Glenn Strang Bowman (age 92) died peacefully in his sleep at Meadowlark homes in the early morning hours on Monday, August 20, 2018. Our family and friends lost our strong, yet gentle Dad, Grandpa, Great Grandpa and buddy.
Glenn was born on a cold winter day on February 20, 1926 at Loudonville, Ohio to Ray and Eula (Strang) Bowman. Ray drove truck for Ohio Gas Company. Dad was an only child and was raised in the small town of Danville, Ohio. As a young boy, he amused himself by playing with friends, cousins, pet dogs, and his Schwin bicycle. He spent quite a bit of time on his Grandma Sara’s farm and loved helping her take care of the cows, goats and chickens.
At Danville High School, he played clarinet, sang in the choir and participated in class plays. He was a member of the German Lutheran Church. In his yearbook, his classmates said of him, “At sports Glenn does not participate, but at reading books he’s first rate.” Another quote said, “He is thoroughly mixed and firmly set.”
After graduating from High School, Dad joined the US Army and guarded German prisoners of war at Camp Blanding near Jacksonville, Florida from 1944 to 1946.
Under the G.I. Bill, he enrolled at Defiance College in Ohio and attended for 3 years. Dad wanted to see the world, so did not complete his college tenure. For the next few years, he traveled around the United States doing odd jobs and learning about the history of the U.S.
When he returned to Ohio, he met Doris Swank through his first cousin. She was employed at the Army Depot in Mansfield and Dad worked there as well. After three dates, he proposed, and she accepted. Glenn and Doris were married June 4, 1955 at Mansfield, Ohio.
Their first child Shawn was born in October 1956, followed by their second son Paul in May 1958. During Dad’s travels in the U.S., he was particularly fond of Idaho. He packed up the Bowman family and drove out to Pierce, Idaho where a summer job with the U.S. Forest Service awaited. Mom was pregnant with Laura and she was born in August 1960. Dad also worked as a substitute German and typing teacher at Pierce in the winter months.
Dad was offered a job with A&F in Grangeville where he delivered dry goods to resident homes. He moved the family to Grangeville. Third son Mark was born in November 1962. When a full-time job with the lumber mill in Grangeville, Idaho was announced in 1965, Dad was hired.
Those are the facts. What we (his children) would like to share is why we thought our Father was the best all-around Dad. He taught us the true meaning of an honest, hard day’s work. Dad worked for 22 years at Wickes Forest Industries, which later became IdaPine Mills and never missed a day of work. He worked night shift, day shift and overtime. He worked in freezing temperatures in the winter with only a roof over his head and two walls for shelter. In the summer, the job was a sweltering site for Dad and his crew mates to perform their work.
Many times, especially around Christmas, the mill laid Dad off and things would be a bit tough. But, his hard-earned wages brought enough money in to feed us very healthy meals, clothe us, pay for braces and art lessons for his daughter, and sports equipment and musical instruments for the boys, and an occasional small token of appreciation for my equally hard-working housemother.
Although exhausted from his work at the mill, Dad found time to play tennis, take us hiking, swimming and sledding. He taught all of us how to drive in the Chevy station wagon on the back-country roads surrounding Grangeville. He taught the boys how to hunt. Together with our Mother, they took us to church, gave us a good education, raised a huge garden and taught us how to be good citizens.
After retiring from the mill, Dad tended to the fruit trees and flower garden with Mom, mowed a half-acre of lawn, split and stacked firewood, plus did most of the cooking and baking to give Mom a break from all those years she handled these tasks. He also worked under the Older American program with the Nez Perce National Forest for two years assisting at the warehouse.
He was a strong man and survived two rounds of prostate cancer, including radiation and chemo. Our family would like to thank Dr. Jones and Dr. Medenci who helped to assure that Dad had another 5 years with us.
Dad and Mom celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary in 2015. Mom became ill and Dad could not provide the medical care she needed, so they sold their house on E Street that they lived in for for 50+ years. After living with their daughter for a short time, they moved to Meadowlark Assisted Living Home. Mom passed away in March 2016.
Dad stayed at Meadowlark for a year and when his daughter retired, he moved in with Randy and Laura. We had a wonderful year with Dad, until he was diagnosed with diabetes. He also was developing dementia. Due to his additional medical needs, doctors recommended that he move back to Meadowlark where he received the care he needed.
Glenn is survived by his sons Shawn (Kathy) in Asotin, WA; Mark (Anna) in Puyallup, WA; and daughter Laura (Randy) Smith. Son Paul passed away in May 2017. Dad has 9 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren.
Thank you, Dad, for showing us the rewards of a good day of hard work, sprinkled with a solid education, a dash of discipline and a whole lot of love.
At his request, cremation has taken place, with Blackmer Funeral Home handling arrangements. Our heartfelt thanks to Meadowlark staff and residents for caring for Dad and being his friend. And to Syringa Hospice for their tender love and care in his final months.
A Celebration of Life will be held in Dad’s honor for family and close friends in September in Pierce.
We miss you buddy!