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Patricia Huebner

Patricia Huebner (Bowden)

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Obituary

Patricia Huebner’s Life’s Story

Patricia Frances Bowden was the beloved daughter, friend, wife, mother and grandmother, and also a scholar, athlete, published author, world traveler, and multi-subject teacher. She was the first child born to her parents, Margaret and Charles Bowden, on March 13, 1931 at a hospital in Ashland, Ohio. Her father was employed as an engineering executive for an electrical public utility company, Ohio Public Service (OPS).

Patricia learned to read early on, and loved to do so. Many books she read were from local libraries. As her father was repeatedly promoted, and transferred to another job assignment in the OPS, Patricia, plus her family, Dad, Mother, and her younger brother Bill, moved around northern Ohio.

For a while the Bowdens lived in Alliance, Ohio. This allowed the Bowden kids in the summertime to escape from the Alliance grade schools and enjoy roaming the nearby farmlands and fields and small quiet lakes in that part of Ohio. Her Dad’s job then required moving to Elyria, Ohio, this city was about the same size as Idaho Falls, and was close to Cleveland. It was also close to Lake Erie, a wonderful place to enjoy water sports in the summertime. A good student, Patricia was often on the Honor Roll of Elyria High School and also had many close friends. She knew of her eventual husband, Marty, but only peripherally, as she was a freshman, and he was an athletic and popular E.H.S. senior.

After Marty graduated and went off to the world of work for a year, Patricia didn’t see him again for quite some time.

Besides enjoying good grades in high school, Patricia read a lot for
recreation, and also liked to swim, play tennis, go on hikes in local woodlands, ride her bike, and even try to ski (a little) when there was enough snow on nearby hills.

In her first (and only) try at dramatics, Patricia was awarded the lead role in the Senior Class play, The Divine Flora, which was a real morale booster for her. She was then very near-sighted. Her fellow cast members noted that after her Dad bought her contact lenses (a very new and a very expensive capability at the time) she could then be even more beautiful in the play. In spite of all this activity, Patricia’s grades didn’t suffer.

After her E.H.S. graduation, Patricia enrolled in Miami University, a state university in Oxford, Ohio. There, she roomed as a freshman in the same dorm where her grandmother had once lived while attending a women’s college there. When Patricia went home that following summer after pledging Pi Beta Phi, a national women’s organization, and pleased at making good grades, as well as having lots of dates, she felt pretty good about herself.

On a summer day, as Patricia was playing tennis with a good friend at a local city park in Elyria, Marty happened to ride by the courts on his bike (he had no automobile or truck). He stopped to pick up a tennis ball that had escaped from her tennis court, but he didn’t immediately recognize the gorgeous creature that Patricia Bowden had become. When he did, that was a WOW! moment in his mind. Even though Patricia had lots of other dates that summer, she started to save some time for Marty.

By the end of that summer, they had found they really liked each other. Patricia went back to her sophomore year at Miami in southwest Ohio, and Marty went back to his senior year at Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana.

He did manage to hitchhike down to see her at Miami on several week ends during that school year. During one of those trips, he gave her his fraternity pin.

When he graduated from “Valpo”, Marty was hired as a chemical engineer for Procter and Gamble in a Cincinnati factory complex that was also located in southwest Ohio. An important reason for taking that job was so Marty would be living in a city that was near Miami, and he could visit Patricia on weekends.

They got engaged the next Christmas, and were married the following summer in July, 1952. These two, now a married couple, moved into a newly built apartment complex in Cincinnati. While Marty worked at P&G, Patricia, now a senior at Miami, commuted the 50 Miles to/from Oxford, Ohio, to finish her college education.

After Patricia graduated (Miami ‘52) with majors in history and English, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education, Patricia taught school in the Cincinnati area. That is, until her first child, a boy, Martin III, was born, and she retired to be a full time Mom.

Another boy, Peter, came along a few years later. Besides working as an operations supervisor, Marty enrolled in the graduate school of the University of Cincinnati’s Evening College, and fulfilled all the classroom requirements for a Masters degree in Nuclear Engineering. As a result, he was offered a great new nuclear engineering job in Schenectady, New York, to work at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory (KAPL) for General Electric.

The small Huebner family moved to New York. Marty became heavily involved with starting up nuclear reactors for Admiral Rickover’s naval nuclear power program. This was at a KAPL satellite facility in West Milton, NY. This eventually led to Marty being trained to be “Nuclear Plant Operations Qualified” with the Naval Reactors program. This was an intensely rigorous six months of highly technical training that Marty said was “harder than graduate school.” Patricia did a little substitute teaching to keep her teaching credentials current, when she wasn’t being a Mom.

Living in the snowy Northeast was a good place for the family to try some real skiing at local ski resorts. Patricia, and her former Maid of Honor, Linda Fitzgerald, really learned how to ski during a Ski Week at Mount Snow, Vermont (while Marty worked back home).

A few years later, General Electric/KAPL offered Marty a similar supervisory reactor start up job in Idaho, again for Admiral Rickover’s naval nuclear program. But before the Huebners actually made the transfer out to the Wild West, a daughter, Margaret, was born.

In 1964, all five Huebners moved from upper New York State to Idaho Falls into a newly built house on the east side of that city. This residence is still the Huebner home. The whole family embraced the West with gusto, hiking, fishing, camping, backpacking and wild river floating in wilderness areas, touring the West’s national parks, and especially skiing. Patricia also did some substitute teaching.

A nearby ski area where the Huebners often skied were on ski slopes at Taylor Mountain. Patricia was invited by the owners of the Taylor Mountain Ski Resort to join the ski patrol there. Both she and Marty took the requisite First Aid courses and joined the Taylor Patrol. This led to their lifetime involvement with skiing on many levels.

The local Taylor Mountain Patrol joined with the thousand-member Intermountain Division of the National Ski Patrol. The Division’s officials recognized Patricia’s literary skills, and Patricia was soon invited to become the Editor of the Division’s Newsletter, The Mountain Monitor. On the basis of her superb editorship, Patricia was soon awarded the coveted National Appointment (NSP # 3795), an honor given only to persons with proven leadership ability who have also significantly benefited the National Ski Patrol. She was one of the first women to ever receive that award, and she also became a popular lecturer in the National Ski Patrol’s Avalanche Safety and Rescue Program.

About this time, Patricia was also one of the PEO women members that founded chapter BI of this venerable philanthropical educational organization.

Like many small local ski areas struggling to stay in operation at that time, Taylor Mountain eventually had to cease operating as a ski resort. The director of the Ski School at the Bear Gulch Ski Area, located north of Ashton, knew of Patricia’s skill as a teacher and also as a skier. Patricia was invited to join that Ski School as a ski instructor, and she found that she very much liked teaching people how to ski. When the Bear Gulch Ski Area also closed down, Patricia joined the excellent Kelly Canyon Ski School, and eventually, Marty did also. About that time, Marty got appointed to a high-level staff advisory position in the National Ski Patrol. This required him to travel around the US, take invited trips to Alaska, and visit ski areas overseas such as in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Scotland and Sweden. Patricia went along on most of these trips to help Marty in that job. Marty was also invited to write articles on skiing for the Post Register and did so for the next eighteen years.

Patricia always had a similar yearning to write for publication (i.e., for money!) and had started submitting and selling articles to various ski magazines and newspapers, such as Western Ski Time. She was especially pleased (and well paid) for an article published in Modern Bride. In it, she had written about the joys and economies of refinishing antique furniture, that was another activity that she always liked to do.

One of Patricia’s friends at that time was the Librarian at what is now Eastern Idaho Technical College. That institution needed volunteer tutors, and she invited Patricia to spend one night a week tutoring people in history and English. One evening, another tutor wished out loud for someone who could help people with learning algebra. Patricia piped up with, “I had algebra in high school, maybe I can help.”

Help she did!

She was then asked to give up volunteer tutoring in history and English, and focus wholly on helping people with learning algebra one night a week..., then two..., then three nights…!

The College’s administration knew that Patricia did not want to work full time. (She had accidentally lost the vision in her right eye while a young woman.) Thus, she was then asked to work only four mornings a week, only in tutoring algebra, and she was to be paid for it!

This led this “history and English teacher/ski patroller/ski instructor” into a fifteen year career of full time teaching of basic and advanced algebra, trigonometry, logarithms, and such.

About this time, Patricia and her best friend, Jean Murray, had both saved up enough money to fulfill a lifelong ambition, to visit the British Isles. On their own, Jean, of Welsh background, and Patricia, of Cornish descent, organized a month-long visit to England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Cornwall. While in Cornwall, Patricia searched for and found some delightful long-lost second cousins, who she since visited nearly every summer.

The following year, she accompanied Marty on a trip to Japan where Marty gave an invited presentation to the International Ski Patrol. The year following, she realized another childhood dream of visiting Africa, and went on a month-long safari to see that continent’s wildlife. They has been back to Africa about a dozen times since, and loved tent camping on safaris.

As Patricia neared retirement from the Eastern Idaho Technical College, she realized another long-standing interest, when she began taking evening courses in anthropology and archeology from Idaho State University at ISU’s local University Place campus. One of her ISU professors suggested she consider going on to graduate school in anthropology, and said he would support her application. (She kept that in mind, and eventually did enroll.)

When she finally retired from her math instructor position at the College, she reminded those present at her “Goodbye Party” there of something they seemed to have forgotten: the only algebra course she had ever taken was a basic course in high school. This was a shock to the College’s faculty present at the party. The next day, she and Marty left for Spain, and upon returning, she applied and was accepted as an ISU graduate student in the Anthropology Department

On a subsequent African trip, Patricia discovered a prehistoric camp site on the banks of the Chobe River bank in Botswana that had been inhabited by ancient peoples. It was now in danger in being obliterated by destructive nearby activities. The artifacts that she and Marty protectively collected there were taken by them to the South African National Museum in Cape Town. These donations were much appreciated! The artifacts were assessed by experts in the Museum to be of two main types. One group of artifacts were pottery shards from prehistoric Bushmen, the others were some carefully manufactured stone artifacts, and were attributed to Middle Stone Age people who had lived at this same site approximately one hundred thousand years ago!

This thrilling anthropological discovery that Patricia made on the banks of the Chobe River in Botswana was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

After several years of study and research, her Master’s Thesis was entitled, “The Revival of the Cornish Language” This had required some in-the-field research in Cornwall, the famous peninsula that juts westward from the Isle of Britain. This also allowed lengthy visits with her newly found “Cornish Cousins.”

While doing research on her thesis subject in Cornwall, Patricia became interested in the historical raids that the Vikings had made into the Cornish peninsula around 800 AD. She decided that if Idaho State University ever initiated a doctoral Ph.D. program in anthropology, she would prefer that the subject of her doctoral dissertation would be on the Viking Invasions of Cornwall.

In addition to taking more graduate courses, to learn more about this latter subject, Patricia began writing to historical associations, libraries, and universities in the US and the United Kingdom. She inquired of them where she could learn more about this subject of Viking invasions. She was very surprised, and very much pleased, when the world-famous Cambridge University in England’s Cambridgeshire invited her to come to Cambridge as a Visiting Scholar. This very unique academic honorific invitation included that Patricia could use that world renown University’s facilities in support of her research.

On learning of Cambridge’s invitation, the Director of the Idaho State Museum of Natural History in Pocatello, at that time, said in an admiring way, “That Patricia is like the Energizer Bunny, and she just keeps on going and reinventing herself.” Patricia hadn’t ever consciously tried to do that. She was just “keeping on” in pursuing her varied interests.

She maintained a keen, outgoing, and adventuresome mind that loved to learn new things, especially about historical matters. She enjoyed the out of doors. She kept her chorus girl figure, and was blessed with good health. She enjoyed a robust sense of humor and doing things with Marty. She could hit blazing cross-court tennis forehands past Marty, then remark “How’s that for only one eye?” Patricia enjoyed travel such as overseas to visit her Cornish cousins and especially to “safari” in southern Africa. She visited over twenty countries on five continents (minus only Antarctica and South America). She skied in Scotland, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and skied under the Midnight Sun in Sweden. She enjoyed hiking in the mountain valleys near Sun Valley, and white-water rafting on Idaho’s Middle Fork of the Salmon River.

Patricia had few regrets. One was that ISU had been telling her for years that they were going to have a doctoral program in anthropology “real soon,” but she got a little discouraged that an appropriate program had not taken place as yet. In the meantime, in lieu of taking formal classes, besides learning more Cornish, she also was learning Old Norse in case she had to read old texts in that language in her Viking researches.

Another regret was that she didn’t get to see her three grand kids, KayCee and Kyle Huebner, and Patrick Survis, often enough.

On March 16, 2020, while at her home, Patricia peacefully went to her Heavenly Rest while asleep beside her husband of sixty-eight years. This was three days after her eighty ninth birthday. We will miss her!
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Pam Lassahn

Posted at 05:57pm
Wishing you peace to bring comfort, courage to face the days ahead and loving memories to forever hold in your hearts.
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