Obituary of Nancy Ober Bowman
Please share a memory of Nancy to include in a keepsake book for family and friends.
Nancy Ober Bowman, a resident of New Canaan, Connecticut, for over 70 years, died peacefully at her home on the afternoon of March 4, 2022. She was born and raised in Lake Forest, Illinois, spent 2 years during World War II in Panama and Costa Rica when her father, Woodbury Swan Ober, served in those countries as Naval Attaché. In 1948-9 Nancy traveled for “six months on a six week budget” with another young woman across Europe and North Africa. Her family is certain this is true, but still finds it hard to believe. Following that adventure, Nancy worked in New York City as a doctor’s receptionist (and possibly with some medical assistant responsibilities, sans formal training; details are fuzzy), during which time Nancy interacted with such notable figures as Salvador Dali and the Shah of Iran (and observed Andres Segovia busking on the city streets). She then met and fell in love with Fielding Lewis Bowman, a Navy man and later an architect, to whom she was wed for over 50 years before his death in 2004.
Nancy was a woman of great faith. She gave her life to Jesus Christ at the 1957 Billy Graham crusade in New York. She was instrumental in leading her four children to faith, and was a devoted congregant at Stanwich Congregational Church in Greenwich, Connecticut, where she edited and wrote for the “Banner,” the monthly church newsletter, taught Sunday School, and was the bookkeeper. She also served on the Board of Trustees of FOCUS (the Fellowship of Christians in Universities and Schools) in the 1970’s and 80’s, and participated in local Bible Studies. A long-time friend described her this way: “Nancy was an extraordinary lady: polished, witty spirit, generous, always ready for a joke, great writer, inquisitive, and she loved our Savior from the bottom of her heart.”
In notes she prepared for her family in 2001 concerning her desires for her funeral (an effort that her family at the time thought was unduly morbid, but realized later was a great gift), Nancy wrote that she liked this thought from the great evangelist Dwight L. Moody and offered it for her future obituary:
“Some day you will read that Nancy Bowman of New Canaan, Connecticut, is dead. Don’t believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now …. I was born of the flesh in 1928. I was born of the Spirit in 1957. That which is born of the Spirit will live forever.”
Among Nancy’s greatest pleasures was watching birds and being in natural environments. While a committed introvert, Nancy was nevertheless known to a large cadre of devoted friends as a M.O.M - Mother of Many. She had and practiced the wonderful gift of hospitality, hosting FOCUS board meetings, Bible studies, celebrations with friends, and, legendarily, housing two FOCUS staffers for multi-year stays. Throughout, Nancy was committed to sharing her faith in multiple venues, including writing four year-long scripture devotionals for her children and grandchildren.
Nancy is survived by her four children, Woody Bowman (Susie) of Martha’s Vineyard, Anne Gowing (Alain) of Seattle, Douglas Bowman (Carol) of Arlington, Virginia, and Katherine Kimball of Belmont, Massachusetts, her six grandchildren (Kasey, David, Andrew, Ben, Sarah, and Johnny) and great-granddaughter Sophie. They will miss her dearly.
A memorial service for Nancy will be held at Stanwich Congregational Church, 202 Taconic Rd, Greenwich, CT 06831 on 25 June 2022 at 10:00 am, with a reception following.
Donations in lieu of flowers may be made in Nancy’s memory to:
Stanwich Congregational Church
Attn: Financial Secretary
202 Taconic Road
Greenwich, CT 06831
P.O. Box 1027
New Canaan, CT 06840