Betty Jean Bowen, 91, a former longtime Springfield resident who has lived in Santa Rosa, CA for the past year and a half at the Villa Capri Assisted Living Center, passed away at 9:45 am on Saturday, October 13, 2012, at Santa Rosa, CA.
Betty was born in Rochester, IL on March 17, 1921, the daughter of Bessie and Carroll Raney. As a St. Patrick’s Day baby, her birthdays were always memorable. She graduated from Springfield High School at the age of 16. Betty attended Illinois State Teachers’ College in Normal, IL for two years, majoring in English. She then transferred to the University of Missouri to complete her last two years of college, graduating with a double major in English and Science. Following college graduation, Betty put her science degree to work as a Meteorologist with the U.S. Weather Bureau. She was the first woman selected for this position in the Springfield area.
In August 1943, she married Kenneth E. Bowen, who served in the U.S. Navy during World War II as a lieutenant commander, from 1942-1945. After the conclusion of the war, Ken returned to work at Central Illinois Public Service Company, where he rose from an engineering position to President and Chief Executive Officer during his 36-year career there.
Betty and Ken raised four children together. During their children’s growing-up years, Betty was a very busy full-time homemaker. After their children left home to attend college, Betty turned her attention to a variety of social and community organizations, including the Illini Country Club, The Book Review Club, Chapter BF P.E.O., Springfield Art Association, Lincoln Memorial Garden, Vachel Lindsay Association, the Sangamo Club, and several bridge groups. She was an avid and skilled bridge player. Betty was also a member of Christ Episcopal Church, where she participated in many bazaars and activities to raise money for the Church. In addition, she was a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority and its alumni group.
After Ken retired in 1980 from CIPS, Betty and Ken traveled to several European countries and throughout the U.S. Betty also enjoyed playing golf and gardening. Her knowledge of plants and flowers was extensive and she possessed a real “green thumb.”
She is survived by two daughters (Pam McCallum of Dayton, OH and Donna Rodella of Santa Rosa, CA); one son (Steve Bowen and his wife, Nancy, of Oakland, CA); four grandchildren (Kristen Bowen, Dave Bowen, Katie Bowen, and Nick McCallum); and one great grandchild (Nick McCallum’s son Connor). In death, she will join Ken and her daughter, Debbie Lees.
Visitation: 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm on Wednesday, October 24th at Staab Funeral Home, Springfield.
Funeral Service: 11:00 am on Thursday, October 25th at Christ Episcopal Church, Springfield.
Burial will be in Oak Ridge Cemetery.
Staab Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, Betty’s family requests a contribution to the American Cancer Society.