Ethel Miner Kenah Bowman

December 3, 1934September 3, 2020

Ethel Miner Kenah Bowman, age 85, died peacefully on September 3, 2020, in Houston following a brief hospitalization.

Ethel was born on December 3, 1934, in New Brighton, PA, to parents Sally and Roland Kenah. Although she loved her adopted hometown of Houston for the past 44 years, her heart was never far from New Brighton. She treasured her family ties, childhood friendships, and small town experiences of growing up in New Brighton. She graduated from Penn State University in 1956 with a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics. She had a wonderful time at Penn State, especially enjoying her involvement in the Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority. Ethel remained an active member of Sigma Sigma Sigma for the remainder of her life. In college, she discovered she had a real passion for archeology, and she took several elective classes. Later in life, she became involved in various archeological activities in the Southwest, including going on digs in Texas and in Oklahoma. She traveled overseas with the Archeology Society of Texas on trips to Mexico, Egypt, Peru, Israel, Greece, and Turkey. She said that seeing the pyramids of Egypt had been the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. Ethel had happy memories of the 6 years she spent living in San Tome, Venezuela in the 1960’s and 1970’s. She loved to travel and was able to accomplish her goal of visiting all 50 states. She also took many international trips and once said that she never regretted any money she had ever spent on travel.

Ethel had a wide range of interests and activities. She had a broad appreciation for culture and a passion for art. She was a gifted artist who did watercolor and oil painting. She loved antiques of all kinds, and she especially loved her collection of antique music boxes and glassware. She enjoyed going to flea markets, estate sales, and antique stores to look for things to collect. She took great pride in her house, which she had decorated with an artist’s eye. She was a longtime member of The Frostwood Women’s Club, the Houston Antiquers, and the Music Box Society of Houston.

Ethel loved being a mother and grandmother and felt that it was her calling in life. She took pride in her five children and three grandchildren, and in her son-in-law and daughter-in-law. She helped to instill in her children a combination of self-sufficiency, a love of knowledge and curiosity about life, and the importance of knowing how to have fun. She was a wonderful cook. If you didn’t want a second helping of her food, she worried that meant you didn’t like it. Ethel had a sophisticated sense of humor, and she loved a good practical joke. She could appreciate the humor of a Broadway play and just as easily laugh hard at an episode of a British sitcom or a Saturday Night Live skit. She also had a deep belief that it was important to be kind to others who were less fortunate. She would hand out tube socks with a $5 bill tucked inside to homeless people who she saw walking around Houston. Ethel also loved dogs. She did volunteer work for animal rescue programs in Houston, and she adopted some rescue dogs.

She will be dearly missed by her loving family which includes her daughter, Lisa Villalobos , son-in-law Sergio Villalobos, and granddaughter Isabella Villalobos of Houston, son Bill Bowman and daughter-in-law Suzanne Bowman of Raleigh, North Carolina, grandson Patrick Bowman of San Antonio, grandson Reid Bowman of Raleigh, North Carolina, son Charlie Bowman of Austin, and her son Tommy Bowman of Dallas. Her son, Bruce, preceded her in death in 2008. She is also survived by her sister Jane Dewey and brother-in-law Harry Dewey of Worcester, Mass., cousin Nancy Osgood of Burlington, Vermont, cousin Betsy Reed of New Mexico and cousin Eddie Reed of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. She leaves behind friends in many places.

The family wishes to thank the staff at the Buckingham retirement community for their kind care of Ethel during the last several years of her life.

A memorial service will be scheduled for a future date when circumstances will permit friends and family to gather together in person for a celebration of Ethel’s life.

The family kindly requests that in lieu of sending flowers, please consider a donation in Ethel’s memory to The Autism Treatment Center in Dallas, Texas. (


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Ethel Miner Kenah Bowman

have a memory or condolence to add?

Rita Marsales

September 25, 2020

I shared many trips and events with Ethel over many years with Friends of Archaeology. She was a beautiful, caring person with a fun sense of adventure. She will be missed.

Diana Howland

September 16, 2020

Lisa, Sergio and Isabella,
Our sympathy for your loss. May the Lord surround you all with his peace and calm.
May Ethel Rest In Peace and rise in glory!
In the holy father’s blessed name.
Bill and Diana Howland

Linda Avedon

September 13, 2020

Thank you, Ethel, for bringing joy and laughter into the lives of your Sigma sisters.


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