Kathleen “Kathy” Elaine Bower of Manheim was a caring wife, mother, grandmother, sister, teacher, and friend. She unexpectedly died at home on May 3, 2023, at the age of 76. Cherishing her memory are her husband of nearly 54 years, William “Bill” Bower, and their two sons and daughters-in-law, Douglas and Laura of Manheim, and Phillip and Carrie of Madison, Wisconsin, and four grandsons, Caleb of Manheim, and Thomas, Finn, and Cormac of Madison.
Kathy was born to Richard and Betty (Mummert) Yinger in Mechanicsburg on November 14, 1946. She grew up on a farm in York Haven as the oldest of three children, accompanied by her sister, Sue Dietrich, and brother, Barry Yinger. Growing up in the country, she attended a one-room schoolhouse and helped plow fields and raise chickens. Kathy was great at telling stories, and she had lots of them to share about her early years at the farm: the pond where they liked to swim and fish, adventures with runaway pigs, picking rocks out of the fields, and close calls with tractors.
Kathy was an extremely devoted wife, mother, and grandmother. She met Bill while they were both attending Albright College. After graduating, they were married, and two sons soon followed. Her sons have fond memories of their mom during their childhoods, such as Kathy helping with the Mastersonville Elementary carnival, being active in their scouting careers, and teaching them to cook and sew. When Bill and Kathy retired, they enjoyed spending time together traveling. Just last summer, the pair fulfilled a lifelong dream of driving the entire length of Route 66 over the course of several weeks. That same summer, they also took the entire family on a cruise to Alaska. Beside traveling, Kathy and Bill equally loved being at home outside by the pool, working in the garden, or sharing meals with family and friends.
For the last 16 years, Kathy truly embraced her new role as Grandma to her four grandsons. Forever a teacher, she spent endless hours reading them stories, working on craft projects, baking with them and for them, and sharing her love of nature. She celebrated their birthdays with her fantastic, custom-designed birthday cakes and cheered them on at all their events (even if she had to lead that cheer from halfway across the country).
For Kathy, a life well led was one devoted to teaching and caring for others. After graduating from Cedar Cliff High School in 1964, she graduated from Albright College in 1968. Teaching became her life’s passion, and she taught at three elementary schools: LaFayette Elementary in Lancaster and Sporting Hill Elementary and Doe Run Elementary in Manheim. She also obtained a Master of Education from Millersville University and a Principal Certificate from Penn State. Kathy kept in touch with many former students and often saw them in Manheim. She would always inquire into how they were doing and loved to hear their memories from her classes.
Kathy will be remembered for her lasting contributions to education and her service to the Manheim and Mount Joy communities. She capped off her long teaching career by serving as the executive director of MCFEE, the Manheim Central Foundation for Educational Enrichment. During a brief break in her teaching career when her boys were young, she served on the Manheim Central School Board. Active in St. Mark’s United Methodist Church of Mount Joy, she made major volunteer contributions to the church and its nursery school. In Manheim, she served on the boards of the Women’s Club of Manheim and the Friends of the Manheim Library.
Kathy’s Celebration of Life Service will be held at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, 27 East Main Street, Mount Joy, on Saturday, May 13, 2023, at 2:00 PM. Friends may visit with the family at the church on Saturday afternoon from 12:30 PM until the time of the service. (Please use the main entrance at the rear of the church.)
In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to St. Mark’s United Methodist Church or to the Women’s Club of Manheim (Kathy Bower Memorial Scholarship) at Women’s Club of Manheim Scholarship Fund, 528 Madison Way, Manheim, PA 17545. Kathy’s legacy will live on through her sons and grandsons, as well as the hundreds of children she taught over the years, and they will surely teach future generations about butterflies, chocolate pie, and the beauty of spending the day outside enjoying nature.
“Well done, good and faithful servant!” Matthew 25:21