WEST — Former, longtime West resident, Laura Melton Bowie passed away January 1, 2013, in Pensacola, Fla., where she had resided since February 2001. She was 94.
Funeral services were held January 4 in West Presbyterian Church, where she was a life-long member and pianist for 60-plus year. The Rev. Jerry Tate officiated. Burial was held in the West Cemetery, under the direction of Southern Funeral Home.
Born May 3, 1918, in West, she was the fourth of five children borne to John Robert and Mabel Andrews Melton. She graduated from West High School, Holmes Junior College, Mississippi College for Women with a B.A. degree and Mississippi State University with a M.A. degree. She did further study at the University of Alabama, University of Mississippi, and the University of Southern Mississippi.
She taught music one year in Shannon before marrying James Ralph Bowie on August 10, 1941, and making their home in West.
Mrs. Bowie taught English and served as librarian for six years at West High School and 24 years at Durant High and served as library supervisor for Holmes County Schools. She served more than 60 years on the Holmes County and Mid-Mississippi Regional Library System Board of Trustees.
She was a charter member of the Durant Hospital Auxiliary and had been a member of the Mississippi Library Association, Friends of the West Public Library and West Historical Preservation Society.
She was selected by the literary clubs of Durant as “Teacher of the Year” at Durant Public School; was a former, long-time member of Delta Kappa Gamma, an international society for key women teachers; was selected by the Mississippi Library Association to receive the 1992 Carroon Apple Award in recognition of outstanding accomplishment in the field of school library media services; and compiled and implemented two manuals for the use by media specialists, with a copy being sent by request of the U.S. Office of Education to the director of the state libraries in each state of the United States, as well as its territories.
Mrs. Bowi was also the longtime pianist for the West Union Choir.
She was preceded in death by her husband in 2007.
Survivors include five nieces, Mabel Clair Benson of Pensacola, Fla., Tommye Kay Strickland of Vicksburg, Shela Allred of Dallas, Texas, Paula Rutledge of Atlanta, Ga., and Mary Louise Bowie McCallister of Winona; and three nephews, Robert A. Bolding of Memphis, Tenn., Ernest Davis of Lubbock, Texas, and William L. “Bill” Bowie of West.
Active pallbearers were Ben Aldridge, Doug Aldridge, Ross Aldridge, Robert Bolding, Bill Bowie, Walt Bowie, Robert Snipes and Chistopher Strickland.
Honorary pallbearers were Carlton Aldridge, Sammy Aldridge, Dr. Charles Campbell, W.R. Martin, C.B. Peeples, Ray Powell and James Weeks.
Memorial may be made to the West Presbyterian Building Preservation Fund, P.O. Box 40, West, MS 39192, or the West Cemetery Fund, P.O. Box 114, West, MS 39192.