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B. MASON BOWEN SR., 77, CHAIRMAN OF REAL ESTATE AND INSURANCE FIRM, DIES

B. Mason Bowen Sr., 77, of Buffalo and Eden, chairman of the real estate and insurance firm of Gurney, Becker and Bourne, died Tuesday (Dec. 30, 1997) in Buffalo General Hospital after an illness of four months.

Born in Buffalo, Bowen received his education at Nichols School, Brown University and the University of Buffalo.

He served as an ambulance driver in northern Africa and Italy during World War II and was nominated for the Croix du Guerre.

Bowen began his career at Gurney, Overturf and Becker in 1946. He was president of Gurney, Becker and Bourne from 1972 to 1984 and chairman until his death.

His interests included church, community and outdoor activities. He served on the vestry and as senior warden of Trinity Episcopal Church. He was a leader of the Stewardship Committee and the Planned Giving Committee and a member of the Wednesday Morning Men's Prayer Group.

Bowen also served on the board of directors of the Episcopal Church Home Foundation of Western New York for more than 25 years. His work on the foundation's Steering Committee and as president was credited with improving elderly care in the community.

He was honored this fall in Buffalo by the Episcopal Church Home as "distinguished honoree" at the annual Philanthropist of the Year awards luncheon.

Bowen was a past president of Brent Manor and Compass House and, at the time of his death, was vice chairman of the Episcopal Church Home, president of Buffalo Cremation Co. and board member of Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute.

He was a past dean of the Saturn Club and a member of Pack Club and Clarksburg Country Club.

Bowen was a livelong outdoorsman who enjoyed waterfowling, fishing and skeet shooting. He was a member of Ducks Unlimited and the Flight Club of Port Rowan, Ont.

Upon hearing of his death, a hunting friend said: "The ducks and geese of the Atlantic Flyway can breathe a sigh of relief."

Survivors include his wife of 51 years, the former Jean Sikes Gurney; two daughters, Sally B. Wylie of Concord, Mass., and Jeanie B. Hayes; a son, B. Mason "Bim" Jr. of Eden; and six grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday in Trinity Episcopal Church, 371 Delaware Ave.

[Hudkins].

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