Estelle McDowall Jamison

Published 2:41 pm Friday, April 28, 2023

Following a short illness, Estelle McDowall Jamison died on April 11, 2023, with her family by her side. She was the daughter of James and Molly McDowall, born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and educated at schools in Belfast and Armagh. Estelle met the love of her life, Dr. Bernard (Barney) Jamison, at her graduation party in Belfast. Following her marriage to Barney, the couple left Belfast and emigrated to Virginia. They briefly lived in Petersburg and Newport News before settling permanently in Smithfield, Virginia, where Barney practiced family medicine. Estelle loved to help in any way she could including working at the Smithfield Medical Center when needed. Estelle also loved volunteering and was co-chair with her two friends, Sallie Belle Benedetti and Lucy Clay, in organizing and raising money to revitalize the library in Smithfield. Her next project was to try to get a branch of the YMCA in Smithfield. In this effort, she and her friends were successful in raising money for the new YMCA and she spent many hours with volunteers to clean out the old Smithfield High School gymnasium for the new YMCA. She was on the board of the YMCA for about 10 years, she also served on the Citizen’s Advisory Council for the juvenile court system and also served on the board of the Isle of Wight Chapter of the American Heart Association. Estelle served on the board of the American Red Cross in Norfolk, Virginia, and became deeply involved with the Blood Mobile program. For many years she worked to attract donors and volunteers and could be seen at almost every blood mobile in Smithfield encouraging donors, helping out, and handing out sandwiches and drinks. Estelle was the proud recipient of the Community Builders Award given by the Masonic Lodge in Smithfield and later was selected as Citizen of the Year by the Rotary/Ruritan Club in Smithfield. Estelle was an excellent cook and produced many fine meals and magnificent desserts and loved throwing elegant dinner parties for her friends. Estelle loved snow skiing, aerobics, and waterskiing on the river behind her house. She was a big fan of opera and especially loved long walks on the beach in the Outer Banks with her poodles. Estelle was preceded in death by her parents and her sister Joan McDowall Smith. She leaves to cherish her memory, Barney, her husband, her two children Gail and Sean (Margaret), and her nephews and nieces Kenneth James, Ian, Christopher, Joanna, Sonya, William, Frances, Belinda and Timothy. Donations may be made in Estelle’s memory to the Western Tidewater Free Clinic, the American Red Cross, and the YMCA. A service will be held at Little’s Funeral Home at 11:00 am on Friday, May 5, 2023. Online condolences may be registered at