Christena Clarabel Bowen was born on October 11, 1917 to Charles Ernest Bowen and Christina Ruthi Bowen in the family home in Kill Creek Township, Osborne County Kansas. She passed from this life to her Heavenly home on December 17, 2014 after a life of service to others.
She attended grade school at the Kill Creek School (District 125), as did both of her parents. She graduated from Osborne High School in 1934 and from Fort Hays State with a bachelor’s degree in home economics in 1939. She attended one semester at Kansas State University in the fall of 1939 before returning to the Osborne area to teach in rural schools. She taught at Kill Creek, Bloomington, Russell and Mayview schools from 1940 to 1953 before returning home to care for her mother. After her mother’s death, she remained at home to help with work on the farm and to care for her father when his health began to fail.
Christena first heard about the Presbyterian Manor when Dr. George Nelson visited the Kill Creek Presbyterian Church and spoke about his dream of establishing a health care facility for older people. After her father died in 1966, Christena purchased a station wagon and relocated to Truchas, New Mexico to teach in the Presbyterian Day School for a year. She took summer classes at Fort Hays in 1967 and was uncertain about what direction to go with the rest of her life. She spoke with the minister of the local Presbyterian Church about her desire to help with older people, and he referred her to Dr. George Nelson at the Presbyterian Manor.
In 1967, Christena began serving the Newton Presbyterian Manor as a volunteer and developed an enduring friendship with Lucille Anderson, Administrator of the Manor. She was hired full time by the Presbyterian Manor in late 1967 and relocated to the Kansas City area to assist with opening another Presbyterian Manor. After returning to Newton, she attended nursing school in Wichita and became a Licensed Practical Nurse in 1969. She spent several years in Newton before moving to Sterling to serve as director of nursing. She completed her Administrator’s License in Sterling and became CEO of the Sterling Presbyterian Manor.
After her retirement in 1982, Christena returned to Newton and moved into one of the cottages south of the Presbyterian Manor. She always had a large garden on the farm and began volunteering to develop flowers in spaces around the Newton campus. She also volunteered to provide transportation to residents of the Newton Presbyterian Manor as needed. She and Lucille Anderson organized Meadowlark Tours and provided worldwide travel opportunities to residents of the Manor and surrounding communities.
In her later years, Christena continued to provide flowers to residents of the Newton Presbyterian Manor and to deliver sermon notes from the First Presbyterian Church to residents. Failing health forced her to leave her cottage for an apartment in the Manor in 2012. As her need for care increased, she moved into the skilled nursing section of the Manor. Even there her consistently positive attitude ministered to everyone with whom she had contact.
Christena never married, but she left a legacy of service to countless individuals whose lives were touched by her selfless dedication to others. Left behind are second cousins Linda Rice, Janice O’ Toole, Lowell Guyer, Howard Guyer, Ruthanne Stucky, Duane Guyer, Stanley Guyer, Kendall Guyer, Lyle Bowen, John Reynolds, June Reynolds, Jan Loser, Jim Hurd, John Hurd, Carrie Unruh, Dan Bleam, Jill Lundgren, Barbara Scott, Richard Martin, Bette Hovey, Kenneth Harris, Mary Ruthi and Larry Ruthi.
A celebration of her life will be held at 1:30 PM on December 30, 2014 in the chapel at the Newton Presbyterian Manor.
Her ashes will be spread on the graves of her parents in the Osborne, Kansas cemetery around Memorial Day.
Memorials may be sent to the Newton Presbyterian Manor at 1200 E 7th, Newton, KS 67114.
Friends may sign the book and read the obituary online at www.broadwaycolonialfh.com