On the night of April 29, 1977, Margie Bowers ’75 was brutally stabbed to death in her Oak Park apartment by a man whom she scarcely knew, but feared.*
The murderer should have been in jail. Previously arrested for another killing, he pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. He was sent to a residential facility and later released after having been deemed mentally sound. The deplorable failure of the criminal justice system to protect Margie resulted in a public outcry. News coverage went nationwide; television cameras, lights, and reporters flanked the outside of the church at her funeral.
As a result of Margie’s death, Illinois laws were rewritten to better protect the rights of victims and society at large. Today, a murder suspect who pleads insanity can be found “guilty but insane,” giving judges the option, when appropriate, of ordering a prison sentence along with treatment.
Margie began life on April 12, 1952, in Liberia, the little sister to four older brothers (Louis, Robert ’61, Paul ’65, and Tom). She was a delight to her missionary parents, Louis and Virginia McQuilkin Bowers ’36. Margie loved singing, reading, and playing the guitar. A literature major at Wheaton, this MK was drawn toward leadership in the Student Missionary Project. After graduating from Wheaton, she spent a year serving in Liberia and then took a job at Moody Press in Chicago.
This issue of Wheaton includes an article about alumni, faculty, and staff who have been involved in producing the Bible in many languages and formats. Translators and sales reps, accountants and copyeditors,warehousemen and designers—countless numbers of the Wheaton family have worked in many different ways to publish the Word of God worldwide. Unfortunately, most are unknown to us. I write about my friend Margie so you can know her.
Margie was a manuscript editor for The Ryrie Study Bible when I worked for her as a freelance proofreader. She gained my respect for her intelligence and abilities, and I loved her sweet spirit, humor, and encouragement. Although her work on the study Bible was left unfinished, her contribution was nevertheless significant. Since 1978 more than 2.5 million copies have been sold around the world and in several translations.
As a student at Wheaton, Margie wrote in her diary this, her prayer: “To be a signet ring for God; to leave the imprint of Christ’s image when pressed into the circumstances of life.” Margie lived only 25 years. But in life—and in death—she left her mark on society and the church, and on the hearts of family and friends.
Georgia I. Douglass '70, M.A. '94