Myrtle Lois (Freeman) Bowers
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Myrtle Lois (Freeman) Bowers
Myrtle's father's desire for his children to have a good education never left her mind. Though she had a scholarship to attend the University of Oklahoma, Myrtle went to Hill's Business College in Oklahoma City to get work earlier so she could help their mother provide for six younger brothers and sisters after her father died of blood poisoning and pneumonia in 1933. She married Royal H. Bowers on September 9, 1939; he too had dropped out of the university due to family hardships during the depression. Royal's desire for a better education was driven by his having earned membership in Phi Delta Kappa as a sophomore, and fifteen years later they decided he should finish his education. During this period Royal worked part-time while Myrtle held a civil service position most of the time. Myrtle's good business, typing, and research skills allowed her to do research in libraries while she also took care of their son Wayne so Royal could complete his bachelor's degree at Central State in Edmond, then his master's degree at OU, and finally his doctorate at Oklahoma State.
Following the completion of Royal's education in 1956, the family moved to York, Nebraska where Royal helped to establish York College. On January 22, 1960 Myrtle finished her B.A.Ed. degree at Nebraska State Teachers College in Kearney, Nebraska, and that Fall Royal accepted a position with Oklahoma State University to set up a counseling service for students. In the fall of 1960, Myrtle was chosen for a math position at Stillwater Junior High School. She immediately started working toward a master's degree in math education, completing it in 1962; that summer Myrtle was selected to attend a seminar to learn the new modern math program, which she used for 26 years in her career.
In the summer of 1963 the family moved to Oklahoma's Panhandle when Royal accepted the position of Dean of Instruction and Professor of Psychology at Oklahoma Panhandle State University in Goodwell. Myrtle taught for three years at nearby Guymon High School which was 11 miles away before transferring to Goodwell Schools, where she taught mathematics for 19 years.
Myrtle was a National Honor Society member in high school, became a member of Kappa Delta Pi in college, and graduated magna cum laude. Being excited about the full educational process, she was a member of many professional organizations, including national and state Education Associations and national Math and English organizations. In 1965 Myrtle became a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, an honorary teacher organization, and the American Association of University Women, an organization for college graduates to help further education for young women; one such organization was the National Federated Women's Club.
Curiosity and a desire to see other places encouraged Myrtle and Royal to travel extensively throughout the United States and abroad. Many years included presentations at workshops, conferences, or summer institutes, as well as attendance at local, state, and national conventions for professional or personal growth. Some important trips were: London in 1969 for the International Psychology Congress that Royal attended; Hawaii in 1965 to attend the Southwest Regional Conference for Delta Kappa Gamma; Dallas for the International Delta Kappa Gamma 50-year anniversary in 1979; and Tokyo, along with several other cities in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and a visit with friends in Seoul, Korea on the way home. The couple's last big trip was three weeks in Alaska for their 47th wedding anniversary; they flew to Anchorage, took a bus across the state, and took the out-passage by boat in returning to Vancouver and home.
After Royal's death in 1988 during a trip to Nebraska, Myrtle elected to stay in Goodwell until moving to her present home in Norman in 1995. She continued her love of travel with trips to visit Wayne during his years in Baltimore, Maryland and then Lansing, Michigan. Just as she has done here, she became known as Mom to everyone who got to know her on these trips. Wayne made the decision in 2007 to move to Norman to live with his mother in order to lend an assisting hand in her later years, a decision which allowed her to continue living in her own home and to experience a good quality of life throughout her days.
Many call Myrtle a friend and she will be sorely missed on this earth. She inspired many to remember the Lord in their lives and remained faithful to the end. Myrtle has been a very active person in other organizations such as National Honor Society, Kappa Delta Pi, NEA, OEA, American Association of University Women, Oklahoma Retired Education Association, Westside Ladies Ministry, Westside Church of Christ, and a local flower club.
Myrtle's only son Wayne survives her. Other than her parents, preceding her in death are sisters Marie Freeman of Norman, Ruby Marsh of Rockwall, Texas, and Sara Beth Dees of Coral Springs, Florida and brother Lloyd Freeman of Norman. Surviving siblings are Edward Freeman and Dorothy Strickland, both of Norman. There also are numerous nieces and nephews.
Memorial donations in Myrtle's name may be made to the American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org)
Myrtle's family has entrusted her care to Tribute Memorial Care in Norman (708 24th Ave NW, 405.292.4787), and will be present to receive friends in the funeral home's downstairs event center from 6:00-8:00pm on Monday, December 10th. Services to celebrate Myrtle's life will be held at 10:00am on Tuesday, December 11th at Westside Church of Christ in Norman (726 McGee Dr). Graveside Services will be held at 2:00pm on Wednesday, December 12th at the Goodwell Cemetery in Goodwell, OK.
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