Lieutenant Commander John “Jack” L. Bowden, Jr.
Feb. 5, 1926 – June 2, 2020
Lieutenant Commander John “Jack” L. Bowden, Jr. passed away June 2nd at 94. Survived by Lance (Mary) Bowden and Ann (Dave) Voss and grandchildren John, Emma, Claire, Keely, Tommy, and Scottie. He was predeceased by his wife “Sissy.’ Jack served in the Navy in Korea as skipper of a personnel landing craft and later became a pilot and flight school instructor. After retirement, he served as an association executive but had the heart of a military man til the end. In his memory please enjoy any of his many interests: buy a lottery ticket, catch a fish, tell a joke, build a house, play golf, find a bargain, go for a boat ride, fix anything that is broken, sculpt a tree stump with a chainsaw, help a neighbor, always love and protect your family. No service is being planned at this time.
I’m sorry your father passed away, especially as he was preparing to leave rehab. Thank you for sharing notes about his life and interests in this obituary. As you know, I love a bargain. When this quarantine is over, I’d love to go shopping for a bargain with you and then, treat you to drinks and dinner where we can raise a toast to your father.
Lance, My heart is with you and your family as you grieve the loss of your Dad.
Thank you Cathy.
For a kid who’s dad died when he was 8, Jack was a great example of what a boy could grow into.
I remember that he took us camping at a lake near Hutchinson. Late at night, a serious storm hit and (I think) the tent was blown down. For all the thunder and lightening, Jack led a well ordered retreat, so we we all escaped to safety with nothing more than a good story to tell.
I remember his laughing with us as he watched us struggle to herd chickens in a farm yard, a thing we discovered to be much harder than we had guessed.
I remember him showing me the cockpit of a large military airplane and being unable to imagine that anyone would know even the names of all those dials, buttons, switches, and sticks.
I remember him sitting in a recliner and staring intently into one corner of the room, at a spot behind the TV set. He looked at that spot for the longest time. Then, at least the way I remember it, he got up and just built a beautiful book case with a handsome counter into that corner. The result was so handsome and natural that, even the next day, it was hard to remember the room without those shelves. I still think it was incredible that anyone could just do something like that.
He could, though. He did it all the time.
He would have made a first class engineer.
Mostly, I remember always being quietly welcome in his home. I know at times, I made no more sense to him than snake oil or antigravity. I know I held opinions he did not share. But I also know, I was genuinely welcome.
He lived in an amazing time. He married an amazing woman. His children are two of the finest people I’ve ever known. And his grand children are nothing short of fabulous.
So, congratulations Jack Bowden. That was a life very well lived.
Michael, thank you for your memories. The book case story sounds like the time you were visiting us in Richmond – as I recall, I think he took advantage of the extra help and put you to work! We sold the house last year, but that book case is still going strong.
A happy and vivid memory of Uncle Jack is from when I was a boy of 5 or 6 in my hometown of Hutchinson, Kansas. He was attached to the Navy and our Naval Air Station. He took me and my brothers to an air show there, and arranged for us to sit in the cockpit of the biggest airplane a young boy could ever imagine. He was kind, enthusiastic, patient and everything we wanted an uncle to be… exciting.. interested.. a pilot! In his dress whites, he married our aunt Sissy and as my faded memory recalls, cut the wedding cake with a sword.! Thank you uncle Jack!
Yes Jim, your memory is serving you well! Navy tradition is to cut the wedding cake with the dress uniform sword. In fact, Ann and I both borrowed the sword and extended the tradition to Navy brats as well. Thanks! Lance
Like I have for Sissy, I have wonderful memories of your father Jack. Jack and Sissy were married within weeks of our father’s death. Though this was a very confusing time, my memory of that sparkly wedding seems as clear as if it happened yesterday. I still see his fellow airmen, in their dress whites, with swords raised as they walked down the aisle. I too, remember the cake being cut with a sword. You can imagine the impression made on my 12-year-old mind. This of course was the union of two very remarkable people. Though very sad, I think it’s fitting that they left this world together.
Other wonderful memories that I cherish include, Jack pulling us through deep snow banks in the fairgrounds with sleds tied by ropes to the back of his car. While that was absolutely thrilling for us, I’m not sure, who had more fun, we kids, or Jack.
I remember visiting Jack and Sissy in Richmond after graduating from OCS at nearby Ft. Belvoir. My mother was there, and made me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Jack helped me buy a car. But, the highlight was a boat ride into the ocean, where we went crabbing. And of course, that evening feasted on crabs for dinner. Crabs remain a favorite of mine to this day.
What is so nice about the passing of such good people, is that love arises in our hearts. And Lance and Ann, I’m feeling great love for both of you and your families and of course your parents who have left us.
When I was 14 years old, I was ‘in love” with Ted Williams of the Boston Red Socks, and my Aunt Sissy was in love with Jack Bowden, a handsome Lt. Commander stationed at the Naval Base in Hutchinson, KS. I remember writing a fun and hopeful poem about them as a couple.
I, too, remember their wedding and the cutting of the cake with his sword; it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen! And I recall, they took Boc and I on their drive trip when they moved to California where he was to be stationed next. It became a tour of National Parks and beautiful sights across the Western United States and a very big adventure for two kids from Hutch.
Years ago, Jack called me in Denver to see if I was ‘the Connie from Colorado’ who’s name had just been drawn as a big winner on Wheel of Fortune”…and once when he was in Denver on business, we all went out for Mexican food. It was always good to hear from him.
Jack Bowden could build anything, repair anything, and I always knew the Bowdens were safe in a hurricane or snow storm because he had a generator and a pantry full of groceries. 🙂
He and Sissy raised two great kids, and the fact that Ann and Lance have lost both parents in a matter of weeks, in the middle of a pandemic, is still overwhelming my mind. We all should have been able to be together right now, but please know that we are all together in our hearts. Thinking of you both with love and fond memories.