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Marilynn Hoessly Bowers

Posted November 05, 2013 in Clive, Obituaries

March 22, 1923 – October 24, 2013

Marilynn Bowers

Marilynn Bowers

Marilynn H. Bowers, 90, formerly of Clinton, Iowa died Thursday, October 24, 2013, in Des Moines.

Marilynn Mae Price was born March 22, 1923, in Delaware, Ohio to Earl Emerson and Martha Dusenbury Price. Her father died of tuberculosis when Marilynn was five years old. Her mother re-married in 1929, to Harry Harrison Hoessly, a widower with three children of his own now joining Marilynn and her younger brother Charles (Chuck). Marilynn and Chuck were adopted by Harry Hoessly in 1942.

Named for an actress of the day (Marilynn Miller), she attended public school in Columbus and Worthington, Ohio. She married Albert H. Bowers of Lakewood, Ohio in May of 1943, following a blind date and then an 18-month courtship – conducted by mail – during which the two spent a total of four (well-chaperoned) weekends together. The fifth time they saw each other was on the day before their wedding.

During World War II, she contributed as a nurse’s aid, while Albert served in the U.S. Navy on Saipan and Iwo Jima in the South Pacific. After the war, he joined Swift & Company in Chicago, and in 1947 Marilynn and Albert settled in Downers Grove, Illinois, where their children were born. During the next 15 years, they were active in the community and the Congregational church, where Marilynn was director of the youth choirs. Possessed of a warm mezzo-soprano voice, Marilynn sang with the Chicago Symphony Chorus for several years and soloed with the Chicago West Suburban symphony, various choral organizations, and church choirs.

In 1963 the family moved to Clinton, Iowa where Albert joined Hawkeye Chemical Company. Marilynn gave up singing and taught piano, took up painting and concentrated on raising three teen-agers. Later, she deployed her artistic gifts towards becoming an expert quilter, as well as actively participating as a member of Sunoida, the Clinton Art Association, and two quilting groups. She and two other Clinton women collaborated in producing and publishing the “1976 History of Clinton County, Iowa”, a 500-page volume sponsored by the Clinton County Historical Society as a 1976 Bicentennial project.

Marilynn attended seven colleges and universities as time and location permitted, in pursuit of a college degree. In 1984, at age 61, she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa, an effort she had begun over 40 years earlier (she joked that she was a slow learner).

Always of a warm and caring nature, she befriended and provided companionship to lonely elderly women in the community and served her church in many ways, as chairman of the Board of Missions, church librarian, and sewing for the Women’s Fellowship.

She assisted at the Clinton YWCA Women’s Resource Center as a volunteer. Later, she served on the Board of Directors of Women’s Health Services, and found as much time as possible to enjoy the beauties of nature, particularly as an avid ‘birder’. She will be remembered for her tremendous caring for others, her positive attitude despite Type II diabetes, her sunny disposition and joyful embrace of life, and her firm and active faith in God and the Scriptures.

She is preceded in death by her siblings and in 2006 by her husband Albert. Survivors include her daughter, Martha of Newburyport, Massachusetts; two sons, John (and daughter-in-law Sherrie Smith) of Silver Spring, Maryland and Peter (and daughter-in-law Shirley) of Des Moines; and grandchildren, James Bowers and Emily Bowers.

A private memorial service to be held in Ohio at a later date, is being planned by her children, with burial in Ashland (Ohio) Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The Life Center, 900 Polk Blvd., Des Moines 50312, the Clinton Art Association, 229 5th Ave. S., Clinton 52732, or the Alzheimer’s Association (

Information provided by:
Brooks Funeral Care
7975 University Blvd.
Clive, IA 50325

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