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Charlotte Bowman

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NORTH BENNINGTON -- Charlotte Bowman, 89, a resident of Murphy Road, died peacefully at her home on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2006.

Charlotte was born in Woodstock, Va., on Aug. 14, 1916, the daughter and only child of Milton and Gloria (Kibler) Bowman. She attended local schools. At the time of her graduation from high school - because of depressed economic conditions - her family was unable to afford the expense of a college education, so she took up a scholarship that she had been awarded to attend a secretarial school in Washington, D.C. Upon completion of that course, she worked as a typist for several federal agencies and finally found a position as secretary to the head of a division in an agency that later became the Office of Strategic Services.

During the late 1930s and early 1940s, she took evening courses at George Washington University’s Columbian College of Arts and Sciences and Law School, and then before the end of World War II she passed the bar exams of both Washington, D.C., and Virginia.

As fate would have it, she never entered the practice of law. She continued to work in the federal government until 1947, when she came to Vermont in response to an offer of a position as assistant to the president of Bennington College, a position she held for 10 years.

In the summer of 1957, she moved to New York City to become the executive secretary to the president of the American Council of Learned Societies, an organization devoted to the advancement of scholarship in the humanitites and social sciences. After 17 years of service, and three years before her retirement, she was promoted to vice president of the ACLS.

During her years in New York City, she kept up her relations with her many friends in the faculty and administration of Bennington College and made frequent trips to Bennington. She never lost her love of Vermont and, in preparation for her retirement, she bought the old schoolhouse on Murphy Road, where she lived since 1977.

In retirement, she joined the Bennington staff of volunteer editors that are at work on a complete edition of the “Correspondence of Charles Darwin,” the 15th volume of which has just been published by the Cambridge University Press. While in this position, she made several trips to England for a summer of work with the British staff of editors of the “Correspondence” located at the University Library in Cambridge. Charlotte has also done volunteer work for the Park-McCullough House and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program.

Charlotte Bowman’s life was one of steady achievement in public service and education. Whether as a teenage typist or in executive positions with large responsibilities, the trait that characterized all her work was a striving for excellence in whatever she did.

She will be missed by all her friends, who cherished her intelligence and wit, her modesty and robust sense of humor.

At Charlotte’s request, graveside services will be held in the family lot at the Massanutten Cemetery in Woodstock, Va. Contributions in Charlotte’s memory may be made to the charity of their choice.

Arrangements are under the care of Hanson-Walbridge Funeral Home, 213 West Main St.
Published in Bennington Banner from Jan. 19 to Jan. 20, 2006
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