Sara Ann Penington Bowles
Sara Ann Penington Bowles was born on January 23rd, 1938 in Richmond, Virginia and died peacefully on Saturday morning, April 10th, 2021 in Marietta, Georgia surrounded by her exceptional caregivers at Dayes Adult Care, led by the very talented and caring Registered Nurse, Marlene Graham. Sara is survived by her son, Stephen Carey Bowles, grandson, Ethan Connor Bowles, daughter in law Dana Adams Sills Bowles, daughter Tina Louise Bowles, her stepson Craig Bowles, his partner David, her lapdogs, Misty and Roxie, as well as the Burnett family which includes her sister, Mary Lou, husband Bill, their two children Leslie Burnett and Kenneth Burnett, and other extended members of the family. Her spirit transcends her passing and her memories will warm all hearts her life has touched for an eternity.
Sara was the daughter of Louise and Edward Penington of Mineral, Virginia and the older sister to Mary Lou Penington Burnett of Kansas City, Missouri, and late brother William Neale. Sara was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes as a pre-teen and given the expectation that she would not live past age 20; however, she was too determined to enjoy life and thrive to accept such a fate. Instead, she created an exceptional lifetime of giving, loving, mothering, and just being an all-around lovely lady. Once diagnosed, Sara and Mary Lou’s mother, Louise, switched their apple pie recipe from using sugar to using saccharine and, other than that, the family grew up without desserts.
As a teenager, around 1955 Sara won a beauty contest at the Dogwood Festival in Charlottesville, Virginia, an area known as Thomas Jefferson territory. Sweetly, dogwoods happen to be among her favorite flowering plants for their springtime beauty and Christian symbolism. Sara graduated from the Louisa County Highschool in Mineral, Virginia around 1956 or 1957. She then attended what’s now known as Virginia Commonwealth University or VCU. At the time of her study, it was known as the Richmond Professional Institute (RPI) of The College of William & Mary.
She went on to marry the love of her life, Stephen Martin Bowles, and then became the mother of Stephen Carey Bowles and Tina Louise Bowles. Sara loved to cook and had wonderful recipes. Mary Lou has several that she uses all the time, among them, a special bran raisin muffin recipe.
Sara truly loved her family. She and Steve would go on vacations and drop the children off at their grandparents to make sure they always had quality time together, and that the children always had time with the family. Sara particularly loved Christmastime. Her Christmas Village was outstanding. She always made everything exceptional, ensuring Tina and Carey had Christmases that were magical, even if their Dad, an anesthesiologist, could not be there because he was on call.
As her husband was a doctor, Sara enjoyed volunteering at Crawford Long as a Pink Lady to be near her husband, Steve. Here, she managed the thrift store in Crawford Long to help subsidize people who needed financial assistance. She also loved delivering magazines to people within the hospital to help them see a window to the outside world. This is where she met her best friend, Anne Patterson.
Sara also loved the Garden Club in Breckenridge and Ponderosa where she was an active member. She loved planting and growing things, just like her father, Edward.
Sara loved throwing a party, and every year, she would throw a Christmas party for everyone at Crawford Long. Our Mom loved entertaining. To sum it up, she simply loved everything.
Sara also loved to travel, and the family traveled quite a bit. She and Mary Lou went on one trip together where Steve had a medical convention in London. From there they flew to Scotland where Steve, Tina, and Mary Lou went and went on to Oban, Scotland just to enjoy each other’s company (the whiskey distillery tour was a plus). They took 20 hours to get anywhere because the roads were tiny and Tina was the designated driver. Thank goodness she was barely 21 or else she may have protested. Steven finds the only barn where they celebrate Celtic dancing. The food and entertainment was awesome.
The immediate family went to Pensacola frequently during the summers and included Mary Lou and her children as Bill tired of travel due to the extent he had to travel for his career in insurance. Once settled, Sara would call Mary Lou and ask her to bring the children and stay a week making it a family destination. Sara always brought the family together and always made sure that her children were connected with Sara’s siblings. Mary Lou and Uncle Bill were the pinnacles of Sara’s children’s lives. Tina would cry the day they left because Kenneth, Leslie, & Tina were all adopted and so very loved – they share a special connection. Sara always made family important. This extended to Steve’s family, Peggy and Mark Bowles included. Between Dad and Mom they always made it happen. Sara all week and Steve on weekends. It was the best week ever.
They went on an Alaskan cruise and it was supposed to be beautiful; however, Steve ended up getting the flu and wound up at the hospital in Alaska as a patient instead of a doctor. Sara and Steve traveled frequently. On one trip they went to Egypt and Istanbul. While in Egypt, they took a college history class where they learned all about the history of Egypt. After they studied the history, they visited the sites well-informed and with great appreciation.
Whenever Mary Lou and Sara traveled together Sara always had to find a hairdresser. She had a standing appointment with her friend Gigi and all of Gigi’s successors with whom she also became friends.
During and after Steve’s passing, her son Carey was her thoughtful and loving caretaker until she required twenty-four-hour support by a trained medical staff. Carey and Dana enjoyed spending quality time with Sara as often as possible at Dayes and caring for the family home and Sara’s beloved pets.
Her strength found her through to age 83 despite many health obstacles along the way. She believed she was the longest living Type 1 diabetic.
Services will be held in the Sanctuary of Oak Grove United Methodist Church at 1722 Oak Grove Road, Decatur, GA 30033 on April 29th, 2021 at 2 p.m. If you plan to attend in person, you will need to register in advance using the link below. All who attend will wear a mask covering their nose and mouth while on campus and will be asked to social distance. In addition, the church will do temperature checks.
Register for the service here:
You can also watch the service on our live stream at the link below. The service will stay up on this link for some days after the service is over.
Livestream the service here: https://youtu.be/UOB5kJOhBK4
Any gifts in Sara’s memory should be made to Oak Grove United Methodist Church https://ogumc.org/donate/ who supported her deeply during her time in assisted living and long-term hospice care or to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) https://www.jdrf.org/.
We are truly blessed to have been touched by a living angel known as Sara. She is, and will always be, Our Sunshine.
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