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Bill Bowman and Shelbia Otte have been named the 2016 East Sparta Persons of the Year.
Bowman has lived in his entire life in East Sparta -- all 86 years. He worked in heavy equipment construction for 50 years, retiring from Chapman Construction. He was married to his sweetheart Patsy for 62 years. She died in 2012.
They had two sons, Scot (married to Mary) and Todd (married to Becky.) He also has six grandsons. Bill says he never got to hold a little girl on his lap.
Bowman has been a member of the Isaac Kinney Post 244 American Legion for 15 years. He has been chairman of the Boys and Girls State Program since 2008. He is proud that Post 244 has sent more students to this program than any other school of the size of Sandy Valley High School. Since Bowman has been chairman of the program, more than 200 students have been sent to the program. Through the generosity of the local sponsors an average of 25 students are sent to the program yearly.
Bowman is also Sergeant of Arms for the legion at military funerals. He has also helped the East Sparta Civic Association with its monthly community suppers for the past six years.
Bowman is a life member of Local 18 of the Ohio Operating Engineers Union. He is a member of the Shepherd of the Valley Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sandyville where he is a member of their choir.
Otte made her home in East Sparta, along with her husband Richard of 57 years, in 1963. They raised two daughters, Susan (Robert) Pariano, R. Marguerite (Donald) Nicholson and one son, Richard Otte II.
Otte is also a grandmother of two granddaughters, Chloe, of Coshocton, and Meggie, of East Sparta.
Otte has been a member of St. Mary's of Morges since 1959 and she still attends. She has been a homemaker for 57 years and has been involved in many volunteer activities in the community. She has helped making pies and helping at East Sparta Civic dinners. Otte is a charter member of the East Sparta Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary.
Bowman and Otte will be featured in the annual East Sparta Homecoming Parade on Friday, June 24. They will also be presented with a Person of the Year plaque at Friday's homecoming program.