Leslie Bowles
Leslie Bowles

Obituary of Leslie Herbert Bowles

Leslie (Les) Bowles, Father and Grandfather, stoic, laconic, MS slayer and self-sustainer, passed away in the early morning hours of November 20, 2023.

The son of preacher Archdeacon Herbert Bowles (deceased), mother, Florence (deceased) and brother to Pat Robert (Calgary). Les was predeceased by his greatest love and best friend, his wife Gayle, whom he was married to for 53 years, and with whom he had 5 children; Mark (Krista), Michael (Carla), Paul (Darcie), Deb (Barry) and Diane (deceased). He is survived by 8 grandchildren, Shad, Mitchell, Brynn, Braden, Sydney, Halle, Michael, Matthew; and 1 great-grandchild, Atlas.

Les taught his children to conserve, be energy-efficient and eco-friendly, long before it was avant garde. “Close the door, I’m not heating the neighborhood”, “turn the lights off”, “if you take it, eat it”, and “there is nothing wrong with that, don’t throw it out.” He was ahead of his time, and an innovator of sorts in the zero-waste movement.

Dad taught us to fish, hike with a cheekful of spitz, and to pick a proper camping spot — P6 and Q2 at Beaver Glen, Waskesiu — were both appropriate and preferred.

Dad was a public servant, working with the Feds for 53 years as an employment insurance investigator, both in town and on the road. He provided for his family in every way he could.

Les took great pride in watching his boys play hockey, his daughter dance, his vehicles that looked new at resale time despite years of hauling kids, and of course his lawn. It is rumored that outside of Dad, the only person privileged enough to cut the grass was Mark.

He despised back talk, people parking in front of his house, shepherd’s pie, snow, and all forms of potatoes. In contrast, he loved creamsicle ice cream, Dad’s cookies, welsh rarebit, good rum, the Riders, canoeing, biking, The Curse of Oak Island, and 70 consecutive summers at Waskesiu.

He excelled at hockey (played until 2001), weather watching, Christmas puzzles, woodworking, remote-control airplane flying, and finding ways to outsmart the effects of MS year after year.

Dad was tough. Whether cutting off his thumb with a table saw and driving himself to the ER, being chased by dogs on many rural work visits, paying for 4 weddings in almost as many years, or facing melanoma surgeries and resulting metastatic brain cancer without mom; he did it all with courage, dignity, and nary a complaint.

Les took fashion tips from no one. Standard fare at work was Johnny Miller cardigans and dress pants (both from Sears), summer was Adidas shorts and no shirt (which may have contributed to his melanoma), and in later years, a ball cap, sweats, jeans, and t-shirts (provided all 3 had enough pockets).

Finally, Dad had a voice like Elvis. He loved the King (even named his dog King), The Platters, The Lettermen, and Sha-Na-Na. We grew up enjoying his singing — maybe not at 5am — but he was an early riser.

Being a man of limited social desire and keen frugality, we will abide in his wish to have a private family interment at a later date.

Thank you to all who played a role in Dads care. In particular, Dr. Maas (Radiation Oncologist), RN Ken (RUH Stroke Unit), Reagan (RUH Oncology Ward), and Crystal and Kaylene (SPH Palliative Care).

We love you Dad. Thanks for the memories. Say “hi” to Mom.

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