Vernon Lee Bowlby, of Corvallis, Ore., passed on to be with the Lord on Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015, surrounded by his loving family in his home. He fought a long and courageous battle with LMS cancer. A celebration of life will be held at Suburban Christian Church in Corvallis on Saturday, Jan. 17 at 2 p.m.
Vernon was born on March 26, 1931, in Constantine, Mich., to Galen and Madge Bowlby. He was the third child and the only one to be born in Michigan. His family returned to Hood River, Ore., in 1932. He graduated from Hood River High School in 1949. He graduated second in his class from Armed Forces Leadership School while serving in the Army from 1950-53. His first assignment as a corporal was teaching weaponry mechanics, where he realized his deep love of teaching.
He married Ruth Ann Grady in Goldendale, Wash., on Sept. 2, 1956. They both attended Behnke-Walker Business College in Portland before moving to Eugene, where he graduated from the University of Oregon in 1960. He worked in Portland for three years for Touche, Ross, a national CPA firm, and passed the CPA exam in 1960.
Vernon and Ruth’s first daughter, Catherine, was born in 1959, followed by another daughter, Barbara, in 1962. The family moved to Corvallis that year, where he opened his CPA practice and also started a 10-year teaching career at Oregon State University. Vernon and Ruth’s son, Bruce, was born in 1964.
Vernon was passionate about bettering the lives of individuals through good tax planning, and he encouraged his employees to develop their careers. He authored a book on Christmas Tree Taxation in 1981 and traveled across the states giving conferences. He eventually sold his CPA practice to an employee and retired for seven years, but he began doing tax work again and continued to work into the last months of his life.
Vernon was an inspiration to many and always told his children and grandchildren, “The world is your oyster,” supporting and encouraging them to achieve their goals in educational and personal endeavors.
Vernon and Ruth loved to travel and visited all 50 states and over 40 countries. He was a member of Corvallis Country Club and loved playing golf and bridge. He was also a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary and served as an Elder at Calvin Presbyterian Church. Vernon was a Beaver fan and had season tickets to the OSU football games for over 50 years. He was a lifelong adventurer and accomplished his childhood goal of climbing both Mount Adams and Mount Hood. Vernon kept active into his 80s, golfing, hiking and skiing with his son and grandchildren. He accomplished his longtime goal of writing his autobiography, “A Miraculous Journey: The Life of Vernon L. Bowlby,” in October 2014 with the help of family and friends.
Vernon was a kind, generous, and loving man who lived a vibrant life filled with meaning. He touched so many lives and he will be greatly missed. He treasured his family and attended every possible event for his six grandchildren. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Ruth; brother Robert (Carol) Bowlby, of Cannon Beach; sister Lillian Magee, of Corvallis; daughter Catherine (David) Cudo, of Corvallis; granddaughter Jennifer (Christian) Green and great-grandson, Adam, of Bend; daughter Barbara (Steve) Wilson, of Idaho, granddaughter Kimberly Wilson, of New York, and grandson Andrew Wilson, of Sisters; son Bruce and granddaughters Elise, Angie, and Danielle Bowlby and their mother Edith Bowlby, all of Corvallis; and a large number of nieces and nephews and extended family.
He was preceded in death by his parents; older brother, Wayne; and younger sister, Nancy Worth.
Donations in his memory may be made to Benton Hospice Service, The Salvation Army, or Suburban Christian Church. Please leave your thoughts and memories for the family at mchenryfuneralhome.com.
Condolences are being received online.
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