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 • Allen County
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Martin Bates "Sockey" Bowersock
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Birth: Oct. 20, 1911
Allen County
Ohio, USA
Death: May 29, 1970
Allen County
Ohio, USA

Martin Bowersock liked his grandfather, Timothy Bates Bowersock, and spent as much time as possible with him when he was growing up. Sometimes he drove his grandfather's trotting horses at the fairs for him. Martin never played cards nor gambled, and I have surmised he was cautioned against this by his grandfather Timothy who at one time lost his entire farm in a poker game forcing him to rebuild.

Martin was an industrious man and worked diligently to support his family. Martin worked "shift work" for the Lima refinery. As I recall, this meant he worked days one week, evenings the next week, and nights the following week, but this seems insane so perhaps they were allowed to work the same shift for a month rather than just a week. I am not certain how anyone can adapt to this regimen, but Martin seemed to take it in stride. Despite the irregular hours, he was a pioneer in the neon tube bending business and opened a sign shop that he called "Sockey's Sign Service". He ran this business while working full time for the refinery. Although most of his work was sign making, I particularly remember a red candle with gold flame and green candle holder that he created one Christmas season. I refer to this as his "Brubaker" gene being put to good use. Although Martin was totally unaware of it, his 4th great grandfather Hans Jacob Brubaker was a well known fraktur artist. When we were young, we called fraktur art "Pennsylvania Dutch Art," but it all seems to call upon the same talents.

In about 1951, Grace and Martin started a small business they called "G & M Supplies." Martin's major recreation at the time was coon hunting, and T-shirts with pictures and words were becoming popular at the time, so they contracted with someone to print a picture of a dog chasing a coon with the words "My Dad is a Coon Hunter" under the picture then sold these T-shirts through a hunter's magazine.

Martin moved his family about 1954 to Spencerville Road, buying a few acres with a barn that was next to property his grandfather had owned where his Aunt Nora still lived. It was about this time that he sold his hunting dogs and focused on harness horses. Probably because he had no way of exercising his harness horses at home, he kept them at the fairgrounds. He went to the fairgrounds every day to attend exercise them and to their needs.

Martin and Grace started a tradition early in their marriage that Santa brought the Christmas tree to the house, with other presents. I am not certain what prompted this tradition but I recall one Christmas when it was financially practical. In about 1956, Martin came home on Christmas Eve with two tall, but very spindly trees. He was proud of himself because he had paid only 25 cents for each tree. Although Grace was skeptical, Martin already had his plan, and promptly went to work wiring the two trees together that fit comfortably in the tree stand. Together they did indeed make a very good looking tree, and by the time it was decorated, you would not have guessed it was actually two trees.

In about 1959, Grace and Martin purchased a neighborhood inn in Kenton, Ohio that Grace managed personally. Martin was still worked full time at the Lima Refinery. He had risen to the position of Supervisor, but still worked the shift cycle. The refinery started out in 1886 as the Solar refinery. At various times since then it has been the Standard Oil Refinery, Sohio Refinery, BP Refinery and is now Husky Refinery. I may have missed a couple of changes.

He took me with him on many long drives through the countryside the last few years of his life. We usually had no particular destination and he would ask me to watch for "a bird sitting on the fence" near an intersection because we needed to turn there. Since there was no destination, this worked for us. Either he knew all the roads well (I am certain he did) or he possessed some type of internal GPS because we never seemed to be lost. He pointed out different fields, telling me what the farmer was growing, so that I became somewhat adept at differentiating a field of rye from a field of wheat at a glance. Sometimes if a soybean field had a fair amount of corn also growing in it, I would tell him the farmer was growing succotash.

Although Martin enjoyed being around the water, by his own admission he did not possess the patience to fish. The sports of choice for Martin were hunting and harness racing. It was a special treat for him when he could take his family with him to watch the dirt track stock car races at the Allentown Speedway.

When Martin inherited some property from his father, the land was divided into five lots for the children. Martin selected the land with a small pond on it, as it was always a dream of his to own property on the water. He never owned land in his own name, and even this piece of land, he put in Grace's name. I suspect his grandfather's loss of his entire farm in a card game played a role in this decision.

Martin hated wearing a suit, and was routinely seen in a white T-shirt and shop pants. He enjoyed socializing and teasing people. As a young man he had red hair and grey eyes. He was five foot ten inches tall and average build when he was young. His red hair turned white when he was about 40 and he developed the Bowersock hairline. I define this as a receding hair line with a bald spot in the middle of the back. I realize many men with other surnames also have this hair pattern, but it is definitely part of the Bowersock gene also. Over the years I have heard him called, Red, Socks, Sockey, and Marty in addition to Martin. Martin was a fun-loving and hard-working man. 
Family links: 
  Oscar Bates Bowersock (1887 - 1957)
  Mary Frances O'Neill Bowersock (1891 - 1941)
  Grace Edna Rogers Bowersock (1913 - 2004)
  Diane Bowersock Farley (1937 - 1986)*
  Mary Margaret Bowersock Keel (1910 - 1958)*
  Martin Bates Bowersock (1911 - 1970)
  Richard Lee Bowersock (1913 - 1967)*
  Lois Ruth Bowersock Bowler (1917 - 1956)*
  Nora June Bowersock Ayres (1919 - 1997)*
*Calculated relationship
Gethsemani Cemetery
Allen County
Ohio, USA
Plot: Section: G Plot: 385 Grave: 3
Maintained by: Susan Roach
Originally Created by: corgilover
Record added: Dec 08, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 81701704
Martin Bates Sockey Bowersock
Added by: Susan Roach
Martin Bates Sockey Bowersock
Added by: Susan Roach
Martin Bates Sockey Bowersock
Added by: Susan Roach
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