COMMERCE – Mary Frances Snelling Bowlan died Saturday, February 16, 2013.
She was born July 24, 1929, in Wilkes County, the youngest of seven children of Edwin David and Dora Brooks Snelling. Mrs. Bowlan was preceded in death by her husband, Thomas Guy Bowlan; sister, Minnie Lee Biddix; and brothers, Harold Eugene Snelling, Edwin Rudolph Snelling, and Thomas Jefferson Snelling.
After graduation from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, she resided in Washington, D.C., where she had an illustrious career of over 25 years with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). After her retirement and move to Commerce, she actively participated in Commerce’s civic and community affairs. She was a longstanding member of Commerce Presbyterian Church, where she served as an Elder, Clerk of Session, a member of the choir, and a member of Presbyterian Women. Among her many contributions to Commerce, Mrs. Bowlan was a pivotal force in the city’s purchase and restoration of the former Commerce Presbyterian Church and spearheaded its transformation as the current Commerce Cultural Center. She was a founding member of the Downtown Development Authority Board of Trustees, and she served on the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) panel for Jackson County. She was a member of the Study Club, the Pinetree Garden Club, Commerce Friends of the Library, and a volunteer for the local Meals on Wheels organization. Well known for her love of people, gardening, gourmet cooking, music, art, and books, her home was a frequent gathering spot for family and friends. She was a devoted wife, sister, aunt, and friend.
Survivors include sisters, Edna Snelling Thigpen, Doraville, and Annie Ruth Snelling, Commerce; and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family will receive visitors at Ivie Funeral Home from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday, February 22. A memorial service will be held at Commerce Presbyterian Church Saturday, February 23, at 2 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in her memory to the Commerce Presbyterian Church Building Fund, Commerce Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 177, Commerce, GA 30529.
Ivie Funeral Home, Commerce, is in charge of arrangements.