Friends surprise Council Bluffs man with 90 foam candles for his birthday

Friends surprise Council Bluffs man with 90 foam candles for his birthday
Bob Bowman had a yard filled with 90 colorful large foam candles to celebrate his birthday. COURTNEY UPAH/WORLD-HERALD NEWS SERVICE

COUNCIL BLUFFS — When Council Bluffs resident Bob Bowman returned from church Monday, he discovered a colorful surprise.

Bowman, whose 90th birthday was Monday, found 90 birthday candles in his front yard. The candles, which were made from foam pool noodles, were put there by his friends from First Christian Church.

Fellow church member Wendy Fairbanks was the main candle creator.

“I wanted to do something special for Bob,” she said. “Not many people get to be 90, and Bob and Betty are special people, and I wanted to do something good for them.”

Bob and his wife, Betty, spent his birthday with family members from Wisconsin and California. They spent four days enjoying festivities in the Omaha-Council Bluffs area.

The candle design was found on Pinterest after 90 pink flamingos could not be found.

Fairbanks cut pool noodles in half with an electric knife. Foam paper was glued on top for the flame, and each candle was held down with garden sticks.

Debbie Gordon, church and community member, made the sign that was put on the Bowmans’ garage for a special birthday surprise.

Friends and relatives also sent cards and called to wish Bob happy birthday. Betty said around 140 cards were received, and although a lot of phone calls came in, it was not as many as 140.

“We feel very fortunate, and have been blessed,” Bob said.

The couple grew up together in Cowgill, Missouri, and they were married in the same city. Bob worked in the insurance industry for 42 years, and in 1971, his job transferred him to Council Bluffs.

Since moving, they have grown to love their community and neighbors. Previously, the couple lived in the Council Bluffs area in a different house for 40 years.

Betty described her neighbors as very neighborly, generous and caring. The couple has enjoyed living in the same house for seven years.

“We’re loving living in this community,” she said.

The couple will celebrate their 67th wedding anniversary on April 13 and a grandchild’s college graduation later in the month.