Main fundraiser photo

Celebrating Rose Bowman, Her Way

Tax deductible
“Don’t send flowers, do something for Rotary”, these are the words Rose shared with me in the months before her death. Rose passed away this morning, May 2, 2017, after a courageous battle with cancer.

Let’s do something for Rotary!

Rose was a lifelong Rotarian, serving many roles within Rotary including the 2015-16 Governor of Rotary District 5020. She often shared her story of delivering a school bus filled with wheelchairs to a village in Mexico and said it was the day she became a “True Rotarian”. This story was retold in an article published by Lewis Talk in 2015, read it here.

Fast forward to December 2016

Independently, the Rotary Club of Strathcona Sunrise in Canada had a similar project in mind. They purchased a bus and loaded it with electric and manual wheelchairs to be delivered to a small village, El Tuito, near Puerto Vallarta. The bus made it to Everett before breaking down. It was towed to Rose’s husband Leon’s auto repair shop in Chehalis, WA where he discovered the diesel engine would need to be replaced before the bus could continue its journey. Because the Canadian Rotary club had exhausted its funds for the project, the bus remains in Leon’s shop today.

The bus that needs a new engine.

This is a perfect opportunity to remember Rose in the way I know she would want to be remembered. I can hear her say, “Tom, let’s move that bus!” I can’t think of a better way to honor this amazing woman than to replicate the same project of which she was most proud. Her husband Leon thinks this is a perfect way to honor Rose.

What's next?

To remember Rose we are raising $25,000 USD to replace the diesel engine (parts and labor) and make additional repairs that may be required. Any leftover funds will be used to purchase additional medical equipment for the El Tuito Village.

We need your help to make this a reality. I’m asking you to donate what you can to honor Rose. The Gateway Rotary Foundation will accept funds on behalf of the project to repair and refurbish the bus so it can complete its mission. We are a 501(c)3 not for profit corporation. All donations are welcome from Rotary Clubs, friends of Rose, and those who share our vision and want to help remember her legacy.

I sincerely believe this is what Rose would want us to do.

Thanks for helping,


Governor Rose and her District Council

More about Rose:

Rose was born in Oklahoma and raised on a farm in Arkansas with her five siblings. Rose met Leon when her family moved back to Oklahoma. They were married in 1962.

Rose and Leon moved to Washington in 1964, settling in Lewis County in 1965 where they live today. They raised their three children there and are happy that two of their four grandchildren are also Lewis County residents. She is a proud graduate of Centralia College.

In 1968 Rose and Leon purchased their own business. While Leon is retired, they continue to own and oversee their business.

Rose served two terms in the Washington State House of Representatives. She was elected as the Lewis County Treasurer in 1994 and plans to retire from public service in 2014.

Rose and Leon began their volunteer work at their church with events and activities that involved their children. Rose’s involvements in leadership through her work and the community are extensive.

Leon joined Twin Cities Rotary in 1989 and Rose joined Chehalis Rotary in 1996. They have both served Rotary in several capacities including as club president and as assistant governor. They are multiple Paul Harris Fellows and Benefactors. Rose has been on several Rotary missions. She and Leon joined a PolioPlus Mission in India. In 2011, they attended the dedication of a Rotary water project in Africa that they had worked on for the previous 5 years.

Rose and her husband, Leon

More about the Rotary Club of Strathcona Sunrise:
Check out their Facebook Page here. 


  • Anonymous
    • $50 
    • 7 yrs


Tom Carroll
Olympia, WA
Gateway Rotary Foundation
Registered nonprofit
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