Birmah Palle Bowman Stemler

October 30, 2013 

Birmah Palle Bowman Stemler of Smithfield, North Carolina passed away on Tuesday, October 22, 2013 at the SECU Hospice Center in Smithfield, NC. She was 80.

Birmah was born December 7, 1932 in Washington, DC. She was the daughter of Ethel Corbett Bowman Scarborough of Selma, NC and George Harris Bowman of Selma, NC both deceased. Her husband of many years, William Stemler, of Smithfield died earlier in 2001.

She is survived by her only daughter, Theda Katrin Stemler Blackwood, her son-in-law, David Franklin Blackwood and her grandchildren, David Harris Blackwood and Meredith Anne Blackwood all of Long Valley, New Jersey.

She was born in Washington DC, moved to Asheville, NC and Louisburg, NC, before spending her teenage years in Selma, NC. She attended UNC Greensboro and later received a teaching degree at the University of Houston. She taught school for several years in the Houston area and met her husband Bill Stemler during that time.

Following Bill Stemler’s career, she relocated to Virginia Beach, Virginia where she lived much of her adult life. There she was both a wife and mother to Theda becoming a proud back-stage mother as Theda spent two years in the road company of Annie. During those years she also became a successful real estate agent.

The Stemler’s moved to Smithfield in the mid 1990s where Birmah renewed her ties to the area and became involved in a variety of retirement activities. She was an active member of the Johnston County Arts Council chairing the group for several years. She was also active in organizing Tea Party events and in the local Republican Party.

Birmah and her husband “Stem” were members of the First Presbyterian Church where Birmah taught Sunday School and served as Deacon.

Birmah had many interests. She played the piano and sang beautifully. She was an active gardener in both Virginia Beach and Smithfield. She was an enthusiastic bridge player and had a large circle of bridge friends with whom she socialized.

A memorial service will be held at First Presbyterian Church on Monday, October 28th at 11am with visitation Sunday evening from 7-9pm at the church.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that contributions be made to the First Presbyterian Church Building Fund.

Condolences may be sent to the family at

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