On August 31, 2019, a few hours after her 94th birthday, our dear Mother went to be with her Lord and Saviour. With her family all around her, she breathed her last breaths as we were singing, “It will be worth it all when we see Jesus”.
Phyllis was born to John and Rose Sercombe on August 30, 1925 in Portage la Prairie, MB, the fourth of six daughters. They were raised in a Christian home and, as a teenager, she “took the guilty sinner’s place and accepted the guilty sinner’s Saviour” (her words).
Phyllis graduated from grade nine, and helped her parents farm a half-section of land until the time she married our Dad, Michael Bowden at the age of 21. She and Dad raised nine children in the Gainsborough District and had nearly 40 years together before the Lord called him home in 1986. In 1980, their daughter-in-law, Maureen Bowden, and grandsons Darrell, Paul and Samuel also passed away.
Mom married Everett Leader in 1990, living in the Edwin district until a few years after his passing in 1999. She then moved to Dalton Grove Estates in Portage la Prairie, continuing to reside there after her marriage to George Lawford, who passed away in 2013. Phyllis was also predeceased by her son Allan in 1992, daughter-in-law Lynne Bowden in 1997, great-granddaughter Alysia Graham in 2014, and granddaughter Susan Robertson in 2017.
Phyllis’s parents were members of the Portage Gospel Hall, as was she and our Dad. Our parents raised us in the fear of God - a loving God who desires to save each one who will put their faith in His Son, Who died to save us from our sins. As her children, we grew up knowing that she had prayed for each one of us from before we were born and then, as we became parents, that she was faithfully praying for her grandchildren.
One of the things that come to mind in thinking of our beautiful Mother is the great many lessons she taught us – about homemaking, hard work, humor and more. Her loves? She found time to plant a flower garden each year, despite her days being full and then some with all the vegetable gardening and preserving she did. She used to say that if she got everything done that she planned to do in a day, then she didn’t plan enough.
Mom taught herself to play the piano by ear as a child of ten and enjoyed singing hymns with her family. She also took great joy in reading, a pursuit that especially gave her many hours of pleasure these last few years. Her keen memory was evident in her ability to recall poems that she had learned as a child, sharing them with us to her last days. She also loved needlework, spending many hours crocheting doilies, a skill that she used later to crochet thousands of baby sweaters and sew baby clothing to send to the mission field in Africa. She kept at this endeavor until her move to the Lions Prairie Manor a few years ago.
Another testament to her selflessness was caring for others as they neared the end of their lives, whether looking after aging relatives in her home, or sitting with others in their homes or in hospital. We will each carry different memories with us of our time with our Mom, Grandma, Great-Grandma, sister, aunt, and friend, as we each spent time with her in different times of her life and ours.
Left to cherish her memory are her children Ruth (Keith) Maxwell of Portage la Prairie, MB, Agnes Graham of Saskatoon, SK, Donald (Linda) Bowden of rural Portage la Prairie, Lawrence (Diane) Bowden of Ste. Agathe, MB , Marilyn (Doug) Dembiczak of Weyburn, SK, Yvonne (Dave) Patten of Straffordville, ON, Diane (Don) Robertson of Portage la Prairie, and Karen (Rob) Stuart of Lorette, MB, Allan’s widow Narisa Bowden, and numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Also surviving are sisters Norma (Aquila) Stamatyades of Toronto, ON and Muriel Beckett of St. Thomas, ON.
A funeral service is planned for Saturday, September 7th at 1:00 PM at River Road Gospel Hall, 350 River Rd., Portage la Prairie, MB, with viewing one hour preceding the service, and interment to follow at Hillside Cemetery.