Tara Bowie was an award-winning Black Press journalist. Photo Facebook

Former Black Press journalist, killed in crash, was living her dream

Tara Bowie was on sabbatical from the news industry, and enjoying life

Just hours before she died on Friday, Nov. 6, Tara Bowie was literally living her dream.

She was kayaking, on a solo trip at a lake near Cawston, posting pictures of the view to her Facebook page and lamenting – as she usually did – that the fish weren’t biting.

This year, she’d repeatedly told her crowd, was the best of her life.

That ended at 8 p.m when she was killed in a single-vehicle crash on Highway 3.

The news shocked and deeply saddened family, friends and former newspaper colleagues across the country.

“Tara’s next big adventure was finding herself and living life to the fullest,” said her sister, Rhonda Carter.

Bowie was a Black Press journalist, editor of the Keremeos Review, and writer for the Similkameen Spotlight and Penticton Western News from 2014 to 2019.

She left the industry on sabbatical and spent that time taking huge, juicy bites out of life.

She travelled extensively, said friend Kim English, across the western provinces and abroad. Sometimes packing up her bags at the last minute and making up the itinerary as she went.

“She was an adventurer,” said English. “She wasn’t daunted by anything. If someone said, ‘Let’s go to the Yukon,’ at the drop of a hat Tara would say, ‘Yes, let’s go to the Yukon.’

“On a dime, she was ready for a road trip.”

English said Bowie fell “passionately and deeply in love” in B.C. after moving here six years ago from Ontario, where she last worked as a reporter for the daily Sentinel-Review in Woodstock.

The village of Keremeos felt her impact enormously.

In an interview on Nov. 9, fire chief Jordy Bosscha struggled for words to express how department volunteers, who were called out to the scene of her death, are trying to cope with the loss.

“She was always there to help us. She was always a supporter.”

Following the Keremeos area wildfires in 2018, Bowie organized an appreciation dinner for the firefighters, raising considerable funds for new equipment for the hall.

“I wanted to write something about Tara, but I’m not a wordsmith,” said Bosscha.

“When it is someone who was that close to us there are just so many emotions.”

Keremeos Mayor Manfred Bauer also had praise for the former editor.

“She was a warmhearted person, as a human being. And as a journalist, she always had an open mind and was fair.”

Her contributions to the community will be felt for years to come, he added, recalling it was Bowie who spearheaded a project to create and place banners along the main street, and who brought innovative, successful ideas to the Chamber of Commerce in her role as a director.

Bauer also spoke warmly of Bowie’s mother Nancy Birtch, whom he met several times when she visited from Ontario. During Birtch’s extended stays, her daughter usually took her along to the office on workdays.

When The Review office closed, Bowie worked from the Penticton Western News office. Her former editor Kristi Patton said she learned much from that opportunity.

“What I learned from Tara is that your value in life is not just defined by what you do as a career. We had many discussions about this after we both left the news business. Discussions about the difficulties that we, and many of our fellow journalists have, covering tragic situations. Discussions about how every accident, fire, court case etc. can leave a scar on you,” Patton wrote in a guest column for Black Press.

“I will forever be in remorse that I didn’t make more time to be around her shining light, the enormous energy and loud voice that was impossible to ignore in our newsroom. I will not forget the smile and the ear she offered even in the most stressful times.”

Hundreds of people have posted on social media, expressing their grief and admiration for Bowie.

They speak about her gift of empathy, and a heart the size of K-Mountain.

“Tara had the ability to genuinely enter people’s lives and circles of the community and form really deep friendships with people from all walks of life,” said English.

“She was super generous and curious, hilarious and thoughtful and incredibly tender-hearted.”

Bowie was a proud member of the LGBT community and made special efforts to connect with young people in that group.

“One of her most precious tokens was her rainbow ring and it was really important for her to wear that. The rainbow is a symbol of pride and she felt it was important, to let young people know that she was an ally,” expressed English.

Despite all the people in Bowie’s life her obituary, written by her sister, identifies her best friend as her dog Heddie.

Memorial services for Bowie are being planned in Ontario, and a private service will be held in the Similkameen Valley in the near future.

READ MORE: Former Black Press journalist killed in crash

To report a typo, email:
publisher@similkameenspotlight.com
.



andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria police arrested a man in a Yates Street grocery store Nov. 27 after he refused to wear a mask. (Black Press Media File photo)
Belligerent man arrested in Victoria grocery store after refusing to wear mask

Officers fined the man $230 under the COVID-19 Related Measures Act

The Town of Sidney will receive $2.75 million in direct grant support from the provincial government to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. A report before council Monday recommends a “cautious and measured approach” in using the funds. (Black Press Media File)
Staff suggest Sidney be cautious spending $2.75 million from province

Staff also warn of financial ‘uncertainty’ and raise prospect of tax increase

North Saanich will encourage but not force residents to burn outdoor waste on days with good venting index. (Black Press Media File)
North Saanich fires up comprehensive strategy report on outdoor burning, green waste disposal

North Saanich to encourage but not require residents to burn only on days with good venting index

A 43-year-old woman is facing charges for impaired driving and leaving the scene of a crash after attempting to flee from police by driving down the beach in front of the Oak Bay Marina on Nov. 23. (Oak Bay Police/Twitter)
Victoria woman drives over seawall onto beach near Oak Bay Marina

Driver faces charges for fleeing crash, refusing breathalyzer test

Friends with Dorothy opens in Victoria.
LGBT2Q+ lounge Friends with Dorothy opens second location in Victoria

The Kelowna-based lounge plans to open in Victoria mid-December

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks along the seawall in North Vancouver Wednesday, November 25, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
911 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths as B.C. sees deadliest week since pandemic began

Hospitalizations reach more than 300 across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

West Vancouver Island’s Ehattesaht First Nation continues lock down after 9 active cases were reported today after a visitor tested positive last week. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Ehattesaht First Nation’s COVID-19 nightmare: nine active cases, a storm and a power outage

The Vancouver Island First Nation in a lockdown since the first case was reported last week

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)
Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Freighter anchored off Kin Beach in Chemainus. (Photo by Don Bodger)
MP to host expert panel for virtual town hall on freighter anchorages issue

Residents can participate through MacGregor’s website or Facebook page Dec. 3

Most Read