Merlin Graden Bowman 1934 - 2024

Merlin Graden Bowman was born June 10, 1934, in the back bedroom of his grandparents’ home in McFarland, California. He was the first baby delivered by Merlin M. Taggert, MD, hence his name.

Merlin attended schools in Delano, California, until his sophomore year, when he transferred to McFarland High School, graduating in 1952. He was raised on a cotton farm; after high school, he farmed on his own for three years. Merlin then volunteered for the Church of the Brethren for one year, where he met his first wife, Patsy. They returned to McFarland, and Merlin eventually entered the insurance business with Farm Bureau Insurance Company, later moving to Bakersfield, where he became an insurance broker. Merlin was involved in several organizations. He served as president of the Kern County Official Association, officiating H5 and college football for 18 years. He was involved in the Independent Insurance Agents Association of Bakersfield, serving as President. In Bakersfield, he coached and sponsored several Little League baseball teams. Additionally, Merlin was a Reserve Deputy for the Kern County Sheriff’s Department and helped start the first Sheriff Dog program in the San Joaquin Valley.

After retiring, he married Marti in 1984, moving one year later to McMinnville, Oregon. He was active in the Nazarene Church on the Hill for 34 years. Merlin was also active in rental management and served as president of several HOAs. Merlin enjoyed boating, buying and selling boats for several years, fishing for salmon in the mouth of the Columbia River for 38 years, and RVing.

Merlin passed peacefully on January 24, 2024, surrounded by family in Salem, Oregon. He was preceded in death by parents, Graden and Opal Bowman; and brother, Dwayne Bowman. He is survived by his wife, Marti; sister, Brenda Morris; children, Tammy, Randall (wife Deborah), and Vance (wife Alicia); 7 grandchildren, 8 great-grandchildren, and 4 great-great-grandchildren.

A Celebration of Life is scheduled for 12 pm on Tuesday, February 6th at South Salem Church of the Nazarene.


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