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Published: Tuesday, 7/4/2006

Former pastor was Borneo missionary

The Rev. William M. Bouw, 88, a former community development official and a former pastor at Bethany Chapel in Neapolis who with his wife was a missionary in Indonesia for a decade, died Saturday in assisted living at the Parkcliffe Community after a long illness. The cause of death was not reported.

Mr. Bouw ran the South Toledo Conservation Office for the city's Department of Community Development in the 1970s in the old south end.

When the city closed the office, Mr. Bouw became an inmate counselor at the city's former workhouse near Whitehouse. He worked there for about five years until retiring in the mid-1980s.

Mr. Bouw was pastor of Bethany Chapel in Neapolis for several years from the mid-1970s through the early 1980s.

From 1950 until 1960, he and his wife, Grace, who were married in 1947, were missionaries in Borneo, Indonesia, for the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church. They lived among the Dyak, a group they were told had been headhunters a century earlier.

During that time, Mr. Bouw also collected samples of mold for a research lab of Eli Lilly Co., of Indianapolis. One of the samples he collected was developed into an antibiotic, vancomycin, in 1956, his son-in-law, Tim Donahue, said.

While Mr. Bouw traveled the interior, his wife maintained their headquarters, held services, and taught English to local women.

They left in 1960 because missionaries were being threatened by the government, Mr. Bouw said in a Blade interview in February.

They later ran a youth ministry in the Netherlands before moving to Toledo in 1965.

A native of New York City, Mr. Bouw, who grew on a family dairy farm in Pepacton, N.Y., held a theological degree from Nyack College in Nyack, N.Y.

Mr. Bouw was a member of Westgate Chapel of the Christian and Missionary Alliance.

Mrs. Bouw died in February.

Surviving are his daughters, Johanna Feustle, Beth Donahue, and Esther Peery; brothers, Henry and Jacob; seven grandchildren, and a great-granddaughter.

Services will be at 1 p.m. Thursday in the Ansberg West Funeral Home, where the body will be after 10 a.m. Thursday.

The family suggests tributes to the Hospice of Northwest Ohio or the Westgate Chapel of the Christian and Missionary Alliance retired missionaries' fund.

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