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Leona W. Bowen, 96, elementary schoolteacher


Leona W. Bowen, a longtime elementary schoolteacher who began her career in a one-room schoolhouse, died Wednesday of dementia at Longview Nursing Home in Manchester. She was 96.

Born Leona White in Mount Vernon, she graduated from Washington High School in Somerset County and received a teaching degree from the Maryland State Normal School of Towson, now Towson University, in 1924.

She began teaching in a one-room schoolhouse on the Eastern Shore at the age of 18.

She married John E. Bowen in 1927, raised six children and taught in Baltimore City until the family moved to a farm in northern Baltimore County in 1947.

Mrs. Bowen was a substitute teacher at local elementary schools and later taught third grade at Sixth District Elementary School, now Prettyboy Elementary, in Freeland. She retired in 1969.

"She was a teacher that no one forgets," said her granddaughter Linda Noel, who attended high school with many of her grandmother's former students.

Mrs. Bowen taught her grandchildren and great-grandchildren about nature, helping them collect different kinds of leaves and ironing them into wax paper books, at large family reunions that she continued holding into her 90s.

"She loved the noise of the family," Ms. Noel said.

Mrs. Bowen liked to travel and with her husband, who was afraid to fly, drove to 46 of the 50 states. After her husband died in 1973, she traveled to Hawaii, Germany, Great Britain and Scandinavia with her sister and friends.

She enjoyed giving handmade gifts and cross-stitched, crocheted afghans and tatted lace.

Mrs. Bowen was a member of St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Hampstead for more than 50 years. She was active in the Eklo Homemakers Club and Mount Carmel Senior Center.

Services will be at 11 a.m. today at Eline Funeral Homes, 934 S. Main St., Hampstead.

She is survived by three daughters, Barbara J. McLaughlin of Rockingham, N.C., Maxine B. Myers of Parkton and JoAnn Walker of Jackson, Tenn.; a son, Daniel J. Bowen Sr. of Forest Hill; a sister, Margaret N. White of Lutherville; 22 grandchildren; 31 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-granddaughters.

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