Katherine "Katy" Jean Galloway Rowe Boulden
November 23, 1926 – November 22, 2019
Katherine Jean Galloway Rowe Boulden, 92, of Fort Smith passed away Nov. 22, 2019, at her home. She was born Nov. 23, 1926, in Port Arthur, Texas, to her parents, John Edward and Anna Bella Rowe. She was a member of First Presbyterian Church, the owner of Vivian's Bookshop for more than 20 years until its closing in 1998, the owner of Blue Bonnet Beauty Shop for almost 10 years and a former 15-year member of the Fort Smith School Board. Katy (pronounced "catty") served on the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith Board of Visitors for six years.
A woman of quiet but strong faith, she led for more than a decade a popular adult Sunday school class at First Presbyterian Church that was known for its ecumenical and undogmatic exploration of Christianity. She served in a volunteer capacity on numerous governing and advisory boards of local nonprofit organizations, including Fort Smith Little Theatre, the Girls Club, Fort Smith Children's Theatre, Fort Smith Fights AIDS, St. Edward Development Board and UAMS West Advisory Board.
Katy directed, produced and acted in many amateur theater productions over the years and helped organize the first "Tales from the Crypt" at Oak Cemetery. She enjoyed playing bridge, doing the New York Times crossword and playing Scrabble. One of her greatest passions was following the fortunes of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team, of which she was a fan for 70 years, attending many games in St. Louis and other cities. Katy vigorously opposed the designated hitter rule and would become visibly agitated at the mere mention of Umpire Don Denkinger who officiated in the 1985 World Series and made a bad call against the Cards.
Early in life, she trained as a nurse at Hermann Hospital in Houston and became a registered nurse, where she met her future husband, a resident physician, Cecil F. Boulden, Jr. In the early 1950s, the young and growing family relocated to Fort Smith. Dr. Boulden practiced at Cooper Clinic for many years until his death in late 1967.
Another of Katy's great joys was owning and running Vivian's Bookshop at the corner of Park and Greenwood Avenues in Fort Smith. It was a small shop crammed to the rafters with books, but she knew where every book was and tremendously loved reading for pleasure herself. No one could gift wrap a book or books any faster than Katy. Regular customers would walk behind the counter to get coffee and even answer the phone if Katy was busy. Finally, she was a giant fan of jazz music, too and loved listening to Stan Kenton, John Coltrane, Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughn, Dave Brubeck as well as dozens of other jazz luminaries.
She is survived by a large family: son, Robert and his son, Zen; son, Michael and his wife, Susan and their children, Beth, Emily and Sarah; son, Patrick and and his wife, Stephanie and their children, Stephen and Lindsey; son, Thomas and his children, Rachel, Dustin and Laura; son, Benjamin and his wife, Jenny; a sister, Effie Snoek of Boerne, Texas; and seven great-grandchildren.
A special thanks should be given to Juliana Booker, as well as to Katy's caretakers of the last five years, Susan Prophet and Sherry Lairamore.
Memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, Nov. 25, 2019, at First Presbyterian Church, under the direction of Edwards Funeral Home, with a reception to follow in the church Family Center Building.
A separate graveside service for the family will be held at Forest Park Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Fort Smith Little Theatre, Fort Smith Public Library or First Presbyterian Church.
First Presbyterian Church
116 North 12th Street, Fort Smith, Arkansas 72901
Fort Smith Little Theatre
401 North 6th Street, Fort Smith, Arkansas 72901
Fort Smith Public Library
3201 Rogers Avenue, Fort Smith, Arkansas 72903
- Memorial Service Monday, November 25, 2019
- Family will visit with friends after the service
Katherine "Katy" Jean Galloway Rowe Boulden
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November 23, 2019
Katy was truly a wonderful woman...and tougher than nails! Imagine performing at FSLT with a fractured arm. Katy did that... before she visited the ER! What a fabulous testament to who she was: a lady with an iron will and a marshmallow heart. I'll miss you.