Libby Perry Bowder

GORHAM – Libbie Ethelyn Perry Bowder passed away peacefully at home on the morning of June 2, 2020. She was born June 20, 1947 in Brewer to Joseph A. Perry Jr. and Pauline (Colliton) Perry.A 1965 graduate of Brewer High School, she earned her bachelor’s in music in 1969 and her master’s in music education in 1982 at the University of Southern Maine (USM). She was well on her way to earning her doctorate in library science at the University of Rhode Island when her mother became ill and Libbie returned to Maine to care for her. An accomplished musician, Libbie taught music in the local school districts of Bennington Vt., Vinalhaven, and North Haven, from 1969 to 1973. She was a lecturer in music history at USM for 15 years and after her semi-retirement in 2005, she volunteered with USM’s School of Music on various projects including cataloguing gifts of books and music, and working for the Summer Music Academy. Her students and colleagues at USM remember her as a passionate, inspiring, and effective educator who was devoted to the School of Music, reached out to newcomers, and who was a dear friend. In addition to her work at USM, Libbie was co-principal on bass clarinet with the Casco Bay Wind Symphony until illness forced her to retire in 2018. She leaves behind many close friends from her tenure there. Libbie was an avid bibliophile who read constantly. She collected young adult literature as well as mystery novels, and she was fond of reading her favorite books over again. She was also an excellent self-taught artist. Her favorite themes were scenes of her home and camp, wildlife, and musical gatherings at USM. Her family cherishes her drawings and watercolors. In 1983 Libbie married Jerry Bowder, originally of Portland, Oregon, and they settled into his home in Gorham. They were married for 21 years before Jerry’s passing in 2005. Libbie and Jerry enjoyed traveling the States together in their camper van each summer. They visited many of the national parks in the west, and Libbie would send letters to her nephew RJ containing maps and postcards of where they were traveling. Libbie and Jerry also enjoyed spending time on Park’s Pond in Clifton. There, Libbie created elf houses for her nephew and grandchildren. In the morning, the kids would often find that elves such as Maurice, his sweetheart Petunia, and her thuggish father Boss Otto had left them letters and little objects such as miniature rugs and shoes. Libbie spent many hours doing puzzles with the kids and taking them on trips around the pond in the rowboat, where she would point out the wildlife. In her younger days, Libbie would spend each summer between teaching gigs in a small cabin that she built herself on the property. She always wanted to be at camp in April to hear the bell-like music created when the ice went out, and in May to search for mayflowers. It was Libbie’s fondest wish that she would be able to spend time at her beloved camp this summer. Libbie is survived by her brother, Jay Perry, his wife Ruth (Williams) Perry, their son RJ Perry; her stepchildren Hans and Gretchen Bowder and their partners, Kristine Jenkins and Paul Jost; grandchildren, Gus and Georgia Bowder-Newton, Charlotte Bowder, and Chiara Jenkins; niece Judie Read and her husband Bob; aunts, Marion and Jeanette Perry; cousins, Richard Perry, Susan, Karen, and Chip Lougee, Ward and Leon Perry, Jim, Stephen, and Phillip Frederick, Martha Frederick Vicens, Maryon Frederick King, and all of their spouses, children, and grandchildren. A memorial service will be held later this summer, pandemic permitting. Donations via check made payable to the University of Southern Maine may be made in Libbie’s memory and sent to: USM – Donor ServicesPO Box 9300Portland, ME 04104-9300 Re: Jerry BowderScholarship Fund

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