Obituary for Ilma Catherine Bowen

August 10, 1919 – October 6, 2017

Ilma Catherine Bowen, 98, Hope, ND, passed away on October 6, 2017 at her home, surrounded by close friends. Ilma was born August 10, 1919 on the home farm near Alsen, ND, the daughter of Paul and Bertha (Stenzel) E. Kastner.  Her family farmed southwest of Alsen until 1926 when they moved to Orange, California, where Ilma was confirmed at the St. John’s Lutheran School.  The family, in 1933, returned to farm in the Alsen area.  Ilma graduated in 1937 from the Alsen High School, then went on to attend Beauty School and Dakota Business College.

While at Dakota Business College, Harry E. Bowen came to hire a bookkeeper for his brothers business, Truman Bowen’s car dealership in Montana.  Ilma accepted the position and they were engaged within the year.  They were married in Fargo, ND, December 21, 1939.  They purchased the Texaco Bulk Plant in Portland, ND and the service stations in Portland, Hatton and Mayville, ND and sold steel products for the Fargo Foundry.  Ilma was the bookkeeper for them all.  They opened the Coast to Coast store in Hope and sold steel for the North Dakota Metal Culvert Company.  They spent many years wintering in Mesa, AZ.  Harry died May 6, 2006 and Ilma lived her remaining days in her home in Hope, ND.

Ilma was an active member in both her Methodist Church in Hope, and in 1982 when they joined with the Congregational Church to become the United Church of Hope.  She was active in the Legion Auxiliary, serving as District 1 President 1956-1958 and ND State Auxiliary President 1963-1964.  Sister Ilma was a faithful member of ND Order of Eastern Star for over 76 years.  Ilma held many offices during her years of service.  She was also a member of the Past Matrons Club of Fidelity Chapter #13, Hope, ND.  Ilma was a member of Woodbine Chapter #4, Valley City, ND.

Ilmas was the consummate hostess.  She entertained many functions in her home, and all were welcome!  Her wit and humor were enjoyed by many.  The community of Hope, which she was so proud of, has benefitted from her service, and she will be missed.

Ilma is survived by many nieces and nephews, and special friends.  She was preceded in death by her husband 


Harry, an infant son, Harry E. Bowen, her parents and three sisters, Inez Kastner Waechter, Weida Kastner Johnson and Verna Kastner Kreklau.

Funeral Services were held on Saturday, October 14, 2017 at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Hope, ND