the rest of their lives to ministry, their church and community, and raised their children to do the same. They were two of the church’s most dedicated and resolute supporters until their transitions to their heavenly home. You could find Pearl without fail on the second pew on the right side, every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday nights and all day Sunday praising God, shouting and testifying under the anointing.
Excited to spread the word and love of Jesus, Pearl was a faithful member of the Church of Deliverance Prayer Band led by sister Hilda Quinn. This group of women prayer warriors brought many souls to Christ as they went into homes and hospitals weekly to minister and bring comfort to those in the community who needed prayer, food and clothing.
Sister Pearl also taught Sunday school for young adults, served in the Prison Ministry, sang on the adult and women’s choirs, spearheaded the hospitality committee and evangelized throughout the Northern Neck. She traveled once a week to Gloucester County to support the Church of Deliverance’s second location. And in the midst of her service, Pearl somehow found the time to complete training at the Morris Cerullo School of Ministry.
Pearl accepted the honor of Church Mother in April 1999 when the church reopened and was a major contributor towards fundraising. During this period she also served as a Meals on Wheels volunteer and later began to fill in as worship leader and an advisor to the church’s ministries.
Mother Pearl lost her devoted partner, Lewis, in November of 2017. Just as he would have wanted, at 87 years young, you could still find her in church every Sunday in high fashion, leading the church in devotion and singing in the choir, traveling with the church for services, and making the best “mac n cheese” for church functions. She was the church’s oldest and most young at heart member, most avid supporter, faithful prayer warrior and counselor. This past September Pearl celebrated 51 years of her Holy Ghost-filled walk with God alongside the Church of Deliverance.
Outside of church activities, Pearl loved to spend her time with family. She participated in family games and sports even as a senior. Collecting antiques, shopping, dining out, perusing Facebook, home interior decorating, singing with family and cooking were her favorite things to do.
To say she will be greatly missed is indeed an understatement. Pearl leaves many beautiful memories as a mother to the church and her children, grandmother, wife, aunt, friend and counselor to many. She will forever be remembered for her devout love of God, selflessness, humility and the unconditional love she extended to all she knew.
She was also preceded in death by her parents, Robert and Maize Rich; first born, Cornell Bruington Conaway; her siblings, James, Louise, Robert Jr., Charles, Oliver, Odell, Thornton, Carroll, Delma, Melvin and Franklin; a daughter-in-law, Elsie Conaway; a son-in-law, Timothy White; two grandsons, Mark Mickles and Christopher White; and one granddaughter, Shana Conaway.
She leaves to cherish her memory, four sons, Donald Conaway (Tammy), Lively, Lewis Conaway Jr. (Debbie), Baltimore, Md., Karl Conaway, Arlington, Roy Conaway (Lisa), Virginia Beach; six daughters, Veronica White, Lancaster, Maxine Yerby (James), Birmingham, Ala., Diane Nickens (Dean) Clinton, Md., Frances Hodges (Joseph), Norfolk, Ivy Conaway (Hugh), New York, N.Y., Angelia Darrough (Steven), Portsmouth, and Sarah Jean Conaway, Houston, Texas; a daughter-in-law, Tessie Conaway; three brothers, Raymond Rich (Barbara), Kilmarnock, Glendon Rich, Hollywood, Calif., Lee Anderson Rich (Connie), Baltimore; four sisters, Betty Williams, Baltimore, Frances Jones, Baltimore, Jaqueline King, Baltimore, Glendora Rich, Baltimore, 33 grandchildren, 56 great-grandchildren, 17 great-great-grandchildren, a brother-in-law, five sisters-in-law; and a host of nieces and nephews.