At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Van Andel Institute for Cancer Research
333 Bostwick Ave NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
All who knew Betty Bowser would agree that she was one of the kindest people around. She was so much fun to be around and had a great sense of humor with a zest for life that was contagious to all who were near. Betty took her roles as a wife and mother to heart, but she just may have argued that becoming a grandmother and great-grandmother was her greatest gift. She worked hard in everything she did, yet she also took time to enjoy life along the way. Deeply loved, Betty will be forever missed.
Life during the 1930s was anything but easy as the Great Depression held our nation and much of the world firmly in its grip. With jobs that were increasingly hard to find and a soaring unemployment rate, there were few American families who didn’t feel the stress and strain of the time. Despite the trials around them, Glenn and Francis Black were able to focus their hearts on an exciting time in their own lives as spring appeared on the horizon in Kittanning, Pennsylvania, in 1937, and they were awaiting the birth of their new baby. The big day finally arrived on March 24 when the baby they named Betty Mae drew her first breath. She was one of four Black children as she was raised in the family home alongside her siblings, Thomas, Terry, and Velma. Betty and her two brothers where born in same home that her mother had been raised in. Her father worked for a glass company while her mother had more than enough to keep her busy at home.
In many ways Betty was a young girl of her generation. She regularly helped her mother with things but also enjoyed hanging with her girlfriends and cousins. As a student Betty attended Furnace Run Elementary and Kittanning High School through the 11th grade but later did get her GED. Their family also attended Church of God in Kittanning.
New and exciting changes were in store for Betty when she met the young man of her dreams. His name was Leslie Bowser, and they had known each other from the time they were in elementary school. When they got older, their first date was attending the policeman’s rodeo in Pittsburgh. Just six months later, they were married on May 2, 1953, in Winchester, Virginia in a small family wedding. At the time, Les was working for a steel company. Over the years that followed, Betty and Les welcomed six children including Pamela in 1954, Susan in 1955, Cindy in 1957, Leslie Jr. in 1958, Shawn in 1961, and Darla in 1966 into their hearts and home. In 1964, their bustling family moved to Grand Rapids in 1964 to find work. They ended up renting a house on Benson St NE, but in 1972 they bought a home on Maynard Avenue in Walker where they continued to live for the rest of Betty’s life. While Les worked hard at Corduroy Rubber for a short time and later for Velting Construction until retiring, Betty was able to primarily focus her time and attention at home. She made delicious, nutritious, home-cooked meals for her family including soups, chicken, roasts, and lima beans. As a family they enjoyed camping vacations each summer, visiting many parks throughout Michigan as well as a trip to Niagara Falls, New York. Their children attended Eastern Elementary and Central or Grandville High School, and Betty was there to support them in everything they did. She was an active part of their lives in so many ways as she taught her daughter, Pam, to drive a stick shift car and was there with all the girls when they were taught to ride a motorcycle as well as how to fish. Betty and Les also hosted several pig roasts where Betty’s green salads and fruit salads were big hits.
Throughout her life Betty was one to keep busy. She spent several years working as a receptionist for Dr. Samuel Post and later as a receptionist for Dr. Deleeuw. She and Les traveled a bit more extensively as they went to Las Vegas, Bahamas, California, Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska, and took several cruises. For years they had a second home in Sebastian, Florida, where they spent their winters. While there, Betty loved tooling around on her golf cart to visit many of her friends. She was also thrilled to become a grandmother, and she took every opportunity to visit with her grandchildren. When relaxing, Betty loved watching old western movies on television as well as her daily soap opera, The Young and the Restless. These past few years various health struggles forced Betty to slow down some, and a fall this past Thursday left her unable to recover.
With a life that spanned times of war and times of peace, times of plenty and times of want, Betty Bowser lived a life of purpose while holding her loved ones near. She was loving and dedicated to her family, and it has been said that she was the best mother and grandmother anyone could ask for. Life will never be the same without Betty here, but she leaves behind a timeless legacy that her loved ones will proudly carry on in her footsteps.
Betty Mae Bowser (Black), aged 82 of Walker, MI, passed away on Friday, January 17, 2020 at Metro Hospital. She was preceded in death by her daughter, Cindy Lou Silva; siblings, Thomas Black, Terry Black, Velma Piper. She is survived by her husband of 66 years, , Leslie D. Bowser children, Pamela (Robert) Weaver, Susan (Donald) Pease, Leslie (Sandy) Bowser Jr., Shawn (Paul) Bigelow, Darla (Jeff) VerBeek; 14 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren; sisters-in-law, Helen Black and Audrey Black; many nieces, nephews and friends. Betty was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, sister and a friend to all who knew her. She worked for Dr. Samuel Post for many years. A service to celebrate Betty’s life will be celebrated on Thursday, January 23, at 1:00 pm at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Burial in Rosedale cemetery. Relatives and friends may meet her family at the funeral home on Wednesday from 6:00 – 8:00 PM and again on Thursday from 12:00 noon until the service begins at 1:00 pm. Contributions in her memory may be made to the Van Andel Institute for cancer research. To read more about Betty’s life, to sign her guest book and to leave your own memory of her, visit her web page at www.heritagelifestory.com