Oct. 20, 1915 – Aug. 22, 2012
Ruby Mae McAdams Bowman, a pastor’s wife and family matriarch for more than 60 years who helped her husband start and lead Antioch Holiness Church in Buffalo, died Wednesday in the Seneca Manor Nursing Facility after a long illness.
She was 96.
Mrs. Bowman, a North Carolina native with a strong religious faith, grew up in Elk Park, N.C. When she was 21, she was invited to a revival service at Mount Hope Fire Baptized Holiness Church in Johnson City, Tenn., where she met her future husband, the Rev. Morris L. Bowman, who was the visiting evangelist. She also joined the Mount Hope church. Three years later, the couple married.
After moving from church to church in Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Ohio, Mr. Bowman took over the pastorship of New Macedonia Fire Baptized Holiness Church in Buffalo in October 1947, and Mrs. Bowman and their family moved to Western New York in the spring of 1948.
Mrs. Bowman taught Sunday school at the church, served on the Missionary Board and formed a children’s choir.
She also helped visiting evangelists who came to town for revival services and assisted another minister in starting a new church.
When her husband decided to form Antioch Holiness Church in 1961, she helped behind the scenes, mentoring young women and mothers.
Mrs. Bowman also started two youth organizations, the Holiness Young People’s Union and Young People’s Institute, and she served as president of the Missions Board.
More recently, she was appointed to the Mother’s Board of Antioch, where she was a role model and mentor for younger mothers and a key fundraiser for the church.
Family members described her as caring, concerned and unselfish, and as a quiet and humble woman, who did not want to be “seen or heard,” but was dedicated to helping and working with others, especially younger people.
“She wasn’t an out-in-front public-type person, but her value was very strong in working with individuals. She would rather be on the inside of things, and let [others] get all the credit,” said a son, Bishop James H. Bowman Sr., who is now pastor of the church at 1461 Michigan Ave.
“She was a very loved person. Everyone really loved her because of her personality and her genuineness. We’re going to miss her.”
Survivors include three sons, Robert D., James H., and Mark J.; a daughter, Sharon; and two sisters, Ruth Henderson and Bertha Collie.
Services will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday in Prince of Peace Temple Church of God in Christ, 669 Kensington Ave.