The annual Bowers Family Reunion took place on Sunday, August 14, 2016 at the Nashville Memorial Park where 32 family members gathered to visit and enjoy a potluck lunch.
Prior to lunch, Glen Bowers led our family in prayer for our many blessings and asked for a moment of silence for family members who had passed away, including Alan Ray Bowers, Sr. and Jerry Gates.
President Don Bowers was unable to attend, but his brother, Conrad, called for order after our meal and asked Joel Vancil, our minister in residence, to open a business meeting with prayer. Pam Gates read the minutes and Treasure’s Report from 2015. Pam brought the notebook with scans of ancestor photos and documents that she had scanned in previous years. This year she also brought the Attendance Record book and minutes from 1973 through 1993. Under new business, family members nominated and elected Glen Bowers of Ashley, Illinois as our new family reunion president.
Family members shared memories and described our ancestors’ involvement with The Du Bois Center, a United Church of Christ camp located north of Du Bois. Raymond Bowers participated on the Advisory Board that established the local church camp and was instrumental in obtaining and purchasing the land for the camp from the railroad. During this past summer, Ethan Massa, great-grandson of Raymond Bowers, enjoyed a week at the camp and, after inquiring about Raymond Bowers at the Center, spoke with a worker who knew of Raymond and his early involvement. Additionally, it was noted that the late Alan Bowers, Sr., Alan Bowers, Jr. and his wife Lori provided various acts of service for the center, including, clearing snow from the roads to the center after snowfalls.
Geraldine Massa explained that, prior to the establishment of the Du Bois Center, there was a reservoir on the land and the water from the reservoir was used to refill the steam engines that ran on the north-south train tracks. Reminiscing, there were descriptions of how our Bowers relatives who lived in the southern Illinois area – Iva Bowers, Doris Bowers, Wave Bowers, Lee Bowers, Raymond Bowers – would sometimes picnic and swim at the reservoir during the early 1900s.
We welcomed our cousins Lucy Bell & her husband Bob Slingerland of Michigan and Bryan Bowers of Scott City, MO to our reunion. We also warmly welcomed Ethan Engele, a guest of Sydney Thompson. We took turns giving family updates and sharing stories; visiting and telling stories continued after the meeting and into the late afternoon.