Haruko ‘Helen’ Hokama Bowar

On the evening of July 6, 2017, Helen passed away from natural causes in her home. Helen was 87 years old.

Helen Bowar was born on the Big Island of Hawaii on March 31, 1930, to Kamato and Uto Hokama. She was the eighth child, out of ten, in the Hokama family. Her parents and older siblings had migrated from Okinawa, Japan.

Helen was born a character. Her family always laughs about how she could never sit still. Being one of the youngest in the family, she was often scolded by the elders, even in their older years.

Helen lived on the Big Island of Hawaii until she was five. Even though she was very young, she could still remember many highlights of this time. The family moved to the island of Oahu, where they had a grocery store. Everyone in the family was expected to work in the store. It was very hard work, but Helen was born a hard worker.

Helen experienced the bombing of Pearl Harbor. She was approximately three miles from the area during the attack. It was a very difficult time for her and her family since they were of Japanese descent but she often said that they did not experience the prejudice like on the mainland.

After graduating from high school, she worked in her brother’s restaurant called the Wiki Wiki. It meant fast fast. This is where she met Ken Bowar. Ken was a young man from Faulkton, SD. He was in the United States Air Force and stationed in Oahu. It was a fast and romantic courtship. They were married on March 21, 1953. 

They moved to Miles City, MT to be close to Ken’s sister and her family. This was a big transition for Helen, but her feisty spirit would not dampen. She worked in the Miles City Bakery for many years. She enjoyed getting to visit with the regulars and being in a very upbeat and fast moving environment.

Helen and Ken adopted their daughter, Treba in 1963 and son Larry in 1965. Her children always felt blessed to have such a unique mom. Helen probably made over a million cookies for her kids and their friends. During this time, she worked for George Holom at Mayflower. She enjoyed the great perk of going out to lunch with the crew.

She and Ken loved to travel. They went from one end of the country to the other, checking out Larry’s job sites.

She loved bowling and put on many miles going to tournaments around the state with friends. Another passion was golfing. She was a long time member of the Miles City Country Club. Her biggest enjoyment was her yard. With the help of her dear friends, George and Maggie Holom, she was able to keep it immaculate! Her payment to George, for all the mowing, was fried rice. It was a pretty good deal.

Another joy for mom was walking to the Blue Moon. She was able to take her walk, spend time with people who cared about her, and gamble. It was a win, win, win!

Sacred Heart Church provided a community of friends that she loved. She appreciated dear friends such as Diane Hathaway and many others who went out of their way to keep her connected in the city.

Helen was very close to all her grandkids. They loved her spunky personality and no nonsense attitude. She was always up for a game of Yahtzee. She was very competitive at everything and gave it her all no matter what the age of her opponent was. Her grandkids appreciated being treated like an equal.

Helen was preceded in death by her husband Ken Bowar and her granddaughter Kalie Bowar.

Helen is survived by her children Treba (Matt) Hollowell of Billings, Larry Bowar of Belgrade and grandchildren April and Ryan Berger, Janie and Bon Hollowell, and great-grandchild Ezo Evans.

Visitation will be held on Monday, July 10, 2017 at Stevenson & Sons Funeral Home with family receiving friends from 4:00-6:00 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Tuesday, July 11, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Rite of Committal will follow in the Calvary Cemetery.

Condolences may sent to the family by visiting www.stevensonandsons.com.

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