Marion Bowman

Jul 30, 2018

Topsham — Marion Bowman died Friday, July 27, 2018, at Cadigan Lodge, Highlands, at age 101, after a brief period of palliative and hospice care. She was born Aug. 22, 1916, on Ricker Hill in Turner, one of four daughters of Emery Bunker Newton Hatch and Anna Jewett Ricker Hatch. The girls grew up in Massachusetts, but they spent a month each summer in Turner with their grandmother Florence, Uncle Will and Aunt May, and Ricker and Bates cousins, then a month with the Hatch family on Islesboro.

After Marion graduated from Melrose High School, she majored in English at the University of Maine, Orono. She was a member of Chi Omega sorority, the Women’s Student Government Association, and the Maine Masque Theatre, where she was a leading lady. After her graduation in 1938, she found a variety of writing and publishing jobs in Chicago. For about 17 years she was writer and/or newsletter editor of three national publications, including ones for wholesale florists, furniture wholesalers and a grocery chain.

In 1951 she married Ben C. Bowman, an assistant librarian with the Newberry Library in Chicago. They moved to Burlington, Vt., in 1961, when he became director of libraries at the University of Vermont. Four years later, they began a prolonged stay in New York state, where Ben was director of libraries at Hunter College in New York City, and then at the University of Rochester.

In 20 years of retirement in Rockport (1979 to 1999), they were involved in many community and civic enterprises, including the Mid-Coast Forum on Foreign Relations. They were at the Highlands in Topsham for two years before Ben’s death in 2001. Marion had continued to live there independently, with invaluable support in recent years from Neighbors Inc., CHANS and the Wound Clinic.

Throughout their marriage, Ben and Marion enjoyed traveling, whether to Ben’s native Southwest, to England, to Greece, to Mexico, even a safari in Africa. She later ventured to Turkey on an historical tour, exploring artifacts and ancient civilizations. She was skilled in nurturing friendships, even mastering email in her 80s to keep in touch with farflung friends and relations.

She was predeceased by her parents and her stepmother, Katherine, her sisters, Barbara Hatch, Gwen and Richard Pulliam, Priscilla and Robert Moore, and the Ricker and Bates cousins with whom she had grown up.

Survivors in her immediate family include children of her sister Priscilla: Andrea and Peter Cacka of Colorado, Frederick and Pamela Moore of Oregon, Peter and Jo Moore of Washington. They had all come to Maine in 2016 to celebrate Marion’s 100th birthday [along with most of their children and two of their grandchildren]. She is also survived by four grand-nieces and two grand-nephews. Other close survivors include her honorary nephew, John Chapin Vincent, of Montana; cousins Phoebe Bates of Tennessee, George and Wendy Ricker of Windham and Don and Joan Ricker of Turner..

There will be a celebration of her life starting at 2 p.m. at the Holden-Frost House at the Highlands in Topsham on her birthday, Aug. 22. There will be a private committal service in Turner at the convenience of the family.

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