Mary Eileen Bowen

by Lynn McMillen
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Mary Eileen Bowen Mary Eileen Bowen (née Byrnes), age 98, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on July 8, 2024. Eileen was born to Alice and John Byrnes on March 29, 1926, in Baltimore, Maryland. A spirited and rambunctious child, she gave her mother a run for her money, often running away from school until her father met her one day as she walked out the back of the building. As a child growing up through the Depression and a teen living through World War II, Eileen learned how to be thrifty and to stretch her resources, a trait that came in handy as she and her husband raised five children. She met Arthur Louis Bowen at a friend’s house before he shipped out with the Navy during World War II. They married shortly after the war ended on July 28,1945; thus began a life together that would span 67 years. They moved back to Arthur’s hometown of Anniston and eventually settled in Guntersville where they raised their five children. Eileen and Arthur were active in their community, especially in square dancing, where they won numerous awards. Like many women of her generation, Eileen was a homemaker, running the household and keeping it in order, keeping everything in tiptop shape. She kept an immaculate house and swore that she needed to do a little of her chores every New Year’s Day so that she would be able to keep doing them throughout the year. She kept growing too, learning to drive in her 30s and not giving up her license until she realized she couldn’t see well enough anymore. Eileen was known for her incredible sense of humor and straight-shooting manner; she would let you know when you crossed a line, but her smile and laugh were welcoming, and she made sure that everyone had a good time. She loved her family, taking care of her grandchildren for long periods in the summer and babysitting her great-grandchildren well into her 80s. Visits to Eileen’s house meant custom-order breakfasts and a sit-down family-style lunch – people would never leave her house hungry. She remembered and acknowledged every birthday and anniversary with a perfectly timed card; her family swears she knew the mail delivery schedule for every state, and she gave everyone in the family a calendar with important family dates on it for Christmas every year. As she aged, she maintained her fierce independence, and her boys would rotate visiting to help her, but she refused to move out of her house, insisting she would die there. She always said the only way she would leave the house was when “they carry me out,” and she prevailed. She was truly one of the strongest of “The Greatest Generation,” and she has left a lasting family legacy of duty, responsibility, discipline, and love.
Eileen is survived by her four sons, John E. Bowen of Peachtree City, GA, Arthur L. Bowen, Jr. of Elkmont, AL, Robert D. (Ann) Bowen of Guntersville, AL, and William C. (Gwen) Bowen of Albertville, AL; God-daughter, Linda Brill; her daughters-in-love, Karen (Stephen) Rogers and Ann Latimer; grandchildren, John II (Jill), Robert (Nikki), and Joshua (Marcela) Bowen, Melissa Lindsey, Lyndsay Wood, Kylie Bowen, Cayla (Dustin) Jones, and grand-daughter-in-love, Anita Bowen; great-grandchildren: Patrick and Abigail Lindsey, Katie (Bryce) Blackwelder, Leah and Derek Wood, Reagan, Caleb, and Reese Bowen, Yonatan, Jesper, and Juliet Bowen, Virginia Brown, Katherine Bowen, Sydney and Lilly Little, and Lilly and Skeet Jones; and several nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Arthur L. Bowen, daughter, Margeret B. Rogers; her son-in-law, Jack Rogers; her daughter-in-law, Dee Bowen; her grandson, Matthew Latimer; her brothers John “Boy” and Jimmy Byrnes; her sisters, Doris Brill and Louise (Weesie) Koontz.
Funeral service will be at 12:pm Thursday July 11, 2024, at Carr Funeral Home. Visitation will be from10:00am until time of service. Burial to follow at Marshall Memorial Gardens.

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