Amherst Magazine

Fredson T. Bowers '51

 

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Fredson T. Bowers '51 died February 18, 2010.
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Fred passed away at his home at the age of 82 on Feb. 18, 2010, after a long battle with post-polio syndrome. Fred contracted polio in December 1953, was confined to an iron lung for a time, but then confounded his doctors by walking out of the hospital early in 1955, apparently free of many of the disabling aspects of his illness.

He became an insurance underwriter for INA in Boston, married his wife, Barbara, in 1956, whom he had met while hospitalized and with her raised a family of five daughters and a son (now augmented by eleven grandchildren) at their home in Newton, Mass. Unfortunately, in 1983 Fred experienced a recurrence of some of the signs of polio, now recognized as post-polio syndrome. He took early retirement that year but continued to lead his life with quiet determination, refusing to be defined by his medical condition. He was active in church affairs as a lector, CCD teacher and minister of communion, and he volunteered at Elizabeth Seton Sisters of Charity for 18 years. As treasurer on the board of The Stone Institute in Newton Upper Falls, he was instrumental in the development of the McLellan Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center. For many years, he was secretary of the Greater Boston Post-Polio Association. He thrived on writing and editing historical pieces for his church and local community.

We recall Fred as being quiet, thoughtful and concerned. He admitted that he never sought fame or position but found pleasure in doing well the job at hand and satisfaction as a solid family man. Polio presented a life entirely different than Fred once anticipated, but a life in which he still found great pleasure and comfort, with no regrets.

—Ev Clark ’51 

 

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