Oleta H. Bower died peacefully at home on Sunday, June 14, 2009. She was born in Reynoldsville, NY, the daughter of the late Edward L. and Jessie Spencer Harford. She was predeceased by her husband Maurice S. Bower; a brother, Spencer E. Harford; a sister Gladys H. Voorheis; and nephews Harold Robert Voorheis, Edward Voorheis, and Randy Harford.
With the exception of her naval career, she was a resident of Trumansburg most of her life. She resided in St. Petersburg, Florida for 32 winters. She graduated from Trumansburg Central School and from Elmira Business Institute. She also had two years college studies at Columbia University, New York City.
She enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II and retired from the service in 1965. She attended basic training at Hunter College, Bronx, NY and was transferred to Yeoman School, State Teachers College, Cedar Falls, Iowa. Her first duty station was under the Commandant, Fourth Naval District, Philadelphia, PA where she obtained the rank of Chief Yeoman. She worked at the Naval Motion Picture Exchange, New York City; Judge Advocate General, Washington, DC; Headquarters, U.S. European Command, Paris, France; Recruit Training Command for Women, Bainbridge, MD; and the Naval Reserve Officers School, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA. She was Administrative Assistant in most of her assignments. Medals and Awards received: Good Conduct, American Campaign, World War II Victory Medal, National Defense, and the Army Commendation Ribbon with Medal Pendant for meritorious service while serving with the US Armed Forces in Paris.
Prior to entering the service, she worked as Secretary with the Co-Operative GLF Exchange in Ithaca. After returning from the service, she worked as Administrative Assistant at Cornell University, University Development. She also worked for H & R Block during the winter months in Florida.
Mrs. Bower was a member of the Trumansburg Eastern Star Chapter #479 for sixty-three years; The American Legion Post #770, Trumansburg, NY for thirty-three years, and a member of the Trumansburg United Methodist Church. She was a Charter Member of the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC and a Charter Member of the Women’s National Memorial in DC. She enjoyed ceramics and needlepoint but most of all, she enjoyed traveling and had traveled in forty-one countries as well as most of the United States.
She is survived by her brother Walter L. Harford of Lodi, NY and Titusville, FL; sister-in-law Winifred Harford Kirk of Canadaigua, NY; nephews Spencer Edward Harford, Jr. of Amsterdam, NY, George Harford of Canandaigua, NY, and Raymond Vooheis of Stoney Point, NC; nieces Constance Davis of Stoney Point, NC, Sandy Voorheis and Amy Harford Hanks both of Trumansburg, NY.
Funeral services will he held at the Ness-Sibley Funeral Home, 23 South Street, Trumansburg, on Thursday, June 18 at 1:00pm, officiated by the Rev. Dr. Jeff Losey. Calling hours are from 7-9pm on Wednesday, June 17 at the funeral home. Burial, with a military honors tribute, will be at Grove Cemetery, Trumansburg, immediately following the service.
In lieu of flowers kindly consider a contribution in Oleta’s memory to the American Legion Post #770, PO Box 456, Trumansburg, NY 14886 or Hospicare of Tompkins County, 172 E. King Road, Ithaca, NY 14850.