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Wendell Bowden
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Birth: 1941
Death: 1948

Fate Cheats Young Hero; Saves Girl; Boy, 7, Drowns

(by Richard F. Moffat)

Wendell Bowden, 7, would have entered the second grade at Garfield school in September.

His new clothes, purchased for the coming school year, lie neatly folded at his home, at 107 N. Pine-st, never to be used by him.

In a few tragic seconds at Schoonover lake Thursday afternoon, the tow-headed lad drowned and a playmate narrowly escaped drowning.

What actually occurred probably no mortal soul knows.

His playmate, Elizabeth Burkholder, 9, who lives just around the corner at 507 E. Market-st, was pulled from the waters after her vain attempts to save her playmate.

Elizabeth owes her life to Bill Kennedy, 14, of 212 Stanton-av, who heard the pair's cries for help and swam to their aid, pushing Elizabeth onto the boat landing bank at the lake and diving in to pull the Bowden boy to the surface.

The lad already had sunk to the bottom of the lake, in water about seven feet deep. The Kennedy boy dove three times before he could locate him.

Lifeguards from nearby Schoonover pool and firemen worked over him for nearly an hour. Dr. A. A. Dalton then arrived and administered a heart stimulant, but all attempts to revive the lad failed. Allen-co Coroner Harry E. Lewis, after questioning those who were in the vicinity and the youth's playmate, attributed the death to accidental drowning.

The Burkholder girl, a wisp of a child with but two swimming lessons, said she had tried to pull the boy toward shore but that he got his arms locked around her, pulling her under.

She had fallen in first, she said, then the boy fell in.

Four girls on the lake island, about 30 yards away, reported they heard the screams of the two in the water and they immediately set up a cry for help. No one else was on the boat landing peninsula at the time, they told Coroner Lewis.

The Kennedy boy said he was on the island when he heard their cries. He tore off his shirt and shoes and dove in toward the struggling children. Covering the 30 yards, he was able to push the Burkholder girl onto the landing where others pulled her back from the edge. The Kennedy lad then made three dives for the Bowden child before bringing him to the surface.

The lifeguards, Ed Kane, Ada; Tom Cowles, 223 Nye-st, and Robert Rochelle, Rosedale-av, were summoned immediately from the pool and were giving artificial respiration to the child when firemen arrived.

The resuscitation attempts were kept up for nearly an hour as Firemen Jay Moffett, Leroy Jackson, Eugene O'Neill and F. L. Mathers attempted to revive the spark of life.

Mrs. Forrest Bowden, mother of the child, arrived shortly after Dr. Dalton had administered the heart stimulant. Nearby stood an empty wagon, her boy's. His raincoat was draped over the back.

The girls on the island, Shirley Gause, 13, of 1210 N. McCullough-st, Patty, 14, and Delores Place, 12, of 1020 Grant-st, and Barbara Terflinger, 12, of 1212 N. McCullough-st, said they had not noticed the pair before they heard their screams and saw them struggling in the water.

After the Burkholder girl had been pulled from the water, she was taken to the Schoonover pool office, where attendants took care of her. She was removed home suffering from the effects of shock and emotional strain.

First identity of the child was known when his older brother, Eddie, 11, fishing nearby, came over to the boat landing, attracted by the crowd gathering. Learning that two children had "fallen in", he spotted the wagon and raincoat. "Those look like Wendell's," he said.

Firemen asked him if the child on whom they were working was Wendell.

"I think it is," he said, hesitatingly. "Yes, it is."

His younger brother had not come over with him, he explained.

"Is there a chance?" he asked.

Firemen and lifeguards continued their work without answering.

In the absence of any eyewitnesses and judging from the statements of those who heard the pair's screams, Coroner Lewis said the boy evidently had lost his balance as the two stood at the water's edge. He could have bumped the girl in his attempt to keep from falling in, knocking her into the water, then fell himself when he was unable to keep his balance, he surmised.

In addition to his father, who works at the Lima-Hamilton Corp. as a machinist, and his mother, the child is survived by another brother, William, a Navy veteran of World War II.

He also has a grandfather, William Bowden, of Chicago.

The body was removed to the Lewis funeral home where services will be conducted at 10:30 a.m. Saturday by Rev. Robert Turner. Burial will be in Memorial Park cemetery.

Pallbearers will include Riley Kirk, David and Thomas Burkholder, John Kelley, Stanley Hawkins, Ronald Cook and Richard Doner.

(published in The Lima News, Friday, August 13, 1948, page 1)

Family links: 
  Forest D Bowden (1907 - 1973)
  Malinda Wooten Bowden (1908 - 1989)
Memorial Park Cemetery and Mausoleum
Allen County
Ohio, USA
Created by: corgilover
Record added: Sep 04, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 58161285
Wendell Bowden
Added by: corgilover
Wendell Bowden
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Added by: LKlaer
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