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Ethel Marlow


November 11, 1933 - September 7, 2023

Ethel Marie (Choate) Marlow, 89, of Bradenton, FL passed away on September 7th, 2023 at Manatee Memorial Hospital.
Ethel was born on Armistice Day (now known as Veteran's Day), November 11th, 1933, in Union County, Illinois. She was the youngest of twelve children to Grace Ellen (Brown) and James Isaac Choate. She was immensely proud of her large family and felt especially close to her brother, Clyde, a WW2 Medal of Honor recipient. The Choate name remains widely known in Southern Illinois because of his accomplishments.

Raised in a family of faith, Ethel regularly attended the Gospel Assembly Church in Anna, Illinois, singing in the choir and various vocal trios with, according to those who knew her, "the voice of an angel." She worked in the bookkeeping and accounting departments at Union County Hospital while attending business classes at Southern Illinois University.

In 1955, Ethel met the newest pastor of her church-a dashing young man with eyes of blue, who swept her off her feet. She married her knight in shining armor, Reverend John Paul Marlow, on December 28th, 1958, and they spent three days of wedded bliss before John was called by the U.S. Army for military duty.

Following two years of military life, John and Ethel moved to Florida in 1960 to pastor a small church in Bradenton. Never could they have known that they were planted to fruitfully labor at Bradenton Gospel Tabernacle for the next 63 years.

Ethel's life as a pastor's wife blessed her with many rich experiences at her husband's side, traveling the countryside and the world to deliver the word of God to others. She was a firm believer in prayer, and her faith in God was steadfast. Ethel was a scholar of her well-worn Bible and spent many hours reading and studying the scripture until late in the evenings. She was a featured speaker at women's meetings, both locally and across the country.

Ethel retired from Manatee Memorial Hospital after 30 years in various capacities-from Payroll Supervisor to Purchasing Agent. All the while, she maintained an active role at Bradenton Gospel Tabernacle and Tabernacle Christian School as an accounting instructor, the song leader, choir director, wedding coordinator, and, more recently, Praise Team leader and church bookkeeper.

Ethel had a saucy sense of humor and could play a prank like none other! She was a fashionista extraordinaire who it made no secret that she loved her "bling." Ethel never left home without her perfectly coordinated attire…down to her purse, shoes, and accessories.

The eternal optimist and monthly "almost" winner of Publisher's Clearing House, Ethel believed strongly in the power of positive thinking and laughter. We will all miss her words of encouragement and positivity; her insistence that "Your thoughts grow on what you feed them. Don't dwell on the negatives, but focus on the happy times!"

She loved baking, from a delicious peach cobbler to the best-you've-ever-tasted bread pudding. She enjoyed giving surprise desserts to family and friends and took great pleasure in her annual Cakewalk fundraiser. No doubt, everyone will miss her famous coffee punch! She adored her little lapdogs, Olivia (affectionately known as Skunky) and Sammy. But of utmost importance to Ethel was her family. She cherished her family and took immense pride in her role as a wife, a mother, a grandmother, and a great-grandmother. She could be a fierce defender of her family, always championing them from the sidelines, and each member will miss her unconditional love and words of wisdom.

Ethel is survived by her husband of nearly 65 years, John P. Marlow; their only daughter, Paula (Michael) Reece; their grandchildren; Alicia, Zachary, Jeremy, Jason, and Patrick; and their great-grandchildren; Julian, Jameson, Isabella, Gabriel, and Malia.
Ethel also leaves behind extended family members, including her adored brother-in-law; many nieces; nephews, and, of course, her beloved church family, who will miss her gift in singing, her strength, and her shining example of an unwavering faith in God.

A Viewing will be held on Friday, September 15th, 2023 from 6-8 PM, at Griffith Cline Funeral Home in downtown Bradenton. Her Services will be held on Saturday, September 16th, 2023 at 12 PM, at the church she loved so dearly: Bradenton Gospel Tabernacle, located at 1218 7th Avenue East, Bradenton, FL, 34208.

In lieu of flowers, kindly donate in her honor to Bradenton Gospel Tabernacle.