After sending all seven sons on missions, Guy and Gertrude Bowler of Gunlock, Utah, wanted to serve a mission themselves. She retired as a postal worker in November 1995. By Christmas, their missionary papers had been turned in. Ordinance workers in the St. George Temple for four years, they were called to serve in the Chicago Illinois Temple.
"We decided it was payback time to the Lord for all our blessings," said Sister Bowler. "Of course, we will never pay it back; we are in too far."They enjoy working in the Chicago temple. "The experience is just great. We couldn't ask for anything better," she said. "We are needed, and we have been accepted and welcomed; the people are wonderful."
When they decided to go on a mission, they also made another decision – to postpone for a year the celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary, which would occur while they were on their mission.
But on their anniversary, the temple presidency, including Pres. Willard B. Barton, held a quiet party with a cake for the Bowlers. They were then asked to conduct a temple session and were expecting a routine day ahead. Shortly before the session started, however, Pres. Barton told the couple that a package had arrived for them. He led the curious couple to the baptistry. There, waiting for them, dressed in white, were their seven sons and their three daughters and eight of the spouses.
"It came as a total surprise," said Sister Bowler. "I was so surprised I don't know what I did. I hugged my husband and we were both crying, then we all hugged."
After the greeting, their family members were prepared to go through the session the Bowlers were about to conduct. So the session became a family session, observed on the 50th wedding anniversary of Brother and Sister Bowler, and a reminder of the eternal nature of families.
"I don't even know how to express the feeling it was to have all our children worthy and in the temple together," said Sister Bowler.
"It was a wonderful feeling."