Keizer resident a new businesswoman at 88

SALEM — An 88-year-old Keizer woman has launched her own business.

Marge Bowder began running Keizer Postcards out of her home about a year ago, but she took time to grieve after her husband of 63 years died Oct. 28, 2009.

This fall she has begun again, keeping her postcards Keizer-centric with pictures of local hot spots. "I'm writing a story — the story of Keizer," Bowder said.

She's got the business experience and sense of community to get the enterprise humming.

She and her husband, once owners of Climate Control Glass, won the Merchant of the Year honor in 1979. She co-founded Keizer Art Association in 1977 and is president of another nonprofit group, Keizer Community Services Center, which supports the senior citizen community.

She volunteered for Keizer Junior Miss for years, persuading merchants to donate.

Bowder's not focused on any of that: "I put everything away from the past and live in the present."

She also deflects the credit for her successes and the rising interest in her new business. "I'm in full force because I've got all the Keizer community involved," Bowder said. She does have a lot of people behind her.

Her daughter, Jacqueline Lusk, and her friend Bonnie Dunn have been shooting photos for the postcards. "For her to do all this stuff and all the things she remembers at her age, it's really remarkable," Dunn said.

Bowder is under the mentorship of a former city councilman, Jerry McGee. He offers advice on everything from what to put on the postcards to how to market them. He also sold a few of the 50-cent postcards for her while he was marketing his books at a recent holiday bazaar.

LazerQuick printed her first postcard — of the Thomas Dove Keizur statue — for free. Her nine grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren support her, one of them setting up her business' Facebook page.

Her spirit is why she is successful and liked, said Meals on Wheels volunteer Bill Howell. "She's my favorite on the route," Howell said. "I'll go in, and we'll speak for 10 to 15 minutes. She's got a dynamic personality. It's just fun to visit with her. She's got all kinds of good ideas."

She's got a list of ideas for her next batch of postcards: Keizer Heritage Community Center, Keizer Rotary Amphitheater and Miracle of Christmas lights display in the Gubser neighborhood.

She cannot wait to get started. "The first one was the hardest," she said. "I can make another in a wink."

Content with her Facebook page and word-of-mouth networking. Her work station is her kitchen table or snuggled in her favorite armchair with papers in her lap, surrounded with shelves full of family pictures and books such as "Treasure Island" and the Merck Manual.

She smiles often, especially when surrounded with family and friends.

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