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Matriarch reached goal of 100 full years

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Violet M. Bowman, 100, of New Alexandria, died Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, in Crest Personal Care Facility, in New Alexandria.

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Monday, Feb. 25, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

All her life, Violet Bowman's goal was to become a centenarian.

“Violet always said she wanted to make it to 100,” recalled daughter-in-law Martha Bowman.

Violet Bowman reached the milestone on Feb. 18 and celebrated her 100th birthday with friends and family in Crest Personal Care Home in New Alexandria. The family took a five-generation family photo with Bowman and her brand-new great-great-granddaughter.

Mrs. Bowman died two days later.

One of five children, she was born Feb. 18, 1913, in Luxor.

“Violet grew up and, in her words, married a wonderful man on Memorial Day in 1934,” Martha Bowman said. “She said he didn't have a job, just a 1927 Dodge truck.”

She and her husband, Charles Bowman, used the truck and other ventures to make money. They sold vegetables that Mrs. Bowman tended in a garden as well as milk and eggs from cows and chickens they raised.

In 1941, the couple bought what would become their “dream farm,” a dairy operation in the New Alexandria area, Martha Bowman said.

The couple's oldest son, also named Charles Bowman, remembered eating oatmeal every morning “all my life” and joked that it must have been his mother's secret to a long life.

Violet Bowman worked several jobs, including as a telephone operator and a department store salesclerk. She retired from the Postal Service in 1977 to care for her ailing husband. He died two years later.

“I look back over this 100 years, and I'm just in awe,” Martha Bowman said.

After her retirement, Violet Bowman enjoyed cooking, baking and playing cards and bingo with friends.

“She loved to make angel food cake,” Martha Bowman recalled.

She eventually moved from the farm, where sons Charles and Donald now live with their wives, to an apartment building and later the personal care home. There she was “grandma to all and the matriarch of the home,” Martha Bowman said.

Charles Bowman joked that he may follow in his mother's footsteps of long age, but he'd be happy with living to be 95 years old.

“She always said, ‘I'm going to make it,'” Charles Bowman remembered of his mother.

In addition to her two sons, Mrs. Bowman is survived by four grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and a great-great-granddaughter.

A funeral service is scheduled for Monday in United Methodist Church of New Alexandria. She will be buried in Twin Valley Memorial Park in Delmont.

Renatta Signorini is a staff writerfor Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or

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