OBITUARY

Mary Elizabeth Bowman

February 14, 1919April 21, 2021
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Mary Elizabeth “Bee” Bowman, 102, passed from this life on April 21, 2021 to be reunited in heaven with her departed parents, Albert and Emma Bailey Fromhold, her beloved husband, Merrill A. Bowman, her cherished daughter, Alice Bowman Countryman, and her dear sisters, Emma Blanche Wilson and Dorothy Anne Kaufman. Mary Bee was born in Indianapolis on Valentine’s Day 1919 at the tail end of the first great pandemic. She was the second of three sisters. She graduated from Cathedral Grade School, St. Agnes Academy, and received her BS from Butler University in Business Administration at a time when few women earned college degrees.

While at Butler, Bee joined Alpha Chi Omega Sorority where she met lifelong friends. She also learned to play bridge which would be another lifelong hobby and earn her many dear bridge group friends. After college, Bee worked during the war years at Union Federal Savings and Loan where she met handsome returning veteran, Merrill Bowman, who was to become the love of her life. They married on February 8th, 1947 in St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church and lived happily together until his death in 2001. Bee briefly stopped working outside the home after her marriage and she and Merrill were blessed with five children. At one point, when her twins were newborn, she had four children under the age of four. She skillfully managed by teaching Alice, the four year old, to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for herself and her younger sibling. Bee really knew how to delegate. Her children have not so fond memories of being assigned “half hour duties” while growing up which they not so cheerfully performed under their mother’s direction. She was a great domestic manager!

When Tony, her youngest, went to kindergarten, Bee put her business degree to use by getting her Real Estate license, becoming a top salesperson for Carriage Estates Realty and later Century 21. She won many Sales Awards with her annual sales topping the Million dollar mark back when the average home price was around $25,000. Bee and Merrill won many trips thanks to her sales success and later travelled to England and France to commemorate Merrill’s participation in D-Day. After a stellar 25 year career in Real Estate, Bee retired in 1981 and devoted her life to volunteering as a Eucharistic minister, singing in the Resurrection Choir, and many other duties for Christ the King Church of which she was a member for over forty years. She also loved to spend time supporting her grandchildren’s athletic endeavors by attending countless baseball and football games and enjoyed watching her beloved Butler Bulldogs and the Purdue Boilermakers play basketball. She was so excited when Butler went to the NCAA finals led by her favorite coach, Brad Stevens.

She was also very social and never met someone who did not become her friend forever. Her Christmas card list was QUITE extensive! The Hallmark people loved her until she discovered the Dollar Store where she could purchase all the cards 2/$1 to remember everyone’s birthday and special occasion. She was very thoughtful of others.

Finally, she was a staunch Catholic who was not only a daily communicant much of her life but said extensive daily prayers which we called “her office” on behalf of her friends, family and literally the whole world. She often stayed up well into the night to finish her prayers (frequently falling asleep in her chair) - so great was her dedication to pray. She was a selfless person who had a servant’s heart and no doubt will be rewarded with many jewels in her crown in heaven.

Bee is survived by her children: Joyce (Jim) Nitchman of Indianapolis, Linda (Bob) Haislup of St. Louis, MO, Marcia (Ewing) Shields, Indianapolis, Tony (Nancy) Bowman, Indianapolis, and son-in-law, Stuart Countryman; grandchildren: Bradley (Eileen) Countryman, Heather (Matt) O’Brien, John Countryman, Dr. Nicholas (Cindy) Countryman, Peter (Missy) Countryman, JJ Nitchman, Suzie Dieker, Dr. Christine “Chrissie” (Anthony) Van Gessel, Elizabeth (John) Bertrand, and Chip (Jane Traversy) Shields. Also surviving are 19 great- grandchildren and scores of nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, her beloved husband, Merrill Bowman (2001), her precious daughter, Alice Marie Countryman (2004), her dear sisters Emma Blanche Wilson (2001) and Dorothy Anne Kaufman (2019).

Bee’s family is eternally grateful to the staff at Allisonville Meadows who lovingly cared for her in the last years of her life and especially all those who served as “her family” during the restricted visitation periods of the 2020 pandemic. It is noteworthy to comment that Bee survived, not one, but TWO pandemics – a tribute to her hearty constitution and the vigilance of the Allisonville Meadows staff.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 AM Monday, April 26th at Christ the King Catholic Church with calling there beginning one hour prior to service. The Mass will be livestreamed at www.leppertmortuary.com. Entombment follows at Oaklawn Memorial Gardens. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested in Bee’s name to Christ the King Catholic Church, 5884 Crittenden Ave. Indianapolis, IN or Right to Life of Indianapolis https://rtlindy.org/

We bid our mother a fond farewell as she always said to us…”God be with you, God bless you, I love you.”

Services

  • Visitation

    Monday, April 26, 2021

  • Mass of Christian Burial

    Monday, April 26, 2021

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Memories

Mary Elizabeth Bowman

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Camilla Gunhouse-Lovati

April 30, 2021

Great picture of Bee-just as I remember her from 1978 when she was helping us buy our first house. So sorry for your loss. Hope all your family memories over the years give you comfort at this sad time. How blessed she was to have had 102 years of life.

Andrea Perkins

April 26, 2021

Marcia, Tony, Linda, and all the Bowman Family,
On behalf of the McCalley family, we wish you thoughts of peace that your Mom is in a Glorious place!
I appreciate you sharing the wonderful Memories and photos of your family times.
Sending all our love and support!
Andrea

Chris McGuire

April 26, 2021

Bee was one of the kindest, most thoughtful and caring people I ever met. The McGuires and I will always have fond memories and smiles from the genuine and wonderful conversations we had together. What a life she had!! Our prayers for everyone and for Bee for a full and loving life.

Cathy Bowden Kellogg

April 25, 2021

Linda and Marcia,
I’m very sorry to hear the news of your Mother’s passing. I remember fondly her smile and welcoming personality, probably after kickball games at St. Matthew.
Your pictures are wonderful and what special treasures!
Sending prayers of strength during this difficult time.
Cathy

Annie (Dollens) Hudson

April 25, 2021

Marcia and Linda, I'm so sorry for the loss of your mother. It seems she had a full, rich, loving life and your have some wonderful memories.

I pray you and your family are able to cherish her memory in your loss.

Rob Pritchard

April 25, 2021

Dear Marcia, Linda and Bowman Family,

Deepest Condolences, Deepest Peace!
On behalf of the Chatard Class of 1970, please accept our heartfelt sympathies for the entire Bowman family. With Marcia and Linda in particular, we share the wonderful memories you've posted.
Bee was quite a lady, a real gem. A life well lived.
May God hold her in the palm of His hand.

Rob Pritchard, Class of 1970 Chatard High School

Diane Schafer

April 24, 2021

Dear Marcia and family, I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your mother. I am keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

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