Coping with Grief
We would like to offer our sincere support to anyone coping with grief. Enter your email below for our complimentary daily grief messages. Messages run for up to one year and you can stop at any time. Your email will not be used for any other purpose.
Michael John Bowling, 76, of Yorkville, Illinois, passed away on November 13, 2023 at his home surrounded by his loving family.
Mike, as he was known to his friends and family, was born in Marshall, Michigan, on November 16th, 1946 to Robert and Eloise Bowling. He spent his youth on the family farm in Tekonsha, Michigan, living in the house built by his father. Time spent outdoors in rural Michigan, as well as winter travel to Englewood, Florida, instilled a lifelong love of the outdoors and physical activity for Mike.
Mike attended Tekonsha High School where he met the love of his life, Patricia (Patty) Millard. Mike excelled in athletics, lettering in football, basketball, and baseball. After graduation in 1965, Mike worked in construction until an employer recognized his potential and convinced him to use his aptitude to develop bigger projects. Mike enrolled at Tri-State College (now Trine University) and received his degree in civil engineering.
Called to service, Mike enrolled in the United States army in 1971, rising to the rank of Specialist 5. After completing basic training, Mike was later deployed to Oklahoma and Germany and was decorated for his exemplary service.
After his honorable discharge from the army in 1973, Mike returned home and began a career in civil engineering. A job opportunity from the Central Illinois Light Company (CILCO) brought Mike and his family to central Illinois, in 1977. Mike’s employers recognized his hard work and integrity, and he soon rose through the company as a leader, eventually becoming vice president of operations.
While raising his family in the Chillicothe area, Mike made significant contributions to his community. He was a prominent member of St. Edward’s church, serving as a member of the church council and coaching the girls basketball team and co-ed soccer team. Later, as his children got older, he served the Illinois Valley Central #321 school district as a Board of Education member, and a term as board president. Mike strove to promote effective management of school resources, while ensuring that the best educational opportunities were available to all children in the district.
An early retirement from CILCO in 2000 did not last long, and Mike took over the role of president of Utility Services Corp (USC). While in that position, Mike grew the company until it was later sold to Asplundh Construction.
An avid outdoorsman, Mike loved any activity that allowed him to be in nature. He had a magical touch with plants, and managed an enormous garden and orchard at their home. Mike particularly loved fishing, bicycle riding, and golf, and taught these activities to his children and grandchildren. Mike and Patty were passionate about travel, and together they visited six continents experiencing culture, history, and geography from all over the world.
After his second retirement, Mike and Patty relocated to Venice, Florida, which provided Mike the opportunity to golf, fish, and bike year round as well as providing the home base for their continued pursuit of travel.
Mike and Patty returned to Illinois in 2021 to be closer to family.
Remaining to cherish Mike’s memory are his devoted wife of 55 years, Patty Bowling; his son, Neal Bowling, and daughter-in-law, Jennifer of Mackinaw, IL; daughter, Sarah Valek (nee Bowling) and son-in-law, Brian of Plainfield, IL; and five grandchildren, Parker Valek, Owen Valek, Ava Valek, Drayson Bowling, and Bronwyn Bowling. His siblings; brother Tony Bowling (Kay) of Tekonsha,MI, sister Marilyn Powers of Marshall, MI, and sister Carolyn Bowling of Tekonsha, MI. Mike was adored by many and did not know a stranger.
Preceding Mike in death are his parents, Robert and Eloise Bowling, his infant daughter Angela Bowling, and infant son Adam Bowling.
Visitation will be held on Sunday November 19th 3:00-6:00 p.m. at Bauman Family Funeral Home in Oswego,IL. Funeral Service will follow at 6:00 p.m. Private interment, with military honors, will be held at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood,IL.
Memorial donations can be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Mike’s name. Donations can be made via PayPal or Venmo @nealbowling. Checks can be made to St. Jude Runs.