Incorporated in 1976, The Douglas County Community Health Clinic was founded by a small group of trailblazers who identified a need for services in the community and took action. Laura Bowden, an amazing woman-before-her-time, was front and center in making Health Care Clinic a reality.
Laura A. Bowden
On the evening of Jan. 4, 2009, Laura A. Bowden, age 93, peacefully entered into a new journey with family and friends who had gone before her. She was a current resident of Duluth, Minn., and a former longtime resident of Superior. Our beloved Mother, Grandmother and Great-Grandmother was born April 22, 1915, in Superior to Bert and Dea (Biglow) Beglinger. Having graduated from East High School in 1931, Laura began her studies at Superior State Teachers’ College, where she met her future husband, Clayton Bowden. In 1966 Laura completed her master’s degree in counseling from the University of Wisconsin- Superior. While raising her family, Laura became a powerful advocate for the youth in her community. For young children who were unable to function successfully in a regular class- room because of emotional disabilities, Laura headed a pilot project, the Teacher-Mom program. Laura also organized and was active in the Douglas County Mental Health Association, was a board member for the Wisconsin Association for Mental Health and was recognized by the National Association as an authority in school programming for children with emotional needs. For her dedicated work, Laura received the Woman of the Year Award in 1964 from the State’s Mental Health Association, and she distinguished herself as one of the first Superiorities to be nominated to the Duluth Hall of Fame. While she was creating yet another program, a state-mandated teen suicide prevention program, Laura received an invitation to meet President Ronald Reagan in Washington D.C., where she was honored at a Rose Garden reception for her “outstanding contributions to youth” Laura received recognition for many other achievements as well. She was named Citizen of the Year for Superior and Douglas County in 1979, and teacher of the year by the Superior Senior High School students in 1976. She was honored with a lifetime membership from the Parent Teacher Association for “service to the children of the community” in 1971. She was also recognized by the Wisconsin Education Association as one of the twelve outstanding teachers to demonstrate innovative teacher techniques in classroom clinics throughout the state. Along with her husband, Clayton, Latra was an ardent supporter of the Fairlawn Mansion and Museum; and into her 80s, she continued to work with youth at the Superior’s Boys & Girls Club. At church, Laura was involved as a choir member, a Lay Minister and a youth leader. At home she enjoyed baking delicious homemade pies, cookies, bread and meals for her family and friends who equally enjoyed eating them. Laura is survived by her children, Dea (Ken) JuVette of Gordon, Wis. and Rio Rancho, N.M., Beth (Gary) Good of Spokane Wash., and John (Kim) Bowden of Minneapolis; a foster son, Don (Shirley) Temby of Racine, Wis.; 12 grandchildren; 17 great- grandchildren; brothers, Henry (Winnie) Beglinger of Garden Grove, Calif., Robert (Sheryl) Beglinger of Wascott, Wis., and Lowell Beglinger of Wascott, Wis.; and sisters, Bea Larson of Duluth, Minn. and Sue (John) Karjala of Chantilly, Va. She was preceded in death by her husband, Clayton Bowden in 1992; a son, Clayton “Stoney” Bowden Jr. in 1988; and brothers and sisters, Bert Beglinger, Jr., Merriam-Kunert, and Elizabeth Vonsuskil. Her funeral service will be 11 a.m. Jan. 8 in Faith United Methodist Church with Rev. Joel Certa-Werner officiating. Visitation will be from 9:30 a.m. until the hour of service in the church. Burial will be in the Gordon Memorial Cemetery. Pallbearers will be Chris Good, Harry Bowden, Jerry Johnson, Rick Braun, and Bob and Lowell Beglinger. If desired, memorials in Laura’s name, maybe made to the Boys and Girls Club of Superior, 710 Catlin Ave., or the Faith United Methodist Church, 1531 Hughitt Ave., or to the Health Care Clinic, 2231 Catlin Ave., all of Superior, WI 54880. Downs Funeral Home, corner of 19th and Ogden, is assisting the family with arrangements.