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Published: Thursday, 11/10/2005

Dairy farmer raised, milked Jersey cattle

ADDISON, Mich. - Harriet J. Bowman, 91, who helped her husband with the family dairy farm for more than 40 years, died Sunday in Herrick Manor, Tecumseh, Mich., where she'd been for about a week.

The cause of death was not known. Before a recent hospital stay, she lived independently at the family farmstead in Hillsdale County's Somerset Township, her son Joe said.

She and her late husband, Bernard, bred, raised, and milked registered Jersey dairy cattle for more than 40 years. In the thick of the Great Depression, they began the Walnut Hill Dairy, which offered whole, unpasteurized milk in glass bottles.

"You had to shake it up or stir it because the cream rose to the top," their son said.

The dairy made deliveries by horse and wagon to customers around Addison.

The poor economy didn't faze the couple.

"It was their nature: 'We can do it,'‚óŹ" their son said. "They were pretty strong-willed people and made it work."

Mrs. Bowman helped bottle the milk and then helped clean the returned bottles.

The dairy was in business about five years. But when authorities mandated pasteurization, the couple decided that the additional equipment would be too expensive and stopped bottling. But they continued milking for sale to a dairy until the late 1970s.

Her husband had a job off the farm, so she helped with milking and other duties.

In the 1980s, she worked at Lou Lou's Restaurant in Onsted, Mich., which was owned by daughter-in-law Mary Lou Bowman.

Mrs. Bowman and her husband married Oct. 21, 1935. He died July 30, 1979.

Surviving are her sons, Joe and John Bowman; daughters, Margie Crabtree, Marcia Comstock, and Lucinda Hallenbeck; brother Leroy Halliwill; sisters, Louise Ehlinger and Erma Furman; 18 grandchildren; 37 great-grandchildren, and seven great-great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 1 p.m. today in the Brown-Van Hemert Funeral Home, Addison.

The family suggests tributes to Addison Senior Citizens.



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