Gayle Elaine Bowie

Jun 19, 1935 - May 27, 2019


Born June 19, 1935 in Rockford, Illinois; died May 27, 2019 in Bellevue, WA

   Gayle’s formative years occurred during the time period of the Great Depression and through World War II. Gayle’s father, Calvin Lewis, died when she was 15 years old, necessitating her mother, Myrtle Lewis, nee Germain, to undertake full time employment to support the family. Gayle accepted the responsibilities of maintaining the family home and caring for her two younger sisters, JoAnn (Hudson) and Jill (Lewis-Ebling). These responsibilities produced a maturity and family support capability that permanently remained. She is survived by her sister JoAnn Hudson of Cherry Valley, Illinois, her husband Don, her three children, her five grandchildren and numerous other relatives.

   A 1953 graduate of Harlem High School in what is today Machesney Park, Illinois, Gayle subsequently completed cosmetology school and was a practicing beautician until the first of her three children arrived in 1961. Gayle retained active contact with a number of her high school friends throughout her life.

   Gayle married Donald Lee Bowie in Rockford, Illinois on January 26, 1957. That marriage covenant remained for over 62 years. By choice, she followed a lifetime career of wife, homemaker, mother and grandmother; providing a lifetime of selfless support for her children, grandchildren and husband. She was a practicing evangelical Christian active in her church. Gayle lived in the Burien, Washington area the majority of her adult life.

    Gayle and Don moved to Seattle in the spring of 1961 when Don took a position at Boeing. Gayle became the director of her home in the raising of three children: Mark John Bowie (Joanne), a housing provider; Donna Lee Breske (Fred), a civil engineer; and Colleen Marie Heiland (Scott), an accountant. Gayle believed in the sanctity of life and of marriage, and considered it a blessing that each of her three children have now been married to their respective spouses for a total of 77 marriage years.

    With all five of Gayle’s grandchildren – Nicholaus and Adrienne Breske; and Bridget, Tara and Ian Heiland – living in the greater Seattle area, Gayle was able to participate in her grandchildren’s lives. After Don’s retirement from Boeing in 1999, Gayle and Don traveled the world’s seven continents; including ocean cruising and river touring on portions of the world’s four longest rivers. Automobile traveling, with Don as the chauffer in Gayle’s Lincoln Town Car, contributed to the Town Car’s over 400,000 miles.

   Gayle had a fine, smooth complexion; thereby, allowing cosmetics to seldom go beyond some lipstick. And with a passion for conservative jewelry, she usually had fashionable earrings, wrist watch, neckless and broach when she went out.

   An avid reader, she thoroughly enjoyed the King County Library System. All three of her children remember jumping out of the car and running books to the return drop-off counter for her. She annually read the bible cover-to-cover for many years. Her recreational reading was primarily adventure novels; occasionally reading a novel in one evening.

   Gayle had an eye for décor and used her talent to create a welcoming home for numerous entertainment venues with family and friends; decorating her front room with attractive and comfortable furniture in which to sit and visit for hours. She took great pride in her role as homemaker and mother, and her pride shined through with scores of hand-made Christmas decorations.

   Her passion for cleanliness transferred to her surrounding neighborhood. When her children were young, she persuaded her children, and the neighborhood kids, to pick up trash on the dead-end street where they lived. For their efforts all the kids were each rewarded with a fudgesicle.

   Gayle was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2013. However, she continued to enjoy gatherings with family and friends and would always have a smile on her face as she listened to the conversations around her. She was clearly happy when gathering with others and those memories will be cherished. Don was blessed to return a small portion of Gayle’s decades-long spousal support by being her care-giver. The joy associated with Gayle’s enthusiastic and smiling interaction with the ones she touched never wavered.

    Although Gayle struggled with several chronic health problems most of her adult life, through the miracle of prayer and modern medicine, Gayle was able to touch the lives of innumerable individuals for over 83 years. Gayle has already left a huge vacuum in the lives of those who were close to her.

A celebration-of-life memorial will be held at Boulevard Park Church, 1822 South 128th St., Burien, WA on Saturday, June 22nd at 2:00pm. Please come and join us celebrate the life of this spiritual, faithful and family-centered individual.


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Velma Jones
Velma Jones

Mrs. Bowie was a wonderful woman and I am so happy that I met her. She always had a smile and loved people. She will be missed by all that knew her.