Evelyn Ritterson Bowman, 97, of Hendersonville, North Carolina, died Tuesday, March 23rd at Elizabeth Hospice, Flat Rock. Evelyn was born in Salem, New Jersey, the daughter of Calvin M. Ritterson and Anna Louise Davis Ritterson. She was preceded in death by her devoted husband of 60 years, Robert Emmett Bowman, Jr., her sister Anna Louise Galbraith and her brother Calvin M. Ritterson.
Evelyn completed high school in Wilmington, Delaware, and received her Bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Delaware. She married Robert and together they raised their three daughters, June, Anne, and Lucy in Wilmington. Evelyn was an accomplished pianist who studied organ with the renowned organist Robert Elmore and became a church organist and choir director. In 1957-58, the family lived over a year in the village of Ranelagh near Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Robert worked for DuPont Argentina’s Ducilo plant in Berazategui. While in Argentina, Evelyn learned Spanish, an interest that influenced her later work coaching immigrants in English language skills. When she and Robert returned to Wilmington, Evelyn grew orchids in a greenhouse they built onto their home.
After Robert retired, they built a new house with a mountain view on 23 wooded acres off Sky Valley Road between Hendersonville and Brevard and indulged their longtime passion for gardening and growing flowers and plants. They included an even larger greenhouse in which Evelyn grew exotic flowering orchids. Together they became representatives for Janco Greenhouses constructing green houses for homes all over western North Carolina. Evelyn was actively engaged in the community, both as a member of the North Carolina Rhododendron Society and later with the Blue Ridge Literacy Council teaching English to non-native speakers and assisting several to become U.S. citizens. She managed to keep up with her music for a while as organist for Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Brevard.
After her husband Robert died, Evelyn moved to Lake Pointe Landing where even into her nineties she could be seen zipping around at max speed on her red mobility vehicle. Her interests included reading novels in both Spanish and English and, as always, growing plants and flowers. Up until she died, her living room always had clusters of lovely flowers, especially colorful orchids. Evelyn will be missed by her three daughters Lucy, June (Jim Garrison), and Anne (Don Nixon), and all of her grandchildren, Kathryn Garrison, Geoffrey Garrison (Britta Schill), Rebecca Gunnill, Brian Gunnill (Adriana Gamboa), and Laurie Nixon and her great-grandchildren, Charles and Edward Smith, Adriana Carmona, Alexa Gunnill-Gamboa and Adam and Livia Schill Garrison.
There will be a private memorial service for the family.
Donations in Evelyn’s memory may be sent to Elizabeth House Hospice: https://www.fourseasonsfdn.org/memorial-gift/circle-of-love/col-gift/
Or the Blue Ridge Literacy Council: https://litcouncil.networkforgood.com/projects/9872-main-donation-page