Sherin Rose Bowen, 71, Stevens Point, WI, passed into eternity late Friday, March 20, 2009 at St. Luke’s Hospital, Milwaukee, WI, following a head injury sustained in Managua, Nicaragua five days previous. Sherin was born February 28, 1938 in Medford, WI to Arthur and June (Peterson) Schneider. Following Arthur’s untimely death, June married Herman Lemke who adopted Sherin and her two younger brothers. She attended the one room Thielke School and graduated from Medford High School in 1956.
She married Robert Orville Bowen, Curtiss, WI, on December 29, 1956 in Medford and they resided in Madison until Robert’s graduation from UW-Madison in 1958. They moved on to the Milwaukee area where Bob taught at Granville-Brown Deer High School. In 1966, Sherin, Bob and their 3 young children moved to Stevens Point to became a part of the UW-Stevens Point community and active members of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church. For nearly two decades, Sherin devoted herself to raising four children, Bob Jr., Bryan, Elizabeth and Amy.
From 1969 to 1971, the family resided in Bloomington, IN, as Bob earned his doctoral degree and Sherin embarked on a craft-based teaching career to help support the family and which has remained her lifelong passion. In 1971, Sherin and family returned to Stevens Point where Bob assumed a professorship in Health Education at UWSP. In 1973, the family settled at what would become known as Rocky Ridge Farm on North Second Drive, enabling further expression of her passions for working with people and caring for animals.
At Rocky Ridge Farm she pursued her many creative interests including a picture framing business, 4-H leadership, raising sheep, spinning, weaving and knitting. After graduating from the charter group of the Wisconsin Rural Leadership Program, including travel to Jamaica and China, a new vision of international development became her focus. She helped Bob lead several Semester Abroad Student Programs at UWSP ranging from England to Europe to Australia, which further inspired her desire and talent for things international. She also led a Rotary leadership tour to Argentina.
These experiences led her to pursue a unique Bachelors Degree at UWSP in International Development with a Latin American concentration, which she received in 1991. She assumed the Executive Director position with Wisconsin Nicaragua Partners (WNP) in 1992, bringing her passion, fund-raising and volunteer involvement to the organization over the next 17 years. She has helped establish well over 100 Learning Centers in Nicaragua that have become the heart of development and humanitarian activities now seen as a flagship model in Latin America. In 2004, she received the UWSP Distinguished Alumni Award (only 89 awarded in 115 years). She retired in 2005 to pursue knitting and the development of the family retreat on Lake Esadore near Medford, WI, where so many family members, friends and guests have found open arms and priceless memories. Even though retired, she continued to play an active role in WNP assisting her daughter, Amy, who is the current Program Director. To the very end she gave so much of herself to others, to her family, friends and the people of Nicaragua, whom she loved so dearly.
She is survived by her husband Robert Sr., her children, Robert Jr., Bryan, Elizabeth (Smith) and Amy (Wiza), her mother June Lemke, her two brothers David and Russ Lemke, 12 grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles.
Friends of Sherin Rose Bowen may call on Friday, March 26 from 5:00-8:00 pm at the Visitation at Woodlands Church, 190 Hoover Ave., Plover, WI (just south of Stevens Point) . A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, March 27, 3:00 pm again at Woodlands Church, preceded by a visitation from 2-3pm.
A website is available at www.sherinbowen.com.