Irma Bowman, 90, MCC volunteer, taught third grade at Akron Elementary, mother of two

By on March 27, 2019

Irma Bowman, 90, of Lititz, passed away on March 13, 2019 at Landis Homes.

She was born March 7, 1929 in Sterling, Ill., to the late Lester and Mamie (Zimmerman) Ebersole and was the wife of the late Ivan Earl Bowman, who passed away in 2011.

Irma grew up on a farm and rode her pony to a one-room school. She was very active in her MYF and participated on the state committee. In 1950 she graduated from Goshen College. During the summers, she worked for church service units in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and downstate Illinois.

After graduation, she began her career as a teacher before answering a call from Mennonite Central Committee to serve two years at a home for refugee children in Bad Durkheim, Germany. While there she met Earl Bowman, a member of a PAX service unit. He captured her heart when he carried her heavy suitcase during a group tour of Palestine. They married in 1955, had a son, David, in 1956, and a daughter, Mary Beth, in 1960.

Irma and Earl built a home in Akron, where they became founding members of Akron Mennonite Church. Irma continued her teaching in the third grade at Akron Elementary School while MCC trainees from Europe assisted in their home. She led Bible studies and hosted many couples in a marriage enrichment program. She enjoyed hosting family holiday dinners and traveling with family to Ireland, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Canada. She retired from teaching after 31 years and moved to Landis Homes after Earl’s death.

Irma is survived by a son: David, husband of Karen (Lapp) Bowman; a granddaughter: Erin Bowman; and a grandson: Matthew Bowman.

In addition to her husband and parents, she was preceded in death by her daughter: Mary Beth (David) Moser; and two brothers: Richard and Myron Ebersole.

A visitation will be held on Friday, April 5 from 6 to 8 p.m. and on Saturday, April 6 at 2:30 p.m. at Akron Mennonite Church, 1311 Diamond St., Akron. A memorial service will begin at 4 p.m. with Rachel Nolt officiating. A private interment will follow at Akron Mennonite cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be designated for Mennonite Disaster Service ( or Landis Homes Caring Fund ( .

Arrangements have been entrusted to Stradling Funeral Homes, Akron. Memories and condolences may be shared at

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