One can always tell the true character of a man by the way he sits his horse, and Charlie could sit a horse; straight and strong, yet confident and at ease with the animal.
Charlie was the fifth of six children born to Clem and Anna Bamberg Bowers on the family homestead on Trout Creek, near York in 1920.
He attended a one room school and rode a colt to get there. He graduated from Helena High and attended one year of Carrol College which was not “his thing”.
Work at the Golden Messenger mine was his next step and he began buying a few Hereford heifers.
With his dad Clem, Charlie acquired his first piece of land at Lakeside.
All his life Charlie loved country dances, which is where he met Margo, a cute little recent nursing graduate. It was New Year’s Eve at York in 1942 and they married soon afterwards.
Thus began a life-long trip together in establishing their family ranch.
Daughter Jan joined the family the next year. More cows and other pieces of land followed including Soup Creek, The Binney Place, The Park and Eldorado, Jim Ball Basin, and Upper Beaver Creek.
In the mid 1960s the ranch was sold as Jan was moving away and Margo wanted to live closer to a community to use her nursing skills.
Shortly after, the couple purchased a smaller ranch at Hall that Charlie could manage himself.
He tried Black Angus cows this time.
After Margo passed away in 1986, he moved to Missoula and built a new house with the help of son in-law Rick and Jan.
He then began dancing again and had custom made cowboy boots just for dancing. Also in his mid-80s he learned to play the bass guitar and by then was a pretty good cook.
He is survived by Jan and Rick Petaja of Missoula, granddaughters Jill (Matt Nowak) and Sarah (Craig Yabui) and great-grandchildren Ella Nowak, Carson and Megan Yabui all of the Portland area; his sister Elisabeth Harris, 100 of Grand Junction, Colorado, plus very special friend Gwen Thibodeau, other good friends including Dave Sell and Ruth Voorhees.
Charlie passed away April 22, 2018, at his home of natural causes at age 97 years old.
His family wishes to thank all of his caregivers for their compassion and comfort including: Dr. Reid, Dr. Autio and staff, Wound care clinic, Partners-in-home care, Home Instead, and Harvest Home Care.
No services are planned at Charlie’s specific request. Burial has taken place, next to Margo, at New Chicago Cemetery, Drummond, Montana.