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

Bulldogs forward Brandon Buhr is knocked off the puck by Grizzlies defenceman Lindsay Reid. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs beaten back-to-back by Victoria Grizzlies

Victoria Grizzlies named Island Champions while Bulldogs take second place

In 1903, if you were looking north down First Avenue with Alberni in the distance, this is what you would have seen. Scattered houses along River Road are visible, as is the corner of Watson Block building in the lower lefthand corner of the photograph. This photo is part of the 24,000 online collection of the Alberni Valley Museum. View this one and more at https://portalberni.pastperfectonline.com. (PHOTO PN02975 COURTESY ALBERNI VALLEY MUSEUM)
LOOK BACK: Historic street scenes of Port Alberni

Take a peek back in time with the Alberni Valley Museum’s digital archives

This photo shows Franklin River Camp "B" circa 1940. Logging was started in the Franklin River area by Bloedel, Stewart & Welch in 1934. This is one of 42 photos of the Franklin River area, donated together in an album put together by the donor's husband, Stanley Young. Young worked as a highrigger in the Franklin River area from 1939-46. This is one of 24,000 photos contained in the Alberni Valley Museum’s digital archives, available for public viewing at https://portalberni.pastperfectonline.com. (PHOTO PN10830 COURTESY ALBERNI VALLEY MUSEUM)
LOOK BACK: Logging along Franklin River

Take a peek at Alberni Valley history with the Alberni Valley Museum

Getting enough Vitamin D can be challenging for Canadians, especially during winter months. (CONTRIBUTED)
ACTIVE LIVING: The ‘sunshine vitamin’ plays a vital role in our health

Port Alberni registered dietitian Sandra Gentleman writes about health issues

Courtenay-Alberni NDP MP Gord Johns gives a thumbs up to active transportation during a presentation of the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce's Bike SEAT program at McLean Mill National Historic site in Port Alberni on April 16, 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
QUINN’S QUIPS: MP Gord Johns takes victory ride for cycling strategy

Johns gained a reputation as the bicycle-riding MP during his first year

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Oak Bay resident Hugh Thompson died Friday, May 7. (GoFundMe photo)
Oak Bay dad dies mountain biking near Shawnigan Lake

Community rallies around family with online fundraiser

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds are in the Comox Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Suspected bird strike on Snowbirds plane during training in Comox

Pilot followed protocols and landed the aircraft on the ground without any problems

The Village on Third in Nanaimo won the Judges’ Choice award as top overall entry at the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards. (Photo submitted)
Top developments north of the Malahat honoured by Vancouver Island Real Estate Board

Nanaimo’s Village on Third takes top honour at VIREB Commercial Building Awards

BCIT. (Wikimedia Commons)
BCIT apologizes after employee’s ‘offensive and hurtful’ email leaked to Métis Nation

BCIT says employee’s conduct has been investigated and addressed

An adult male yellow-breasted chat is shown in this undatd photograph on lands protected in collaboration between the En’owkin Centre and Penticton Indian Band with support through ECCC. The rescue from near extinction for a little yellow bird hinges on the wild rose in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, a researcher says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, A. Michael Bezener/ En’owkin Centre 2020 *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Rare yellow birds need wild roses to survive in British Columbia: researcher

The importance of local wild roses emerged over a nearly 20-year experiment

RCMP officers search around rows of luggage carts as screens block off an area of the sidewalk after a shooting outside the international departures terminal at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Police say gang conflict in Metro Vancouver may be behind shooting death at airport

Police said this generation of gangsters is taking things to new level and have no regard for community safety

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read