Monday, August 15, 2022

Obituary: Tommie Bowie; teacher helped diabetic kids


Thomasina T “Tommie” Bowie, who taught in Baltimore City and helped establish a camp for children with diabetes, died in her sleep last year, on August 23, 2020, at a nursing home in Lochearn, Maryland, The Baltimore Sun reports. She was 94.

The Sun delayed reporting of her passing at the request of her family, who wanted to hold memorial services after the pandemic so her many friends could attend without fear of catching Covid-19.

Mrs Bowie graduated in 1946 from Virginia State College, now Virginia State University, in Petersburg, Virginia, with a bachelor’s degree in physical education. Her teaching career included a few years at a high school in Virginia, where she taught PE, coached the girls’ basketball team, and accompanied the school choir on piano.

She then returned to her native Maryland, where she worked for a year as an inspector for the Baltimore Transit Company, monitoring the performance of bus drivers. After that short diversion, she taught PE at Charles Hamilton Houston Junior High School, Carrollton Junior High School, and Harlem Park Junior High School in Baltimore City Public Schools. She retired from Harlem Park after a three-decade Maryland teaching career that began in 1955.

Infographic: Know the warning signs of Type 1 Diabetes. You just might save a child's life. Extreme thirst, frequent urination, sudden weight loss, increased appetite, sudden vision changes, fruity odor on breath, nausea or vomiting, drowsiness or lethargy, heavy labored breathing, stupor, unconsciousness.

Tommie had been an active member of Union Baptist Church for more than six decades and was involved with many of its ministries, the Sun wrote, singing in the Sanctuary and Senior choirs for 60 years. Her daughter was quoted as saying she brought “an abundance of happiness and laughter to both choirs while making full use of her keen sense of humor and quick wit as appropriate.”

When her daughter was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 16 months, Mr and Mrs Bowie’s lives changed forever. In her role as the first African American president of the Baltimore chapter of the Women’s League for Diabetic Children and Adults, Mrs Bowie endeavored to help establish a camp for diabetic children, called Camp Glyndon after the village in which it was located. A diabetes specialist at a local hospital founded the camp, and Mrs Bowie’s travels throughout the city and state to raise money for the camp’s construction led to its opening in 1969.

“Camp Glyndon, a 48-acre farm on Insulin Lane in Baltimore County, provides regular camp facilities — trampoline, swimming pool, tents, bunks — all clustered around the dispensary,” reported The Evening Sun in 1970. “The youngsters ages 5 to 16, assemble there about 8 o’clock for insulin injections. By the end of the season all 532 children who have spent two to three weeks at the camp can give the injections themselves.”

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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