James Mason and Cynthia Elizabeth (Thornton) Bowling Family
Contributed by Nanelle (Bowling) Kelemen
My parents, James Mason and Cynthia Elizabeth (Thornton) Bowling, were part of the Athens community for many years. Dad was born in Princeton on August 9, 1912 and attended school there. He then attended Concord College where he was a member of the Phi Sigma Phi fraternity. He worked in sales before joining the Air Force. During World War II he was stationed on the Aleutian Island. James or “Boney” as he was often called, returned to Athens after the war. He worked at the Princeton Airport and at Celanese before retiring in 1972. After retirement he enjoyed taking care of the property and livestock on the Dickinson - Bowling Farm. The farm was a favorite destination for the extended family and Athens friends during the 1960s. Dad passed away on December 12, 2002.
Elizabeth, my mother, was born April 24, 1915 in Tazewell. Her family moved to Athens in 1922. She attended elementary and high school in Athens and later received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Concord College. She began a teaching career in Spanishburg and later taught in several other local schools. Mom and Dad were married the day after Christmas in 1939. I am one of two daughters. When my sister Mary and I started school, Mom returned to teaching. Our family was active in the Athens United Methodist Church. Mom died February 8, 1994 following a stroke suffered the year before.
I attended Concord before leaving Athens in1963. I resided in Richmond, VA until 1973 when I married and moved to Atlanta, Georgia. I began my career with the Federal Government in 1992. I started with the FDIC, then FDA, next was FEMA, a brief stay at the VA and then back to FEMA and my final resting place is the CDC. I plan on retiring next year and moving back to West Virginia and the family farm with my sister Mary and her husband Ken Graybeal. Mary and Ken said I can have a pig and that was the deciding factor. I have enjoyed living in Richmond and Atlanta, but think I will enjoy West Virginia more at this stage of my life.
Mary was active in several clubs in high school. She was elected “Halloween Queen” and “Miss Trojan.” She attended Concord College for a while before transferring to East Tennessee State University. It was at ETSU that she met Kenneth Wayne Graybeal, Jr. Ken had attended Georgia Military Academy in Atlanta. Ken and Mary were married on June 16, 1968. After Ken received his MBA he taught for a year before joining a stock brokerage film in Johnson City. Mary completed her degree in social services and worked at the Department of Welfare before starting a family. Ken and Many have two daughters, Sydney Elizabeth and Lindsey James.
Sydney Elizabeth Graybeal graduated from East Tennessee State University (ETSU) in 1995 and moved to Chicago in 1996. She has a career in Pharmaceutical Sales. Lindsey graduated from Georgia State in 2003 with a degree in Anthropology. Lindsey and James Kearney married on March 22, 2011. James is manager of the wine department at the Trader Joe's Store in Bulkhead - Atlanta, Georgia. Lindsey works part time at the Belk Department Store at Phipps Plaza.
I am looking forward to returning to Athens and enjoying a more laid back environment. I remember growing up in a neighborhood that for the most part had an open door policy. Our family never knew “who was coming to dinner.” Our home and those of our neighbors were open; most people didn’t even know where their front door keys were placed. That was the Athens we knew.
Nanelle (Bowling) Kelemen
July 25, 2013