Below the obituary are words spoken by my daughter and me
at Mom's memorial service on Wednesday, December 10, 2003
Marjorie Hallahan Bowers
January 18, 1910 - December 5, 2003
Marjorie Hallahan Bowers,
widow of E. Stanley Bowers, Jr. and a resident of Wynnewood, died
in her sleep in her apartment on Friday, December 05, 2003. She was
The daughter of John P. and Elizabeth Kane Hallahan, she was born at
on January 18, 1910 in Lansdowne, PA. Mr. Hallahan was a renowned
commercial and residential builder with a long life of public service.
Mrs. Bowers graduated from Upper Darby High School in 1927. After a year at the Kirk School in Rosemont, she went on to Ohio Wesleyan University, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1932. While there, she was elected to Kappa Alpha Theta, the country’s oldest women’s fraternity.
A several-year courtship ended on April 3, 1933 with her marriage to E. Stanley Bowers, Jr., a textile manufacturer who later succeeded his father as a principal owner of Continental Mills in Germantown, suppliers of fine woolen fabrics for leading manufacturers of men’s and women’s clothing.
In 1941, after living briefly in Germantown and elsewhere in Drexel Hill, Mr. and Mrs. Bowers moved to a home built by her father in Drexel Park, remaining there fifty-three years, and raising two sons, E. Stanley Bowers, III of Wynnewood and John Dallas Bowers of Villanova. At her death, Mrs. Bowers maintained residences in Wynnewood and Ocean City, New Jersey.
Flowers ranked as a favorite outdoor interest. Early in her marriage, Mrs. Bowers joined her mother, another lifelong horticulturist, in the Lansdowne Garden Club. Her homes were known for their beautiful displays of shrubs and flowers.
Shortly after graduation, Mrs. Bowers joined the College Club of Philadelphia (now the University Club), where she served as chairman of the membership committee.
Mrs. Bowers actively supported her husband’s civic interests, particularly his involvement as a second generation, thirty-nine-year board member of the Delaware County Memorial Hospital. In 1933, she joined the hospital’s Aronomink Auxiliary, thus beginning seventy years of uninterrupted auxilian membership.
During her husband’s tenure as president of the Philadelphia Rotary Club (1963-64), Mrs. Bowers assumed various social responsibilities, including heading the orientation effort for new members’ wives.
At her death, Mrs. Bowers was a member of the Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church.
In addition to her two sons and her brother (John Dallas Hallahan, MD), Mrs. Bowers is survived by three grandchildren (Jennifer, Barbara, and Stanley IV) and one great-grandson (Thomas Ward IV).
A service was held on Wednesday, December 10, 2003 at the Frank Videon Funeral Home on Lawrence Road in Broomall, PA with private internment at Arlington Cemetery in Drexel Hill. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent in her name to Delaware County Memorial Hospital, 501 North Lansdowne Avenue, Drexel Hill, PA 19026.
Jennifer's tribute to her adored "Memom"
Memom was the best grandmother I could have ever asked for. Over the weekend I tried to think of some adjectives I would use to describe her.
The first one I came up with was interested -- she was always interested in not only what was going on in my life but also what was going on with those close to me. She was like a surrogate grandmother to so many of my friends who have reminded me of how much they enjoyed the opportunity of getting to know her.
The second was loving and supportive. Throughout my life I felt unconditionally loved by her and no matter what choices I made, she was always there to support me.
The third was generous -- generous in so many ways. Many of my fondest memories either involved her or were made possible by her and Pop like:
· Spring Breaks at Lago Mar
· Summers and weekends at the beach house
· Learning how to drive, thanks to her good direction and patience
· Providing me with the opportunity to go to camp which I look back on as one of the best experiences of my childhood
· Christmas trips downtown to Wanamakers to see Santa and go to the Nutcracker light show
· And the list goes on and on…
So, selfishly I will miss not seeing her anymore, but I know she is in a better place now and I will always have my happy memories.
My words of remembrance and farewell
Good morning – and thank you so much for being here.
I’m pretty sure Mom never got to the point where she reveled in her age. While she was healthy, she loved being thought of as years younger than she was. In those rare instances when someone sought clarification, she would -- depending on her mood -- give that person either a playful or baleful look that quickly ended the matter. As she became more fragile and her world more claustrophobic, I think it was hard for her to find much joy in simple longevity.
I could certainly understand that, but I am so grateful she lived as long as she did – and was as active as she was for all but the final year or two.
Think about the world she was born into – and the changes she saw. I did a quick timeline check for 1910 and found that was the year the Boy Scouts were established in this country, the NAACP was founded, Halley’s Comet made a brilliant appearance, and Hallmark, Mom’s favorite source for greeting cards, opened its doors for business. We had not yet elected our first female member of Congress, and in fact, another ten years would go by before women were permitted to vote. Cars were a relative rarity, and Henry Ford’s first Model T wouldn’t roll off the assembly line for another two years.
Many of you know I have a website where I’ve posted family memorabilia. On the page with the photos from her 90th birthday party at my home, I wrote, “before the HMS Titanic, there was Mom.” And while that “unsinkable” ship lasted only four days, another 1912 innovation – the Oreo – fared much better and became one of Mom’s favorite lifelong sources for chocolate.
Other contrast abound: she remembered her parents getting their meat and produce from a horse-drawn wagon, and she lived to see the day when people are using the Internet and 800 numbers to have pretty much whatever they want delivered overnight from anywhere in the world. Just amazing.
Mother definitely lived a pre-feminist life, one in which first her father and then her husband worked very hard to provide for their families – and she worked hard to maintain the home and raise her kids. Yes, she did have some help, but I can attest to the fact that her management of my life was very hands on. Sometimes it seemed stifling and unrelenting, but I feel certain that much of what I achieved and experienced in life can be traced to her close involvement in my upbringing. She surely wasn’t a perfect mom, but I’ve come to believe she really did do the best she knew how.
Just like her mother before her, Mom made a point of seeing that my brother and I were exposed to many of life’s most interesting things. While my father was certainly in agreement, it was she who made sure we were introduced to the arts and sciences at a young age and gave us the chance to travel extensively both here and abroad. She understood the value of a well rounded person, and took the initiative to expand our horizons. And in my case especially, she was wise enough to allow me lots of time around her brother, my dear Uncle Jack – and his family – whose positive influence in my life has been simply incalculable.
I’d like to close by acknowledging what this roomful of people attests to – and that is that over the course of her life, my mother developed and maintained an amazing network of friends. So many people loved her so well over her life – and particularly in the years after my father’s death, when she needed them the most. As I look at some of your faces this morning – and remember many who are no longer with us – I marvel at the loyalty and affection she received…and, presumably, offered to others.
Mom had a generous spirit and a playfulness that I’m sure broke some hearts early on, but also built lifelong friendships – some lasting over 75 years. As her son, I would like to thank those of you who loved her so well – for whatever period of her life that you touched. She knew how fortunate she was to have friends like you, and I am so grateful for the ways in which you brightened her years.
During the summer of 2001, Mom and I spent lots of long weekends at her home in Ocean City. It was really her last opportunity to enjoy the seashore she loved so much. I sensed then what I know now: those opportunities were a rare gift.
I can remember conversations on the back porch and over the kitchen table during which we spoke honestly and tenderly to each other. In ways I had never experienced, Mom offered me the kinds of words any son or daughter would yearn to hear -- particularly if the relationship has had its difficult moments. I am at peace today in part because of those times together, and I thank God for them.
She was definitely feeling her age at that point, and looking forward to heaven. We talked a lot about that. Of course the Bible doesn’t offer many specifics about what we’ll find, but I love knowing that what she so yearned for, she’s now experiencing, fully and forever.
And you know, I can absolutely picture her there, offering her gifts – fully redeemed from any human failings. With every trace of her fear and selfishness gone, I can just imagine how those things we loved about her are now being offered so freely and so perfectly. It brings a smile to my heart – and, sometimes (and apparently this is one of those times), tears of joy.
I love imagining our reunion.
Visiting Jennifer in Washington, DC -- April 2001
Click here to see several photos of Mom through the years
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Encouraging words are always welcome at