"A strong competitive drive and work ethic helped make her an early pioneer for minority women in the financial world until she stepped away in 1990," her husband said.
Mrs. Giles was a skilled juggler of all the aspects of her life. Elegant and efficient, she created a welcoming home, cooked gourmet meals, did sewing and knitting, and was the guardian to her quadriplegic nephew, William Bowie, an accident victim at 21. With her help, he was able to live independently in a residence rather than in an institutional setting.
She had many interests - travel, theater, and the arts. Blessed with an eye for design, she at one point launched an interior decorating firm. She loved Great Danes, writing and playing the cello, piano, and most wind instruments.
She was active in Mount Airy Presbyterian Church.
When she was diagnosed with leukemia in June 2012, she was told that without intervention she had weeks to live. She decided on outpatient treatment, buoyed by her Christian faith, the hope of a bone marrow transplant, and the challenge of taking advanced knitting classes.
"She was really good at knitting, but she wanted to be better," her husband said. "She was extraordinary. She put up a courageous, honorable fight for a useful life."
Besides her husband and nephew, she is survived by her mother, Elsie Violet Bowie; son James Garland Giles; daughter Nneka Giles Reynolds; three grandchildren; a brother; and nieces and nephews.
Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 15, at Oxford Presbyterian Church, 8501 Stenton Ave. A visitation will be from 10 to 10:45 a.m. Burial is private.