Jack and Carole Beth Bowlin nearing 63 years of marriage

A photo of Jack and Carole Beth Bowlin taken in the last few years.

A photo of Jack and Carole Beth Bowlin taken in the last few years.

As Valentine's Day rolls around in 2014, it has been almost 63 years since Jack and Carole Bowlin married with just a few family members in attendance.

It's been 67 years since the first date.

That first date was Dec. 21, 1946, when California High School senior Jack Bowlin took sophomore Carole Beth Andres to a basketball game in Tipton. Jack was on the basketball team. Carole was a cheerleader. He had taken notice of her sometime earlier.

In the interim between that first date and the eventual marriage, while also pursuing additional schooling towards a career, Jack said he continued to pursue Carole Beth . "I wasn't the only one," he said.

He earned an associates degree from Jefferson City Junior College, graduating just as Carole graduated from high school.

He started a nine-month course in embalming school in Kansas City, Kan. in June 1949. Carole Beth in the meantime moved to Kansas City to live with her sister and brother-in-law and work at the mail order department of Helzbergs.

He finished embalming school, passed the State Board Exam and became an apprentice embalmer, working under his father Earl Bowlin. Carole Beth had returned to the family home on East South Street in California and was working locally.

They had been seeing each other for almost five years when Jack, being deemed the right age to serve the country in the "Korean Conflict," received a draft notice in February 1951.

Upon receipt of the draft notice, they decided to get married, exchanging marriage vows on Feb. 25, 1951.

Jack went off to the U.S. Army in March. When he received his orders, they both moved to Ft. Sheridan, north of Chicago, Ill.

Jack was discharged in March, 1953, and they returned to California, finished the apprenticeship at the family business, Bowlin Funeral Home, and received his embalmer's license. He has now completed more than 60 years as a licensed embalmer and funeral director.

After the three children were in school, Carole Beth worked for attorney Alfred Gates, then at Moniteau National Bank. She also was part-time secretary for the California United Church of Christ for 22 years.

The three married children are Thomas Howard Bowlin and Clara Lou; Lou Ann Howard and Wayne; and Nan Ellen Dunham and Ron. They have eight grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren with more on the way.

During the early years, while they were bringing up their children, they lived at the corner of Howard and Hodge streets. They moved in 1972 into the apartment at the funeral home, following the retirement of his parents, Earl and Clara. They had lived in the funeral home for 27 years.

The funeral home had purchased the Andres farm southeast of the city. They built a home, much of which was designed by Jack, and moved into it in 1982.

As Valentine's Day rolls around, the couple still live in the home they built 32 years ago on the farm which had been in her family for years before.

Among the items displayed in their home is a heart shaped vase. It was given to her with roses in it by Jack on their first anniversary.

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