Bernice Lydia Bowgren

By on November 4, 2009

Bernice Lydia Bowgren, 95, of Geneva, passed away Monday, Oct. 26, 2009, at Rosewood Care Center, St. Charles.

She was born March 30, 1914, on the Weisel farm on Peck Road west of Geneva, the daughter of Ben and Alma Sarah Elizabeth (Magnusson) Anderson. When she was six years old, the family moved to the Lawrence Olson farm on Francis Road. She attended a one-room school house where eight grades shared one room.

She graduated Valedictorian from Elburn High School with the class of 1932. Bernice went on to Aurora Metropolitan Business College and then began working for the Kane County Bank and Trust Company. 

She was united in marriage on Nov. 15, 1941, to Gordon Allan Bowgren at the Geneva Lutheran Church, where she was baptized and confirmed as a child. They began their new life together on the corner of 5th and State streets in Geneva. Gordon was drafted into the United States Navy at the end of 1943. On his return to civilian life on Oct. 1, 1945, he was greeted by his wife and his eldest son, Keith, now one year old, as he was born while Gordon had been overseas.

They continued to live at Fifth and State until 1947, when they built a new home on Oakwood Drive on Geneva’s east side.   Gordon had five brothers who helped him build the home. Bernice stopped working as soon as Keith was born, and later worked for Chronicle Publishing, now the Kane County Chronicle, until she was 70.

Bernice had a kind and gentle spirit, was unfailingly loyal and always cared for others before herself. The waters of her faith ran deep and strong, a lifelong trait born out of her upbringing. Family was of the utmost importance to Bernice. She enjoyed being at home and was a good cook. She was famous for her rice pudding, whipped cheese cake in various flavors, Swedish meatballs and fried chicken. Although the cooking kept her busy in the kitchen, her favorite place to be was outside, tending to the garden and mowing the lawn, even into her laten 80s.

She was a faithful lifetime member of Geneva Lutheran Church.

She is survived by her three children, Keith G. (Rita) Bowgren of St. Charles, Dale A. (Nancy) Bowgren of Watertown, Wis., Beverly A. (Michael) Fitzpatrick of Aurora; six grandchildren, Rebecca (Craig) Martin and their children, Nathan and Luke of Palmeto Bay, Fla., Matthew (Laura) Bowgren and their daughter Abigail, of Champaign, Ill., Debra (Paul) Degner and their children, Megan, Kadie, Kylie and Jaden of Elkhorn, Wis., Brent (Pamela) Bowgren and their daughter, Emily of Waukesha, Wis., Gregory Fitzpatrick of Aurora, Karen (Russ) Carter of Nashville, Tenn.; three sisters-in-law, Jewel (the late Clifton Bowgren) of Geneva, Nina (the late Stanley Bowgren) of Wasco, and Gladys (the late John Olson), of Batavia; many nieces and nephews and a family of friends.

In addition to her parents, she is preceded in death by her husband, Gordon; three brothers, Leonard (Joan) Anderson, Gunnar (Amy) Anderson and Harold (Gladys) Anderson; and twin sisters who died in infancy, Rose and Lillie.

Visitation was from 10 to 11:30 a.m. with a funeral to celebrate her life following at noon on Oct. 31, 2009, at Geneva Lutheran Church. The Rev. Doug Opp, pastor of the church, officiated, and interment followed at Garfield Cemetery, St. Charles.

A memorial will be established in Bernice’s name to benefit Geneva Lutheran Church,  and Moody Radio. Memorials checks may be made to the Bernice Bowgren Memorial and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL 60119. Tributes and memories may also be forwarded to the family at the same address or through this obituary at