August 14, 1919 – July 9, 2017
Gladys Irene Bowers, 97, of southwest Missouri passed away on July 9, 2017. Gladys was born August 14, 1919, in Goodland, KS, to Clement A. and Elizabeth (Ricketts) Robbins. As a young woman, Gladys wanted to be a missionary. She attended Phillips University, Enid, OK, where she met Robert C. Bowers from Bartlesville, OK, who had the same dream. They married in 1944. Gladys graduated with a degree in Religious Education. She continued her education becoming an R.N. from University Hospital, Enid, OK and a certification in midwifery from the Frontier Nursing Service, KY. Gladys was ordained as a minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) on August 4, 1946, by the Christian Church in Goodland, Kansas.
Gladys and Robert (Bob), who was by then a medical doctor, were commissioned by the United Christian Missionary Society (UCMS), a predecessor body for what today is Global Ministries, in May of 1951 to serve in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In total, they served for 13 years. She and Dr. Bowers worked in both a medical and spiritual capacity. Gladys always enjoyed working with infants. During that time, Gladys also raised three children, taught women and children, assisted at the mission hospital, and played the piano for church services.
In 1964, the family settled in Oklahoma City where Gladys continued her work in the local and regional church. After Bob’s death in 1980, Gladys worked for the Jean Barnes Gift and Book Store in Oklahoma City, using her love of books. In 2000, she moved to the Oklahoma Christian Home (Bradford Village), Edmond, OK, and in 2016 to southwest Missouri, in order to be closer to her daughters.
Gladys was preceded in death by her husband, parents, three brothers, and a sister. She is survived by her children, Loretta K. Moss of Neosho, MO, Lawrence ‘Larry’ Bowers of Monmouth, IL, Martha J. Nimmo of Seneca, MO, and six grandchildren (Christina ‘Chrissy’, Robert C. ‘Robbie’, Chloe, Wesley, Timothy, and Jeremy). Her first great-grandchild was born August 26, 2017.
A memorial service was held on Saturday, August 12, 2017, at Seneca Christian Church, Seneca, MO. Condolences may be sent to Martha Nimmo, 332 Rhonda Road, Seneca, MO 64865. Memorial gifts may be made to the Disciples Retirement Community in Oklahoma (D.R.C.O.), c/o The Christian Church in Oklahoma, 301 N.W 36th Street, Oklahoma City, OK, 73118, or to Habitat for Humanity.