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Hugh Mathie Bowie

Birth
Scotland
Death 20 Mar 1996 (aged 92–93)
Carman, Pembina Valley Census Division, Manitoba, Canada
Burial Carman, Pembina Valley Census Division, Manitoba, Canada
Memorial ID 100111556 · View Source
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Hugh Bowie was born in Scotland in 1903 to Hugh and Annie Bowie. Hugh senior immigrated to Canada in 1904 and was followed by the rest of the family in 1905. In 1906 they were living in Souris, Manitoba and according to the 1916 census, they lived at #12 Minto Street in Carman.

Hugh senior was a baker who owned a bakery in Carman until 1916 when he sold out to Jim Christie.*1 Hugh and brother, Doug, apprenticed with and worked for Mr. Christie all their lives, except when Doug was in the navy during WW2. In 1947 they bought the business from Mr. Christie, doing all the baking while their sister, Jean, sold the goods in the front of the shop. Later Violet (Vi) took Jean's place when she married and moved into Winnipeg.

Sometimes they could be talked into making their special cookies with a raspberry filling and icing and a cherry on top. Young children always received a cookie from one of the Bowies.

They were up at 2:30 a. m. going to work, carrying wood to heat up the huge brick oven. During some of those early hours, Hugh said he would see lights hovering over the CBC towers. Many reported seeing what was thought to
be U. F. O. lights.

After baking as many as 2000 loaves, *1 they made buns and cookies. The remainder of the day was spent making deliveries and running the store.

Hugh's earliest deliveries were with a wagon or sleigh pulled by Barney, a gentle white horse that knew every stop on his route. When Gert's niece was in Carman for holidays it was her job to "drive" the route in the north end of town, starting at grandma's house for 5 cents per week. Barnie's stable was in the backyard of the Bowie's home where Jean, Vi, Doug and their mother, Mrs. Bowie, lived.

There was one other horse after Barney was retired and given a home on the Grundy's farm. While supposedly stopped at the Rex Cafe to deliver bread, the horse started down the sidewalk, wrecking the wagon until only the shafts were left. *1 Later a van was used for delivery.

On Saturday night some of the family members stayed until 11 or 12 at night waiting for people to pick up their bread after the show or shopping as it was the night the farm families came to town to meet friends, go about their business, take in entertainment and fill the restaurants.

The bake shop was seldom closed; the exception was when the Boyne River at the back of the shop flooded forcing closure and when the brick oven was replaced by a modern electrical oven.

Hugh was interested in sports, playing hockey or baseball with friends. Baseball games were often out at the Bryson farm in the summer. He and others would also go out to farm fields, leaving their cars running to attract curious gophers so they were easier to shoot’ they would collect 5 cents/tail.

One of Hugh's pleasures was having a nice car that was kept polished and clean. No one was allowed to get the car dirty, so it was surprising when the Rance Boyd family left Carman, gave their dog, Curlie, to Gert and Hugh and Curlie was allowed to rest on the back seat, on a blanket, but one still found dog hair on the seat.
Knowing Curlie wasn't a favorite of mine, Hugh cut a curl off and mailed it as a souvenir to niece, Shirley.

Hugh was always kind to children. Hugh and Gert, along with Ross and Blanche Johnston, would take all the kids to Delta and many a beautiful Sunday was spent together with the whole family.

Nephew Bob Johnston's favorite memory of Hugh occurred when Bobby was about 10 or 11 years old. His parents bought 11 baby chicks while dad, Ross, built a hen house on the south side of their garage. It was Bobby's job to feed, water and care for them. They grew quickly grew into 10 hens and 1 rooster.

The next summer Hugh wanted Bobby to enter the rooster in the Carman fair so he went over to bath the rooster, getting it ready for showing. They took the rooster to the fair grounds and entered it. Everyone laughed at them entering only one rooster while others had dozens of chickens. Bobby's rooster won the grand champion poultry prize of the fair that year.

Bob and wife, Yvonne, moved to Ontario, but every time they returned to Carman, Hugh repeated the story to whomever was around.

Hugh told another story about one of his competitors at the fair wanting to know why Hugh's poultry always took the prize and looked so good. Relating the story, Hugh said wife, Gert, gave him some powder that was used on lady's hair so it made his chickens' feathers very white and clean. Perhaps he had done the same to Bobby's rooster.

His kindness to children was always in evidence, whether with nieces and nephews or grand nephews. When he took three grand nephews to the fairgrounds so they could run around, Tim lost a shoe. Hugh drove back and forth over the field and was ready to have the shoe store owner open on Sunday to buy new ones, when the missing shoe was spotted. Another time when Tim visited Gert and Hugh with his grandmother, Dorothy, Tim's after supper treat was a hamburger and milkshake.

Everyone liked Hugh and one of his younger grand nephews, Brent, when returning to Calgary, was so upset to be leaving, he sat quietly in the front seat of the car, wiping away the tears while deciding he was going to change his name to Hugh Bowie.

Many would make a special visit just to see him when in town or make a special trip to make sure he was okay, especially after Gert passed away. Other young people would bake bread, bring it to Hugh and ask if that loaf was well done and the answer was always yes whether he thought it good or not.

He became so used to stopping and starting while delivering bread, that when in the city, he thought nothing of getting out of the car, leaving it in the road while he went off to look at something of interest. When stopped by a policeman in Winnipeg who asked where he was from and hearing Carman, Hugh was told to get the hell back there then.

After they retired, Hugh and Doug would go out to eat every night. As honest as they were, when reminded they should use their seat belts, Doug carried on driving downtown without using his belt. Another time, after visiting brother Bill in Gladstone, Hugh noticed the Mounties had pulled over several cars as he was passing by on the way home. When the Mountie waved at him, Hugh waved back, thinking he was a nice, friendly young man.

The next day, someone stopped him on the street, saying "You, bug---, why didn't you stop and get a ticket for not having your seat belt like the rest of us?" Hugh hadn't realized he was being asked to pull over.

He missed Gert after she passed away and relatives kept an eye on him, visiting often to make sure he had whatever he needed, especially after the last of his siblings, Doug, passed away.

Hugh was a friendly, kind and very generous person who would never reveal his age. He would become quite incensed when asked how old he was. Both he and Doug must have been well into their 70's when they finally sold out and retired. It wasn't until checking the 1906 census on the internet that his birth date became known-- 1903 in Scotland. His age no longer a secret.

*1 The Valley Leader, Wednesday, February 2, 1977.

Niece, Shirley


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  • Created by: Shirley Tort
  • Added: 3 Nov 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 100111556
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Hugh Mathie Bowie (1903–20 Mar 1996), Find A Grave Memorial no. 100111556, citing Greenwood Cemetery, Carman, Pembina Valley Census Division, Manitoba, Canada ; Maintained by Shirley Tort (contributor 47942188) .