William “Willard” Bowers
- March 30, 2023
William “Willard” Bowers
William “Willard” Bowers, 84, passed away peacefully on March 25, 2023, surrounded by his loved ones at UnityPoint Hospice at St. Luke’s Hospital. Funeral service: 10:30 a.m. Monday, April 3, at United Methodist Church in Mount Vernon. Pastor Terra Amundson is officiating. Immediately following the service, luncheon will be at the Lester Buresh Center. After lunch, Burial: Mount Vernon Memorial Cemetery, graveside honors conducted by Mount Vernon Howard Hahn American Legion and U.S. Army. Visitation: 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, April 1, Stewart Baxter Funeral & Memorial Services in Mount Vernon.
Those unable to attend are invited to watch the service via livestream. Please find the livestream link on Billâ€™s Tribute Wall and share your support and memories with his family at www.stewartbaxter.com under obituaries.
William was born July 22, 1938, to Ralph and Pearl (Matthews) Bowers, St. Luke’s Hospital, Cedar Rapids. He was raised on Matthews Dairy Farm, the only son of Ralph and Pearl Bowers. Bill’s life was one of kindness and a strong work ethic. Matthews Dairy Farm was a self-sustaining farm. The farm produced 3,000 bales of alfalfa, hay and corn ensilage for a herd of purebred Holsteins. The farm supported a milk route for Cornell College and Mount Vernon surrounding area. Bill and his father installed a modern milking parlor, providing the ability to milk 50 cows in less than an hour. He attended Mount Vernon High School, graduating in 1957, holding an athletic track record in low hurdles. He was a proud member Lisbon-Mount Vernon FFA (President, 1956), Mount Vernon Booster Club and Mount Vernon Alumni Association. After graduating, Bill enlisted in the U.S. Army in February 1958. Serving his country was honorably discharged in January 1964. Military policeman awards included: Good Conduct Medal, Sharpshooter Badge (Pistol, Carbine) and Expert Badge (Rifle MI).
Bill was united in marriage to his high school sweetheart, Myrtle Clark, on Sept. 9, 1961. After returning from military service, he resumed working at the Bowers-Matthews Dairy Farm, and later converted to grain farming for over 35 years. Following his leave from harvesting, he continued daily farm tasks and transitioned the land to an agricultural lease. Known for his generosity, family and community involvement were most important to Bill. His shop door was always open, whether it was welding, mechanical work or just chatting. He enjoyed community with friends for daily lemonade at the local establishments throughout the years in Mount Vernon. Industrious, he personalized the farm’s equipment. The Allis-Chalmers D21 was painted with the name “Dirty Alice.” Bill’s lifelong love of cars included a ’57 T-Bird Coupe, Corvette Centennial and a stretch limousine. He engineered and restored numerous pieces of equipment. Most notable are the log elevator and splitter, hot rod pulling tractors, custom-built Roadster and ’27 Studebaker Erskine.
Witt and gaiety exemplified Bill. His retirement involved hours in the shop and evenings relaxing, like generations before. He often rocked on the front porch, reminiscing about the many cars that drove the Lincoln Highway. These cars crossed a historical wooden bridge over the former Chicago and North Western Railway and could easily be seen from the Bowers-Matthews front porch.
William is survived by wife, Myrtle Jean; three children, Bill (Becky) Bowers Jr. of Mount Vernon, Iowa, Kristin (Kenneth) Bowers, of Austin, Texas, and Michael (Phillip) Bowers of Albany, Calif.; beloved grandchildren, Frederick Jr., Alexandria, Lisa and Carrie; great-grandchildren, Cydney and Cammie; in-laws, Steven (Mary), Douglas (Theresa), Kenneth (Jody), Merle (Sheryl), Marcia (Danny), Donita (John), Denise (Warren) and Jeff (Julie); and numerous other relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by parents, Ralph and Pearl; parents-in-law, Jake and Marcella; family-in-laws, Dennis, Richard, Gary and Debra; and grand-pup, Tank.
In lieu of flowers, the family wishes that memorials be made in Bill’s name to the Lisbon and Mount Vernon Ambulance and/or the Mount Vernon Community School Foundation.
The family wishes to thank the UnityPoint Health St. Luke’s Hospice team for their compassionate care.