Kathryn Patricia Bowers, a longtime Walpole resident, passed away peacefully on January 28 surrounded by her loving family at Norwood Hospital, after what her doctors viewed as an amazing six-year battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 79.
To those who knew her, her courage and grace during her cancer treatments wasn’t a shock. Mrs. Bowers, better known as Kay, had encountered many challenges and always rose to the occasion. In 1973, she lost her husband, Kenneth John Bowers, tragically and found herself alone with three young daughters. She would go on to put herself through nursing school, graduating from Newton-Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing in 1982. Despite the long hours of study and work, Mrs. Bowers still managed to be very involved in the lives of her daughters — Melissa, Lorraine, and Gretchen. Among other things, she volunteered as a Girl Scout leader and at Blessed Sacrament School. For most of her nearly 40-year R.N. career, she worked nights so that she’d be around during the daytime to do things for her girls.
She had many passions and truly loved animals and helping others. Bird-watching and travel were among her greatest joys. Kay proudly traveled to over 50 countries, and probably 50,000 yard sales. She volunteered at the Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Norfolk for 53 years and also volunteered with the Sharon Garden Club and the Pulse Suicide Hotline.
Family and friends always admired her kind and generous spirit, her sense of humor, and her zest for life. Well into her 70s, Kay was visiting distant countries to see exotic birds and wildlife, and trekking in mountains. Whether she was traveling or at home, each day was an adventure for Kay. She shared that sense of adventure and fun with loved ones, taking them on trips, peppering them with questions while presiding over her annual Christmas trivia contest, and just making everyday moments a little brighter.
Kay viewed life as an exciting journey, and she looked at her battle with cancer from a similar perspective. As she underwent treatment, she kept a journal of her thoughts and in it she wrote: “As I leave this earthly world, I will experience immigration (a traveler to an unknown world) and migration alongside the monarchs and my beloved bird friends to heaven, the last great adventure.”
In the end, Kay said, her only regrets were that she didn’t finish her 2019 taxes and that she wouldn’t get to see her great-granddaughter and last greatest gift, Jodi May Finkelstein, grow up.
Mrs. Bowers is survived by her daughters, Melissa Bowers Del Arroyo, Lorraine Costello, and Gretchen Bowers Munafo; her beloved son-in-law and partner in crime, Steven Munafo; her sister Lorraine Weeden; her brother, Francis Kolenda; her two grandchildren, Samantha Finkelstein and her husband, Adam, and Kenneth Costello; and her great-granddaughter, Jodi May. In addition to her husband, Kenneth, Mrs. Bowers was predeceased by her parents, Francis J. and Katherine E. Kolenda; her mother-in-law, Catherine Bowers; a sister, Betty Capozzoli; a brother-in-law, Alan Weeden; and her two dearest friends, Donna Lang and Judith Fuller.
There will be a wake from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 8, at the James H. Delaney and Son Funeral Home, 48 Common St., Walpole, followed by a celebration of life at 12:30 p.m. at the Renaissance Boston Hotel at Patriot Place in Foxborough. Guests may come to both or either gathering. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Norfolk, MA; Best Friends Animal Society in Utah; or the Town of Duxbury Animal Shelter (checks payable to shelter should be sent to Susan Curtis, PO Box 1071, Duxbury, MA 02331-1071).