Martha Olive Myatt Bowlus, a retired chartered life underwriter and chartered financial consultant, passed away peacefully at St. James Place on Saturday, Dec. 20, 2008. She was born on Sept. 11, 1920, in Monroe, where she had many fond childhood memories growing up with wonderful cousins and friends while attending Barkdull Faulk Elementary, Neville High School and Northeast Louisiana University. Affectionately known to all as "Monkey," she moved to Baton Rouge with her family in 1940 to attend LSU, where she majored in music and was a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority. At LSU, a favorite cousin, A.B. Myatt, of Monroe, introduced her to Bob Bowlus, of Brookhaven, Miss., whom she married on June 24, 1943, at St. Alban's Episcopal Church on the LSU campus. Later that day, Monkey and Bob left on a train for Washington D.C., where they would work on Capitol Hill; Monkey for several Louisiana congressmen and Bob for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They both cherished their time in Washington during World War II and living in their first apartment in Colonial Village in Arlington, Va. After the war, they returned to Baton Rouge, where Bob entered the insurance business and both became active in the community. Monkey served on many community boards, including Volunteers of America, Family Counseling Service, Trinity Episcopal Day School, Junior League of Baton Rouge and Chartered Life Underwriter Board of Directors. Her proudest volunteer accomplishment was serving as co-chairman in 1959 with Mary Frances MacCurdy when "River Road Recipes" was first published. Monkey was a born salesman and was in charge of sales and promotion of "River Road Recipes," securing many local and national accounts across the country. As she traveled with Bob to his numerous insurance conventions, she always "packed" her cookbook to make calls on potential accounts. When children arrived, Monkey became very active in her children's activities and schools, serving as a scout leader and room mother for many years. Monkey loved people and had a beautiful smile for everyone she met. She was the type of person who never met a stranger and was always willing to help, especially the underdog. She and Bob were members of a supper club for more than 40 years and they both cherished those lifelong friendships (many from LSU days) with Marilyn and Gary Anderson, Polly and Fred Blanche, Hazel and J. Burton LeBlanc, Weesie and Charlie Prosser, Nina and Tom Pugh, Pigeon and Charest Thibaut, and Pat and Ben Thompson. She also was a dog lover, having raised wire-haired terriers, golden retrievers, a mixed Catahoula named Spotz and a special black lab named Belle of Baton Rouge. As the children grew, Monkey decided to work with Bob in the insurance business and earned her CLU and ChFC designations. The year that she obtained her final certification, it was noted that she and Bob were one of only seven couples in the country who had both received these prestigious degrees. Another accomplishment of which she was extremely proud was being trained as a dialysis nurse when her husband experienced kidney failure. Many thanks go to Suez Wilson R.N., for her professional expertise, care and compassion in training Monkey so Bob would be able to have his dialysis treatments at home. Monkey was also a cancer survivor in remission for 18 years. Because of Dr. David S. Hanson's care and love of Patient 0044434, he made it possible for her to enjoy those years with her family and friends. She was of the Episcopal faith and a member of Trinity Episcopal Church. Monkey was a charter member of Questors Book Club, Colonial Club and Volunteers of America Auxiliary. She and Bob enjoyed their many years of membership at the Baton Rouge Country Club and City Club of Baton Rouge. They also loved their time away from home traveling the United States with their children in their Airstream trailer and in New Orleans, especially celebrating Mardi Gras with family and friends. Monkey was predeceased by her parents, Joseph Morton Myatt and Ruth Prichard Myatt; loving husband of 49 years, Robert E. Bowlus; and adored son, William Morton Bowlus, who died of an aortic aneurysm in 1987. She is survived by her caring daughter, Ann Myatt Bowlus Storey; son-in-law, Stephen Gerard Storey; and beloved grandchildren, Susan Myatt Storey and William Morton Storey. She is also survived by a dear family friend, Patsy Ruth Banks. As she requested, a private family graveside service conducted by the Rev. Ralph Howe was held on Tuesday, Dec. 23, at Greenoaks Memorial Park. Honorary pallbearers were David S. Hanson, M.D., Robert V. Blanche, M.D., Robert Wood, M.D., Iveson Noland, William S. Nadler Jr., Ford Thomas and Marc Goldstein. Special heart-felt thanks go to the caring and loving staff of Baton Rouge General Family Health Center, St. James Place Highland Court, especially Lakesha Dunn, who was with Monkey when she passed away, and Hospice of Baton Rouge. The family requests that memorials in her name be sent to Hospice of Baton Rouge, 9063 Siegen Lane, Baton Rouge, LA. 70810, Friends of the LSU Library, c/o Middleton Library, LSU, Baton Rouge, LA 70803; Trinity Episcopal Church, 3552 Morning Glory Ave., Baton Rouge, LA 70808; Baton Rouge Area Foundation, attn: Robert E. and Martha M. Bowlus Family Fund in Memory of William M. Bowlus, 402 N. 4th St., Baton Rouge, LA 70802; or a favorite charity.
Published in The Advocate from Dec. 26 to Dec. 28, 2008.