Cover photo for Carolyn Sue Bowler's Obituary
Carolyn Sue Bowler Profile Photo

Carolyn Sue Bowler

October 16, 1942 — March 7, 2024


Carolyn Sue Bowler

Carolyn Sue Bowler passed away the morning of March 7, 2024, at the age of 81 due to complications related to Alzheimer's disease.

Carolyn was born on October 16, 1942, to E.L. "Kelly" Vest and Dorothy Vest (nee Pebley) in Fullerton, California. In 1944, the family relocated to Glenns Ferry, Idaho, for a more rural life for their growing family, and then in 1946, moved to Boise, ID.

Carolyn was active in 4-H, showing Holstein cows and contributing to many other projects. This dedication to 4-H resulted in her representing Idaho at the 1958 National 4-H Congress in Chicago, a city she would grow fond of. Carolyn also found passion in her pie-making skills, winning a cherry pie baking contest at the 4-H fair in Boise. In 1960, after graduating from Meridian High School, Carolyn attended the University of Idaho and was a Phi Beta Phi sorority member. Then, in 1964, she earned a degree in history and then, in 1966, a master's degree in French History.

After college, Carolyn and her then-husband, Bill Bowler, moved to Philadelphia, PA, where Bill began his career in Architecture. Carolyn was a stay-at-home mother with her son, Warren, and became very involved in weaving. She and her family attended many prominent events, including the 1969 Woodstock Music & Art Fair in Bethel, NY.

In 1970, the family returned to Idaho, and Carolyn focused on textiles and becoming a fiber artist and master weaver. She created clothing and art, such as rugs and pillows, initially sold in the Sun Valley area from homegrown wool sheared from a flock of sheep she raised on Camas Prairie. She also
became an avid skier, gardener and cherished the simple life that an old farmhouse/homestead offered.

In 1977, the family moved north to the Moscow, ID area. After years of working on her art, many of her works were proudly displayed in art books and museums around America. In 1984, she was featured in a show at the Textile Museum in Washington, D.C. titled "Country of Origin U.S.A. – A Decade of Contemporary American Rugs." Then, in 1985, a large felted-wool rug she hand-wove was featured at the American Craft Museum in New York, NY, for their "For the Floor” show.
In 1990, she left Idaho and moved to Portland, Oregon, where she enjoyed all the big-city amenities and appreciated exploring and hiking around the region. But one big city wasn't enough, as Carolyn also explored Chicago, where her son was currently residing, giving her even more access to art galleries, museums, dining, performing arts and shopping. Carolyn never stopped wanting to explore and never wanted to stop using the knowledge she garnered at the University of Idaho, leading to numerous trips to Paris, France, with her son Warren, thrilled to finally see the sites and recalling the enormous amounts of history from her college studies, making those trips there more vibrant.

She would return to Idaho once again in 1993, after the loss of her father, to assist in the operations and management of the family ranch near Kamiah, Idaho.

Carolyn also began working at the Idaho State Historical Society in the Idaho State Archives and Research Center, primarily with Idaho's historic photos and papers. One of the highlights of her career was working on the assessment, arrangement, and cataloging of the Idaho Conservation Movement papers of her former father-in-law, attorney Bruce Bowler.
In 2003, while in north Idaho, she met Norm Steadman. Both were avid history buffs, studying the travels of Lewis and Clark and all matters related to Idaho history. They became masters of the primitive, winding Lolo Motorway, just one of their exploratory Idaho drives. They also would make camp at significant historic sites and enjoyed hiking throughout the Clearwater Forest.
After retirement, she dedicated her summers and free time to the ranch. Though tiny in stature, she was a force on the ranch, focusing on all aspects of ranch life, including building fences, tree farming, and forest management, and in 2015, even added frontline forest firefighting to her ranch resume. Many would visit the ranch because Carolyn never stopped making those award-winning pies, including her 4-H cherry pies, and venturing into apple, rhubarb, and other flavors.
Carolyn is survived by her son Warren (Robbi) of Irving, TX, brother Gary (Janet) of Lewes, DE, and boyfriend Norm Steadman of Weippe, ID, and dear friends she has made over her wonderful life. She was preceded in death by her parents.

The family wishes to thank Barber Station Memory Care, Keystone Health Care, Keystone Hospice, and many in the Boise area for their exceptional care and respect when she needed it most.

Funeral Services and arrangements will be private by request of the family. Arrangements are under the direction of the Alden-Waggoner Funeral Chapel, Boise, ID.

In Lieu of Flowers, In Memory donations can be made to the Boise Art Museum, 670 Julia Davis Drive Boise, ID 83702 or at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Carolyn Sue Bowler, please visit our flower store.


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