Dalene Bowden Obituary

Dalene Bowden, the woman who made international headlines in 2015 after she was fired from her job as a cafeteria worker with Pocatello/Chubbuck School District 25 just days before Christmas, died last Thursday.

POCATELLO — A Pocatello woman who made international headlines in 2015 after she was fired from her job as a middle school cafeteria worker just days before Christmas has died.

Dalene Bowden, 53, of Pocatello, died peacefully at her daughter Tabitha Bowden’s home last Thursday.

According to her obituary, Bowden “loved working as the lunch lady and as a cook at the Office (Bar and Grill). She loved to cook and made many meals for her mom, sisters, friends, daughter and grandchildren.”

Bowden was thrust into the spotlight when word of her story and its subsequent media coverage quickly went viral online.

Bowden was terminated from her position as a lunch lady by the Pocatello-Chubbuck School District 25 after she gave a free hot lunch to a student at Irving Middle School. The girl did not have enough money to pay for the $1.70 lunch.

After her firing, more than 50,000 people signed an online petition demanding that she be reinstated. School District 25 did eventually offer Bowden a kitchen position — but not at Irving Middle School. Bowden declined the offer.

Moreover, Bowden’s family set up a GoFundMe.comaccount in late December 2015 to help Bowden recover from her job loss. More than 800 people donated more than $21,000 via{/span} {span}GoFundMe.com{/span} {span}to benefit the unemployed lunch lady.{/span}

{p dir=”ltr”}{span}Dwayne Clark, CEO and founder of Aegis Living, a chain of assisted living centers, contacted Bowden on Christmas Eve 2015 and donated $15,000 to her cause.{/span}

{p dir=”ltr”}{span}The story about Bowden’s firing was picked up by the Daily Mail in the United Kingdom, Fox News, “Inside Edition,” TV stations nationwide, Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze channel and media throughout Idaho. For a time in late December 2015 and early January 2016, her story was the No. 1 trending topic on Facebook nationwide.{/span}

{p dir=”ltr”}{span}Bowden told the Journal in 2017 that her firing and the money she received afterward “turned out to be a nightmare,” dividing her family and causing her much anxiety.{/span}

{p dir=”ltr”}{span}In her obituary, the family expressed thanks to a hospice group that provided care for Bowden and her family during her last days.{/span}

{p dir=”ltr”}{span}Born to Dale and Sharon Bowden on Nov. 18, 1964, Bowden was the youngest of five children. She graduated from Highland High School, then from beauty school at Idaho State University and opened her own salon at the Thunderbird Motel. She married and later divorced Mark Jacaway. They had two children, Taylor and Tabitha.{/span}

{p dir=”ltr”}{span}As per Bowden’s request, she will be cremated and no funeral services will be held. A celebration of life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, Bowden’s family would like to express their sincerest gratitude for financial contributions and support during this difficult time.{/span}

{p dir=”ltr”}{span}“Dalene always loved being the center of attention and the life of the party while cutting hair, skating, socializing, or just being Day,” the obituary said. “She had many friends and family members who spent many hours and drove many miles to see her, especially in the last week. She touched all of their lives in some special way.”{/span}