Obit: Bowen, Lester J. (1916 - 2007)
----Source: The Herald Tribune, Volume 47, No. 27, Wednesday July 4, 2007, p 1, By Karyn Eckert
Lester J. Bowen (1916 - 2007)
Contributed by Robert Lipprandt.
Lester J. Bowen
Les Bowen Passes On
If you have ever attended a snowmobile race, Curtiss Days, a memorial Day ceremony or any other event in the village of Curtiss, chances are you met Les Bowen.
The Curtiss patriarch died Saturday at the age of 91.
Bowen moved to Curtiss with his family in 1919. They arrived at their farm just Northwest of the village in a Model T Touring car and the furniture was moved by horse-drawn wagon.
His father, Harlow, cut wood and sold it to feed his family. In 1923 Harlow started a milk route with horses, then later a truck.
In 1930 Les joined the family business and started to haul milk for his father. In 1935 he purchases the route and a 1931 Ford truck for $75.00 and went into business himself.
In 1939 Bowen purchased an 80 acre farm for 21 cows which were milked by hand. By 1942 his milk hauling business expanded, so he sold the farm and moved his family to Curtiss.
In 1949 Bowen married his wife, Hilda, who preceded him in death in November 2006.
The trucking business grew from just milk to logging, gravel and cattle. In 1951 Les began hauling paper products for Lewis Container Co., Colby, now Packaging Corporation of America.
In 1954 and 1955, the trailers were sold and he purchased the feed mill in Curtiss which he operated for 17 years.
In 1961 Bowen took the dealership for Dari-Kool bulk tanks and in 1964 he purchased the Curtiss hardware store. That same year he also began selling Bou-Matic milkers and Ski-Doo snowmobiles.
Bowen was at one time the largest dealer of dairy equipment in the state and second largest in the Midwest. In the 1962 Curtiss Centennial history book, Bowen reported his business serviced more that 200 pipelines, 22 parlors, 700 bulk tanks and bucket users. The business has 18 employees and eight trucks.
Bowen was also very active in supporting snowmobiling. He was president for 10 years of the Boom-Town Snow-Chasers and helped found the annual snowmobile races in Curtiss. Bowen was a director for the Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs for five years. He was a lifetime member of the International Snowmobiling Hall of Fame and received a special award at the World Championship Snowmobile Derby in Eagle River in 2006.
Snowmobile racing enthusiasts have already made special plans to honor Bowen. Starting in January 2008, the Governor of Snowmobiling Less Bowen Trophy will be presented to the Grand Championship race winner.
Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Friday, July 6th, 2007 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Curtiss. Burial will be in the Pine Hill Cemetery, Curtiss.
Visitation will be 2-8 p.m. Thursday, July 5th at Maurina Funeral Home, Abbotsford, and Friday from 9:30 a.m. until time of services at the church.
A full obituary can be found on page 8 of this issue.
Obit: Bowen, Lester J. #2 (1916 - 2007)
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