Music by the O'Neill Brothers


Darlene (Tobin) Bowen

May 16, 1921 ~ July 9, 2018 (age 97)

Darlene Tobin Bowen, formerly of West Newton, passed away on Monday, July 9, 2018.  She was born in Smithfield on May 16, 1921, to Leslie and Myrtle Boyd Tobin.  Blessed with beautiful singing voices and a natural aptitude for music, she and her twin sister, Marlene (Sherrill), were self-taught musicians who mastered stringed instruments such as the guitar, mandolin and bass fiddle.  They began their professional career at the age of fifteen when they competed in and won first prize on “The Wilkin’s Amateur Hour” radio show that was broadcast over KDKA.  This led to a featured spot with local radio personality “Cowboy Phil” on radio station WHJB.  The twins were later joined by their older sister, Bonnie (Lesniak), and became known as “The Prairie Ranch Girls”.  They were signed to an exclusive contract with the Orpheus and Manos Theaters as a featured act, performing with such celebrities as Gene Autry and The Sons of the Pioneers.  They performed in various venues throughout the tri-state area, including live concerts and The Wheeling Jamboree, as well as on their own radio show, which was broadcast on stations WHJB, WWVA, and KDKA.  Although marriage and motherhood eventually replaced her singing career, in the 1970’s, Darlene revived her band along with local Country-Western singer, Billy Carter.  As “Darlene and Her Lucky Stars”, they performed locally for several years.  She is survived by William B. Bowen, her loving husband of 71 years; her daughter, Yvonne Bowen Fike and son-in-law, Rodger K. Fike of Irwin; and her grandson, Justin W. Lake, of Gilbert, AZ; twin sister, Marlene Tobin Sherill of Summerville, SC; brothers-in-law, Glen and Donald Bowen; and many nieces and nephews.  Friends will be received 2-4 & 6-8 pm Thursday at the J. William McCauley, Jr. Funeral Home, 901 Vine St. West Newton, where services will be held at 10 am Friday.  Interment will follow in West Newton Cemetery.  Condolences may be left at

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