Vicki is the daughter of Eileen and the late Leonard Bowie. Eileen wrote the following for Vicki’s service, and gave me permission to share a shortened version:
Vicki seemed to see the world clearly from the beginning … demanding logic where I preferred a story. … One time at Sunday school the lesson had to do with Lot and his wife. ‘So,’ she said, ‘Lot didn’t turn around and his wife did. ... So, if Lot didn’t turn around, how did he know his wife was a pillar of salt?’ And that attitude continued throughout her life, always cutting straight to the chase.
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Vicki’s father, Len, was a pharmacist, they were very close and very alike in their mechanical abilities. We were remodeling a house for many years of the children’s childhood. A high school teacher challenged her, not believing that she knew a rafter from a joist or how to lay tile.
She graduated from University High School in Westwood, enrolled in Cal State Fullerton where she majored, unsurprisingly, in speech therapy. It was there she met Larry, a law school student, and who has been such a wonderful second son in our family. It has been a blessing to watch their rock-solid marriage, an example to Greg and Sarah of what a real marriage can and should be. Every since her diagnosis, many of Vicki’s postings on Facebook began with, ‘Larry is my hero … .’
We had a wonderful opportunity that not all adult mothers and daughters with jobs and a family are able to manage. When business got in the way of a planned trip to Morocco, Vicki was able to take my husband Howard’s place, and the two of us had 10 wonderful days together. One of the merchants in the bazaar offered me 500 camels for her — an apparent fortune.
In our talks about her illness, she told me she realized this: that while we go through life with the expectation that we will live out a ‘normal’ life span, and take for granted the common wisdom that we will grow old, those expectations were not reality — they are our fantasies. She pointed out that our lives could end tomorrow — an accident, an illness — and always the realist, that was what she had accepted.
When Vicki was working, she generally had a long commute, and when the phone rang at 5:30, I knew I would get a recap of her day. She would start out with ‘Do you want some humor in your day?’ and proceed to tell me of the follies of corporate life. Sometimes it was a request — a protest, but always in jest …
I never knew anyone to be as close to her husband and children as Vicki — the love has been so solid there was almost no space between them. I will miss those 5:30 phone calls more than I can say. … After she became ill, every talk, every sound of her voice was precious. Every ‘hello’ was a gem, and it has been a lesson to me that this is the way it should be with all of us, family and friends. Every second we have together is a gift.
Vicki will be remembered by us as one of the kindest, most optimistic, joyous people ever lent to us for the time she was here. She will be with me still as the most precious thing life has to offer: a daughter, someone I love so deeply I have never been able to try to express it without tears. … Vicki and her brother, Ian, have always been close. Ian has been a rock for me.
In two weeks I will be 86 years old, and it would seem that life still has lessons to teach me. The hardest lesson of all will be learning to live without her.