BOWLER - Sheila Mary February 11, 1927 to January 15, 2012. Sheila's life ended on a bright snowy day at a daughter's home in Regina Saskatchewan. She had spent a joyful Christmas with family but then came pneumonia, old illnesses resurfaced and three weeks later she was gone. She was in her 85th year. Sheila was born in Belle River, Ontario, the fifth child and the first girl, of the ten children of Thomas and Mary Jane McKay. The McKays were recent immigrants from Scotland. When the Great Depression quickly ruined their hopes for a good life in Canada they accepted British government help to return home, bringing with them strapping sons and daughters for the coming war. Some of the children returned to Canada after the war, so of the ten children, two, John and Mary (Mamie) survive her in Dundee, Scotland and one, Mabel, in Toronto. Fifty-six years ago, after a two year long-distance courtship, Sheila married Arthur Bowler, originally from Ottawa, while both were serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force, she in Langar, England and he in Zweibrucken, Germany. Together they had four wonderful children and after leaving the air force, ended up settling in 1966 in Buffalo, NY. Here the children were largely raised. John, the eldest is now in Seattle, WA, Patricia Hartley (David) is Cresswell, England, and Winnifred Haines (Mike) and Kathleen Thomas (Ted) in Regina, Saskatchewan. Seven grandchildren followed, Graham, Matthew and Kelsey Haines, and Nicholas, Thomas, Mary and Sarah Hartley; they were the lights of her life. Sheila served briefly in the Canadian Army during World War II. Then, after discharge and a spell in Wallacedburg, Ontario, served in the Womens' Division of the RCAF from 1951 to 1955. When she married, however, she left the Service and became a full time mother. She adored babies and children, as her own and many others happily discovered. She volunteered at her children's schools and her baking made her loved by many students and teachers she never met. She was never happier than when she had a baby - or two- to cosset and dandle. When the children graduated and left home Sheila turned to volunteering at Sisters of Charity Hospital in Buffalo and did that for twenty years and more. In the early years of their marriage Sheila, Arthur and the children travelled often as Arthur pursued his university studies and in their later years, widely for pleasure. They loved to travel but also looked forward to summers at Calabogie Lake in Ontario where they built the cottage which became the focus for family life. The very sight of a swarm of happy, noisy people swimming, playing horseshoes or gathered for dinner or an impossibly large game of cards was her great joy. Without show or pretence Sheila was the strong, calm focus of our world; the center which allowed us and supported us as we sought and found our varied ways in life. We loved her and already miss her sorely. Please do not send flowers, but if you are so moved, a donation in her name may be sent to the wonderful nurses and doctors who looked after her in her final weeks. For the Hospital it would be to the Unit 6A Nurse's Education Fund, Regina General Hospital, 14th Ave., Regina SK S4P 0W5 or for the care at home to Regina Palliative Care, 4F-4101 Dewdney Ave., Regina SK S4T 1A5. A memorial service for Sheila will be held in Buffalo at a later date.
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Published in the Buffalo News on Jan. 29, 2012