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SIDNEY - Gerald ("Jerry") Nelson Bowne, age 92, of Sidney NY passed away gracefully on June 22, 2012.
Optimistic and strong spirited, he defied all medical predictions and continued a happy and pain free life. Jerry was at peace with life and whatever would follow. His good humor and gratefulness for everyone who supported him was truly inspiring.
His gratitude for a life so blessed with good health, prosperity and joy was boundless. Helping others, promoting good-will and well-being was his daily bread.
Jerry lived in Delaware County since 1947, however, his childhood memories of the Hudson Valley remained special. He was born on March 10, 1920 in Poughkeepsie, New York a few minutes before his twin brother, George. His parents, Nelson and Bertha (Frank) Bowne were long time residents of Dutchess County. Jerry graduated from Poughkeepsie High School in 1938 where he began his athletic career in track and field. In 1938 he enrolled in Cornell University, School of Agriculture and majored in agriculture economics. He competed in intercollegiate track and field events. As a member of Alpha Gamma Rho, lifelong friendships were forged that endured, during World War II, and are continuing to the present.
Following graduation from Cornell University in 1943, he went to Officer Candidate School and Liaison Pilot School and was sent to the Philippines with the 165 Field Artillery Battalions as an air observation pilot. He served from September 1943 to October 1946 and was discharged as a Captain. Despite his conviction about to the necessity of World War II, his belief in war as a solution to human conflict diminished as he grew older.
In February 1945 he married his Cornell sweetheart Barbara (Bobbie) Hall. After the war Jerry and Bobbie moved to Walton, NY. Jerry worked for The National Bank in Walton and Sidney. When Sidney Mang invited him to become his business partner in 1952, the rest of his 40-year business career began. The insurance and real estate office on Main Street known for making house calls, good and beneficial service gradually evolved into Mang Inc.
Service to others stemmed from Jerry's heart. His daily life was based on ecumenical beliefs with deep felt compassion and kindness for everyone. His 67 years of marriage with Bobbie was grounded in this notion, starting with their family and spreading throughout the local community and beyond.
In 1952 Jerry and Bobbie moved to Sidney, built a house and lived there ever since. Four children and a collection of cows, rabbits, ducks and a curious donkey came next. Then they purchased an abandoned farm, "The Hill", now a family treasure, was purchased.
Sunday, Jerry's day-off, was Family Day. Depending on the season, activities varied from pig roasts and swimming on The Hill, planting gardens, pruning Christmas Trees, playing golf and tennis, skiing, attending church functions or visiting family in the Hudson Valley.
Lesser known interests of Jerry's were: his yodeling, musical aspirations with the fiddle and harmonica, walking about the house on his hands, rearing homing pigeons, graham crackers and milk at bedtime. While abhorring gambling, he actively supported local raffles, submitting names of others who were frequently happy winners.
Jerry played a role in improving many community organizations in Sidney. Locally: The First Congregational Church, Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, United Way, Sidney Tree Commission, Sidney Boys and Girls Club and the DelChenango Rod and Gun Club. More regionally: the Cornell Cooperative Extension, Catskill Symphony Orchestra and a participant in the 70 Plus Ski Club. On a national level: his college fraternity, Alpha Gamma Rho, the International Rotary Student Exchange Program, Crop Walk for Hunger.
He is survived by his loving wife Bobbie (Hall) and their four children: Douglas (Catherine) of Little Falls, NY, Kaima (Edmond) of Franklin, NY. Heidi (John) of Binghamton, NY. Marcia of Oneonta, NY. 5 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren. George (Mady)Bowne of Wappinger's Falls, NY. He was predeceased by both parents and his sister, Marion Bowne Dederer.
"Thank you Thank you Thank you." (Jerry's mantra) to his care-givers for the wonderful support and care they have provided during the last 2 years. Special thanks to Dr. Sherwood for his supportive style including house calls and unexpected interventions. Catskill Area Hospice and Palliative Care's staff: Kathy Zahar, Tracy Quinn, Cindy Bramley, and the on-call-nurses who guided us through the night. And our fabulous family of care-givers, Michele Wust (deceased), Heather Wust, Julie Hall, Avis Dalton, Megan Bliss, Joanne Mahlmeister, Carol Bennett, Lee Nordberg, Heather Vandesloot, Christine Sluti and Sook Cordes.
It has been a profound pleasure to share Jerry's life and death with such compassionate and competent friends, including the support from members of the Congregational Church, residents of Sidney and friends. Jerry was carried away in love. He leaves us a wonderful legacy.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Jerry's memory can be made to:
The Sidney Rotary Club's - International Rotary Exchange Student Program, at P.O. Box 317, Sidney, NY, 13838, or, The Sidney Memorial Public Library, 8 River Street, Sidney, NY 13838, att. Roz Conner.
Calling hours will be at the C.H Landers Funeral Chapel, 21 Main Street Sidney, on Tuesday June 26 from 1-3 pm and 5-8 pm. On Saturday, June 30 at 11:00 am, a "Celebration of Jerry's Life" will be held at the First Congregational Church in Sidney. A reception at the church Social Hall will follow. Internment of Jerry's ashes will take place thereafter at the Sidney Cemetery.
Condolences can be made at www.landersfh.com, or mailed to C.H.Landers Funeral Chapel, 21 Main Street, Sidney, NY, 13838.
Published in the Poughkeepsie Journal on June 26, 2012
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