Alberta A. Bowes

July 21, 1922 - June 16, 2014

COOPERSTOWN - Alberta Anna Bowes, a longtime resident of the Village of Cooperstown, retired Director of Nursing at the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital and proud veteran of World War II, died Monday afternoon, June 16, 2014, at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown. She was 91.

Born July 21, 1922, at Brady Maternity Hospital in Albany, she was the daughter of Thomas C. and Margaret (Dilts) Bowes. At the age of 6 months, Alberta and her family moved from Albany to Oneonta.

She attended St. Mary's Catholic School in Oneonta and graduated from Oneonta High School with the Class of 1938. In 1939 she entered St. Joseph's Hospital College of Nursing in Syracuse, graduating in May of 1943. In September of that same year she became licensed in New York State as a Registered Nurse and worked as a staff nurse at St. Joseph's Hospital. Then from January until October of 1944 she worked as a staff nurse at A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital in Oneonta.

On October 2, 1944, Alberta entered into active duty with the United States Army as a Second Lieutenant and served her country during World War II as a general duty nurse in the Army Nurse Corps 25th Hospital Train. Assigned to the European Theater of Operations in December 1944, she shipped out to Cherbourg, France from Liverpool, England in January 1945. She was assigned to Hospital Train No. 19 which carried wounded from battle areas in France to hospital ships and rehabilitation centers in southern France. She also traveled throughout Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands, treating over 320 patients which included GIs, POWs, repatriated Allied Military personnel, as well as enemy POWs and children released from labor camps. The week after the concentration camp at Dachau was liberated, her unit visited the camp and treated survivors. While there she saw the ovens (some of which contained half cremated remains), the gas chambers and the laboratories where human experiments were carried out. In December 1945 she was reassigned from the hospital train to the American Hospital in Paris, France. On April 6, 1946, she was honorably discharged from the United States Army having attained the rank of First Lieutenant and received two Battle Stars for the Battle of Ardennes (the Battle of the Bulge) and the Battle of the Rhineland.

Following her time in the military, Alberta attended the College of St. Teresa in Winona, Minnesota, graduating with honors in 1948 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing Education. In September she returned to Central New York and joined the faculty at Hartwick College in Oneonta as an instructor in the Nursing Department.

In 1954 she left Hartwick College and moved to Detroit, Michigan where she attended Wayne State University on a graduate teaching fellowship and received her Masters Degree in Nursing Education in June of 1956. In July of that year she moved to Cooperstown and came to work at the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in the Nursing Administration Department. Dedicated to her profession, Alberta conducted a feasibility study and formulated an accepted associate degree program in nursing at the State University of New York Agricultural and Technical College at Delhi in the mid-1970s. In October 1972 she represented Bassett at the International Medical Education Conference in The Hague, Netherlands. After serving as the Director of Nursing for many years, she retired from Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital on July 30, 1982.

A passionate explorer, Alberta traveled extensively throughout the world, including visits to Russia, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Austria, the US Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, Alaska, Nova Scotia, Iceland, Netherlands, Switzerland, France, Germany, Canada and Mexico and experienced passage through the Panama Canal. She also visited the Holy Land several times while her brother was there working for his company, Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Corp. from 1973 through 1976.  

A member of St. Mary's "Our Lady of the Lake" Roman Catholic Church in Cooperstown, Alberta was also a life member of Clark F. Simmons American Legion Post No. 579 and Sgt. Walter P. Eggleston Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 7128 in Cooperstown. She was also a member of the alumni associations of Oneonta High School, St. Joseph's Hospital College of Nursing, the College of St. Teresa and Wayne State University, District 15 of New York State Nurses' Association (part of the American Nurses' Association), Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, the American Region of Women in the Military, AARP, Elderhostel, Center for Continuing Adult Learning, Prime Time exercise group at Clark Sports Center, Cornell Cooperative Extension and the 4-H, serving as their money manager for several years at the Cooperstown office, Policy Committee for At Home Care in Oneonta and the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities of Delaware and Otsego Counties.

Since August of 2004 she resided at the Clara Welch Thanksgiving Home in Cooperstown.  

Alberta is survived by her beloved brother, William Morris Bowes of Cooperstown, and several cousins.

A time for visitation will begin at 10 a.m. on Friday, June 20, 2014, in the sanctuary of St. Mary's "Our Lady of the Lake" Roman Catholic Church in Cooperstown.

A Liturgy of Christian Burial will be offered in the church at 11 a.m. on Friday, with Fr. John P. Rosson, pastor, officiating.

Immediately following the Mass, Military Honors will be accorded outside the church by members of the Cooperstown VFW and Legion Posts and the New York State Military Forces Honor Guard.  

The Service of Committal and Burial will follow in Mount Calvary Cemetery in Emmons, where Alberta will be laid to rest near her parents.  

Arrangements are under the care and guidance of the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown.

If you would like to send condolences to the family, send an email to Connell, Dow & Deysenroth. We will forward your comments to the family. If you would like to send flowers in memory of the deceased, contact Mohican Flowers at (607) 547-8822, or A Rose is a Rose at (607) 264-3100.