Rosemary Moore Bowen
1938 – 2015
Eulogy by Patrick Bowen
Throughout the past year and especially in the last week, in spite of sadness, we have all come to realize just how blessed we really are. We often choose not to think about this inescapable part of life and how little control we have over it. Rosemary had the unique opportunity to know what was coming and to prepare for the inevitable, on her terms….of course.
Known in some circles as “Our Lady of Perpetual Motion”, Rosemary lived her life with an energy and spirit that was evident to all who met her. Her beliefs and values were out for all to see. Sometimes, they needed a little interpretation, as with the idioms she so often used like,” It’s a long road that has no turns”, or “If you get the name of an early riser, you can sleep till noon” or with the seemingly contradictory pictures which hung behind her office desk of local legend Benny Wilkie in a top hat beside Mother Theresa of Calcutta. To her it all made perfect sense.
She was never shy to share an opinion or an observation, a word of encouragement or a verbal kick in the pants, as many of us know. She truly believed in the collective responsibility we have to one another. Much of her style can be summed up in one of the sayings she loved and lived, “Hearts that are tender and true and tongues that are neither. These two things make the greatest company in all the world.”
I have had more than a year to prepare for this day. I have come to believe that the best way to honor this woman is to try to live with the energy and joy she had. Part of this joy is the love of laughter. I would like to think that laughter, like music, can be prayer. And though I’m more Dr. Seuss than William Butler Yeats, I hope that everyone will find some reason to pray with me in the following lines:
In the year of the hurricane, 1938
A baby was born at an hour quite late
A young Irish couple were the proud mom and dad
And a five year old brother, a spoiled young lad
When they brought her back home, she got all the attention
The number one son was now honorable mention
A sister soon followed to outnumber the males
To help with the dishes and braid her pigtails
When Kevin was born-a bit late in the game
The usual method indeed was to blame
From his birthday count back, nine months less or more
The first St. Paddy’s Day after the war
Potatoes and carrots and cabbage and jello
From morning till night in the auld Irish ghetto
She grew strong and grew quick, learned life’s wonders and joys
And soon figured out she could beat up the boys
Running and jumping and batting a ball
Was much more exciting than playing with dolls
She was pleasant and tall and her posture was straight
But she still had a challenge in finding a date
Size 12 saddle shoes and a will to compete
No boy in New Bedford would walk down her street
When a yank from Little Compton went shopping for tires
A curious merger began to transpire
Pat Moore and Ed Bowen, with wives both from Cavan
A son and a daughter, a match made in heaven
E. Howland or “Ted” was the man that she chose
A Protestant name but with Catholic clothes
He knew not of athletics of games or the rest
But the sport of the law was what he obsessed
When children arrived, they came quickly it seems
In no time at all they had a basketball team
With cooking and driving and all of that stuff
All Rosemary could say was “it’s just not enough”
And so into business she waded quite deep
With so much to do she had no time to sleep
Though the sign on the door said she sold real estate
The woman inside seemed more like an oblate
Like Lucy from Peanuts, in her lemonade stand
She doled out advice of her own special brand
With kids out of college, the weddings soon followed
Something old, something new, something blue, something borrowed
Grandchildren arrived to bring her more joy
The magic number 12, six girls and six boys
And so it is such that one forms a life
A mom and a nana a friend and a wife
So these words that are written and what they are for
Are only to say that I love you more
Patrick Bowen, Son
September 12, 2015
Essay by Myles Bowen
Rosemary Moore Bowen was my grandmother. She is no longer living, but we all still remember her. She was born in New Bedford on May 26, 1938. She had three siblings, and she was the second oldest. Her parents were born in Ireland. She died on September 6, 2015. She was 77 when she passed, and I think she knew everyone in this town. She loved every one of her grandchildren and she loved this town. She moved to Little Compton in 1967, when she married my grandfather who was from Little Compton. My grandmother lived in Little Compton until she died.
Before she moved to Little Compton, she was a teacher and a field hockey coach at Bishop Stang High School. After she got married and moved to Little Compton she became a mother and had five children in seven years. She did not return to working outside of the house for another ten years. When she went back to work she started a real estate agency. For the next 37 years she worked as a real estate broker in Little Compton.
She loved Little Compton and she loved the people who lived here. She was interested in affordable houses so all people could live in Little Compton. She was especially concerned that people who grew up in Little Compton had the chance to buy a house, so they could live here when they were older. She served on the board of Church Community Housing Corporation, an organization that helps to provide affordable housing.
Her office was at the commons and she liked being at the commons so she could get all of the town’s news. Every day she would go to the Commons Lunch for coffee and she would talk to all of the town’s people to find out what was happening. She also liked to go to the town hall to research and figure out how the town was doing. She once even held a position on the beach commission. She knew just about everybody in this town and they all knew her, too.
According to my dad, her favorite thing about Little Compton was probably that almost all of her family lived there and she had many friends. She had 12 grandchildren, Aiden, Malcom, Libby, Lois, Eddie, Rose, Sam, Stella, Maggie, Michaela , Alisdair, and (me). There is an 11 year difference in age from her oldest grandchild to her youngest. She expected that her grandchildren would be very polite and kind. She liked to celebrate all of her grandchildren’s birthdays with cake at parties , with all of their cousins there to sing happy birthday.
My grandmother loved to have fun. She had many talents. She was a really good cook and a good baker. She liked to watch any and all sports. When there was a game on we would watch it together. She liked to play the accordion, she loved music and even used to play the accordion at parties with her family. Our family will always miss her and she will always be remembered. I will miss having lunch with her, and I will remember when we used to have parties together. Even though the essay is done the memory of my grandmother will still live on.
Based on an interview with Ed Bowen, April 2020.
Written by: Myles Bowen,Grade 5 – Wilbur & McMahon School