Hoffmeister Colonial Mortuary

6464 Chippewa Street, St. Louis, MO


Rowena Haywood

December 28, 1933November 26, 2019

Rowena Lorene Haywood (nee' Thornton) passed away Tuesday, November 26, 2019.

Rowena was born on December 28, 1933. She was the loving wife of the late Earl Haywood for 52 years; dear mother of Linda (Kevin) Gipson and Sally Haywood; doting grandmother of Elena Crosley; Samuel Gipson, and Stuart (Jessica) Gipson; great-grandmother of Harper Roe Gipson; sister of Glena Brown, James "Pete" (the late Joyce) Thornton, the late William, Geraldine, and Alfred (the late Bonnie) Thornton; sister-in-law, aunt, great-aunt, cousin, and dear friend to so many. She was predeceased by her parents, William and Lorene Thornton.

Rowena retired from the St. Louis Board of Education, having served primarily as secretary to the principal of Sumner High School. She and her husband, Earl, were dedicated members of Third Baptist Church since the late 1950's and deaconess/deacon for many years. They lived in the same house on Oleatha, in southwest St. Louis City, for 53 years; Managed and maintained rental property, where they took pride in providing a home to others; Were in a Square dance club; and spent most of their time off with family in Arkansas. Rowena was: A volunteer usher for the Fox Theater almost weekly for 24 years, along with a couple of her best friends (they couldn’t tell me how many times they’d seen “Phantom of the Opera”); A book club member at the Machacek Public Library for decades; Dabbler in home gardening and nurturer or African Violets; Member of the Missouri Botanical Garden, which she visited often (saying, “ooh, I’ve killed one of those”); Driver for Meals on Wheels; Long-time bowler on a league at Shrewsbury Lanes; and was an avid member of the Walkways (walking club).

Visitation will be Saturday, November 30 from 1:30-3pm at Third Baptist Church, 620 North Grand Blvd. St. Louis 63103. A Funeral Service will immediately follow at 3pm. Burial in Arkansas.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Rowena's name may be made to Third Baptist Church.

Please copy and paste https://drive.google.com/file/d/1lc4gRb_OhyLBJ2NwTqGWjAojKfuH5v38/view to enjoy a collection of favorite family photos.

Please leave a favorite memory of Rowena for her family to cherish at the "Add a Memory" link below.


  • William GriffinThornton, Father (deceased)
  • America Lorene Brunson Thornton, Mother (deceased)
  • Earl Haywood, Husband (deceased)
  • Linda Gipson (Kevin), Daughter
  • Sally Haywood, Daughter
  • Elena Crosley, Granddaughter
  • Samuel Gipson, Grandson
  • Stuart Gipson (Jessica), Grandson
  • Harper Roe Gipson, Great-granddaughter


  • Visitation Saturday, November 30, 2019
  • Funeral Service Saturday, November 30, 2019


Rowena Haywood

have a memory or condolence to add?

Meredith Howard

November 30, 2019

I feel lucky to have known Rowena. She was always so kind and caring. Although she touched so many peoples lives, she always made everyone feel uniquely special. Rowena will certainly be missed.

Phyllis Evans

November 30, 2019

I am so glad that Rowena became my neighbor 2 1/2 years ago at Laclede Groves, a senior community. I'll remember her friendly, welcoming smile and how she always had time to visit. Conversations with Rowena were always two-way. She would describe some of her many past activities - hiking, swimming, book clubs, the Fox - but she always was interested in my life as well. I already miss her.

My sympathy to Sally and Linda and all the family.


Steve & Marty Bettlach

November 30, 2019

Earl and Rowena were the best neighbors. We lived next door to them for over 20 years. Rowena was always fun to talk with. She was a sweetheart. We were sad when she moved but knew that it would be a good place for her. She was a very social lady. Our condolences to the family.

Jan and Steve Baker

November 30, 2019

Rowena was always a very loving and kind person. A hard worker and she raised a lovely family. We did not see her much but she was good to reach out. She will surely be missed.

Marjorie Goff

November 30, 2019

Rowena and I are first cousins; she is nine years older than I. We grew up going to Grandma and Grandpa Brunson's house on most Sundays for lunch and the afternoon outside Walnut Ridge, AR. Sometimes we all spent the night together in one of our homes, which meant spending the night on quilts on the floor! She was always my protector when the older boy cousins got rough and rowdy! I remember particularly one Sunday afternoon after she had learned to drive. She invited me to go out and sit in the car with her because it was loud inside with little kids, and she, being a teenager, wanted to get away and listen to the radio! On one Sunday she told me she had just gotten a new typewriter and, "It is so DELICATE !" I asked her what "delicate" meant. She said, "Fragile! Easily broken!" It was the first time I'd ever heard the word. We had a lot of interests in common--reading, gardening, music, not doing farm work, etc.!!! I loved that she was an usher for so long----and heard all the wonderful musicals, etc. She made wonderful use of her city life. When Crystal Bridges Museum opened in Bentonville, AR, I was in the first class of Museum Guides (docents) following in her footsteps. I missed her terribly. I think we were very much alike. She was so happy for me when we moved to the NY area (
even though we had seen a lot during our 28 years in Memphis) and knew I would get to go to all the plays and theatres in NYC. We just didn't get to spend enough time together after she moved to St. Louis. We have all missed her but are thrilled she had such a good life, a loving family, a wonderful church and many friends to cherish her memory. Love you, Row! Marjorie Schaefer Goff, daughter of John and Mary Mardell Brunson Schaefer