Ivan "Leon" Bowers

Ivan "Leon" Bowers


Leon Bowers, age 96, of Kirksville, Missouri, passed away January 29, 2019 at University Hospital in Columbia, Missouri.
The son of John Reuben and Eva Lena (Hanlin) Bowers, Leon was born August 3, 1922 in Novinger, Missouri. On October 24, 1942 in Brashear, Missouri, he was united in marriage to Norma Lorene Owings who preceded him in death on June 12, 1987.
Also proceeding him in death were his parents and nine siblings – Ora Bowers, Alta (Bowers) Stout, Opal (Bowers) Moyer, Hazel (Bowers) Vail, Esther (Bowers) Conley, Johnny Bowers, Willard Bowers, Harold Bowers, and Alva Bowers.
Leon was a proud and loving father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He is survived by his son Jim Bowers and wife Linda; daughter Linda McKim and husband Louis; grandchildren Jodi McKim, Jason McKim (wife Alayna), Chris Bowers, and Josh Bowers; great-grandchildren Justin, Kelsea, Nolan, and Garrett McKim.
Leon is also survived by special friend Pauline Goodwin.
Leon proudly served his country during World War II while deployed in England. As a sergeant in the 8th Air Force Bombing group, he was in charge of the kitchen on base and used limited resources to provide meals for the bomber pilots. During his off-hours he enjoyed working on bicycles. Before returning to the states, he asked a local man to give his bicycles to children who would otherwise not have one. He also traded his cigarette rations to his fellow soldiers for their candy rations, giving the candy to local children. The three years Leon spent training and deployed would have a lasting impact on his life and he enjoyed sharing stories with those around him.
After returning to the states, Leon along with his brother and life-long best friend, Alva, started a milk route, collecting milk from area dairy farmers.
Leon also started his own business, Leon Bowers Used Cars, repairing wrecked cars and selling them. For 30 years, Leon started his day hauling milk before going out to the garage behind his house to work on cars. In total, Leon ran his used car business for 40 years resulting in lasting friendships with vendors and repeat customers.
At the age of 70, Leon decided to restore his black 1967 Chevelle Malibu. He had purchased the car in 1971 for $275 from a salvage yard, and after repairs, his family drove it for 21 years. After restoring the Chevelle in 1992, Leon started showing it at local car shows. He won numerous trophies that he proudly displayed, but most of all he enjoyed the friendships. For 20 years, he was an active member of the NEMO Car Club, planning dinners, car shows, and trips to Wisconsin, Arkansas, and other areas in the midwest.
Leon also enjoyed boating out at Thousand Hills Lake with his young family. For years he would load his family up every Wednesday afternoon for boating with friends. When the lake added boat docks, Leon received slot number one.
Leon also enjoyed blue grass music, and spent years traveling to festivals with his family and friends in his camper.
Leon enjoyed working on projects at his house as well as the family cabin. He was known to crawl up on a roof well into 80’s. He was also an avid gardener and enjoyed cooking for his family. Family gatherings always included meat that he cooked.
As Leon said himself, he had a good life. He never met a stranger and made friends everywhere he went. We will miss his stories, love, and support.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00am Saturday February 2, 2019 at Travis-Noe Funeral Home in Kirksville, with Pastor Jason Marlin presiding. Interment with military honors will follow the service at Maple Hills Cemetery in Kirksville.
Family will receive friends on Saturday February 2, 2019 for one hour before service time in the chapel of Travis-Noe Funeral Home.
Pallbearers will be Jason McKim, Chris Bowers, Josh Bowers, Justin McKim, Craig Bowers, Ben Haynes, and Paul Goodwin.
Honorary pallbearers are Gary Bowers and Larry Bowers.
During Leon’s brief stay at University Hospital, the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine Pet-Assisted Love and Support (PALS) program brought a dog to his hospital room. As a dog lover, Leon enjoyed the visit and remarked that he would like to donate money to the program. Expressions of sympathy in memory of Leon Bowers may be made to the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine PALS program. Memorials may be left or mailed to the Travis-Noe Funeral Home, P.O. Box 306, Kirksville, MO 63501.

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Signed by: braggj on February 2, 2019

Other than my own family there’s no family I’ve known and loved longer than them. When we were kids Jim and I were at one another’s house all the time. Leon and Norma were always welcoming and giving. They will always be a part of my childhood memories.

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