Paula (Polly) Lynn Cox Bowers


Paula (Polly) Lynn Cox Bowers, 84.

Polly’s journey began on September 10, 1937 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she was born to James Albert Cox and Mary Painter Cox. During her journey, she proved to be an excellent student. She skipped 7th grade and half a school year in high school. Her father, Jim, a graduate of Maryville College (1929), had enrolled her in Maryville College, class of 1960, after taking a bus from Philadelphia to leave her family in Sharps Chapel, Tennessee, where she was born.

When Polly arrived at Maryville College in 1955, her academic record was so impressive that she was allowed to skip half a year of college. Due to her thirst for learning and her excellent academic record, she graduated with honors with the class of 1958.

While at Maryville College, she met a “townie” student, Wilburn Rufus Bowers, fell in love, married and had her first child, Scott Allen Bowers, days after graduating. Scott has always boasted of having graduated from college twice. She and Rufus had a second child, Meelora (Lori) Ann, in 1959. A full family, the journey continued.

She started her career as a medical laboratory technician. However, once she entered that first class of grade 7 students and started teaching life sciences, there was no turning back. She spent 45 years in the teaching field. She taught in North Carolina, California, Florida, Virginia, Arizona (she taught sewing), California, Seoul Korea, Subic Bay Philippines, California, New Orleans, and her last stop was back in California where she retired in 2005.

While in the Philippines, she taught high school graduation classes and eventually became principal of Central Texas College, which offered high school graduation classes and associated college degrees. Later, while living in New Orleans, she was again asked to be the principal of Central Texas College for the Bahamas Islands, Puerto Rico and the various warships stationed in the area. She has taught at all levels, from kindergarten to college, but whenever the opportunity arose, she always chose grade 7 science.

Her travels have taken her to every country in Europe, Southeast Asia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, China, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, Burma and the 50 states of this great country, the United States of America.

She has always been actively involved in PEO, The Bible Class Friendsville Fellowship, and enjoyed working in the Maryville College Archives. In 2018, she self-published a book, “Echoes on the Hilltop”, which was the result of her intensive research on Margaret Henry.

Her family, academic and travel earthly journey ended on November 04, 2021. After living a full and amazing earthly life, she is now beginning a new and wonderful journey of eternal life with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

She is survived by her best friend and partner on this journey, her husband of 64 years, USMC retiree Colonel Wilburn Rufus Bowers. Furthermore, she leaves her loving and caring daughter, Meelora Bowers Zerick, to continue. Her son, Scott Allen Bowers, predeceased her in 2012 and surely greeted her at the end of the trip.

He also remains to celebrate his life his three grandsons, Sam Bowers and Gray Bowers of California and Tanner Zerick of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Never wanting to be called grandma, the boys all called her “Lola”, a loving Filipino term for grandma. This too was so fitting as she was a Filipino quarterback. She is also survived by her sister, Judy Harbison of Blue Bell, Pennsylvania; brother, Jeffrey Cox of Fontana, California; many nieces and nephews and finally all these wonderful friends from all over the world.

All who knew her will be sadly missed and you should be considered blessed to have known her. Rest in Peace Polly, Mum, Mrs. Bowers, Aunt Polly, Lola, you had a great run and brought joy and inspiration to everyone who knew you. You deserved the rest, Your loving family.

A memorial service will be held on November 20, 2021 at 3:00 pm at the New Providence Presbyterian Church, 703 W. Broadway Ave., Maryville, TN 37801. Family will meet friends after the service.

(A recording of the service will be available at a later date)

In lieu of flowers, the family asks you to donate in Polly’s memory to Maryville College, Class of 1958 Scholarship Fund, 502 W Lamar Alexander Parkway, Maryville, TN 37804 or VFW POST 1924, 1175 Old Stage Rd, Fallbrook , CA 92028. Done Properly ™ Cremation under the care of Dotson Funeral Home, Maryvilee, TN. (865-984-5959) Online condolences:


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