In Memory

James F. Bowers

James F. Bowers

BOWERS, James F., of Columbus, OH, formerly of Dayton, OH, passed away on Thursday, December 10, 2015. James was born on April 19, 1943 in Cincinnati, OH to the late Paul Bowers and Helen Schulte. Friend of Bill W's and Bill W's FRIENDS. He graduated from Hanover College in 1965 and was a member of Phi Delta Theta. An avid weight lifter, lover of nature: especially birds, fish and cats. Follower of spiritually rather than religion. Obsessive about ice cream and chocolate. Best known for saying: "The most important exercise is opening the gym door" and "I'm not the problem, there is no solution!" Most loved the students whom he taught and the sponsorees he helped. He loved his adventure and is ready for the next phase! James was survived by his longtime companion, Ryan Howard and many other family members and friends. A memorial service will be held at 2:00pm on Sunday, December 20th, 2015 at Routsong Funeral Home, 2100 E. Stroop Rd. Kettering, OH. Friends will gather following the service. Donations may be made to the Central Ohio Group Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous, 651 W. Broad St. Columbus, OH 43215.

--Routsong Funeral Home

Jim’s Woodward activities included Hi-Y 3, Vice Pres. 4; Bulldog Barks 3; Council on World Affairs 4; French Club 3; Basketball Mgr. 4.

You can read Barry Fielman's past update on Jim by going to Jim's profile page and clicking on "Show James F.'s Profile Questions and Answers."

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12/30/15 01:58 PM #1    

Barry Fielman

We lost another of our classmates on the 10th of December, 2015.  Jim Bowers was lost to vascular dementia after a 4+ year battle with the disease.  I lost a very good friend, and although we did not see one another as frequently as either of us would have liked, we did keep in contact multiple times a year.  I’m writing this to provide insight into Jim Bowers, the person.

Jim was a very, very private person all the time, had a very big heart, and was a very loyal friend whom I knew for over 60 years (since 3rd grade at College Hill Elementary School).  So here goes with a few “snippets” that will give you a glimpse into the life of Jim Bowers from a close friend’s perspective.

I really don’t remember much about our friendship in grade school, so I’ll start with a remembrance from Schwab Junior High.  Jim and I had an English teacher,Miss Hauck, “affectionately” known as “Little Miss Witch,” as she was very small of stature but was incredibly tough.  She assigned us the task of writing a short story.  I was a horrible writer at best, and Jim was a superb writer.  He called me early Sunday afternoon and asked “How’s the short story coming?”  My response: “Crappy.”  He said that he’d come over after dinner and see what he and I could do to improve the short story.  Well, at 1:45 Monday morning we wrapped it up, so I could turn in the paper that morning.  I got a B+ on that short story, all due to Jim’s help in re-writing/editing/ re-writing again until the short story flowed and was well written. Only a superb, loyal friend would have spent that kind of time assisting in writing a short story.

When Jim was in college, at Hanover in Indiana, he called me one week and said, “Come on down for a day and we’ll take a look at things around Hanover.”  What I did not know was that he had a little surprise in store for me when I got there.  He said, “Let’s go out to the airport and go for a ride and get a good look at the campus and the surrounding area.”  Little did I know what was in store for me at theairport.  We got into a little Piper Tri-Pacer aircraft, if I remember correctly.  The take-off was something else.  Full throttle for the take-off down the runway, except when it was time to get airborne, the pilot just jerked the stick full back so we took off in what seemed like a vertical climb.  All this was planned, of course, as part of the treat -- a snow take-off in nice dry weather!  There was a snow landing, too, with what seemed to be a normal landing until we were almost on the ground, then the pilot pulled the nose up just a little, cut the throttle, and we landed “plop.” Sort of like a bean bag with absolutely no roll out whatsoever.  Jim and the pilot loved it, but I did notice Jim was “white knuckled” during the take-off.  Both the take-off and landing scared the devil out of me.  The fun side of Jim sure showed here.

Jim and I kept in contact all through college and after my family moved to Michigan. It always amazed me that when I returned toCincinnati with or without mywife and kids to visit my parents, Jim very frequently would show up at my parents’ home and ask if I was there.  Mom said that he was only there a couple of times when I was not there.  It was as though there were a plate on the porch floor at my parents’ home that when I stepped on it, he knew to show up so we could catch up on things.

I mentioned earlier that Jim and I kept in contact multiple times a year.  It was most interesting that well after college Jim had a unique message on his answering machine.  I remember calling, and when the machine picked up, there was the mostsyrupy/sexy female voice that said, “Jim cannot come to the phone right now as he is out in the apple orchard picking apples.” That message really stopped me in my tracks.  I really thought that I had the wrong number as this seemed so out of character for “Mr. Straight, laid back, conservative Jim Bowers.”  I had it confirmed at his memorial service in Kettering last week, that not only would he not tell me whose voice was on the answering machine, he never told anyone else either.  A very, very privateman, and I also think he was having a little fun with all of us too.

When I found out that Jim had vascular dementia in November, 2013, I made a trip from Raleigh, NC to Columbus, OH to visit him.  It was a very cold, windy, but sunny day in Columbus.  We went to several parks, visited the arboretum, had several meals away from the nursing home, and late in the afternoon we just stopped the car in a small park that was on the east bank of the Olentangy River.  We sat there in the car and watched the river and viewed the homes on the west side of the river.  We did not talk much, but Jim did comment that he really enjoyed all that we did that day.

I would also like to say that Jim was very lucky to have a very good friend, Ryan Howard, who lived across the hall in the apartment in Columbus where Jim lived.  Jim gave Ryan power of attorney when he realized he had vascular dementia, so that Ryan could handle his affairs when he was unable to do so.  Ryan was kept very busy keeping up with Jim’s needs, moving nursing homes and meeting with his nursing teams as Jim was shuttled to at least three nursing homes in Columbus and Kettering while he was ill.

In closing, I’d like to say that I’ll miss Jim Bowers now that he has left us, but I will not forget all the good memories of Jim.  His memorialservice in Kettering, OH was also a wonderful testament to what a great friend he was to many people, so I do indeed feel privileged to have known Jim.  I also hope that for those of you who did not know Jim at all or knew him just a little bit, that these little snippets of my experiences with him will shed some light on the kind of individual that Jim was throughout his life.

There is more information about his family and his pursuits at Woodward in the small item I wrote two years ago,which is still posted on his profile on this WHS 1961 class website. After going to Jim’s profile page, click on Show James F.'s Profile Questions and Answers.

12/31/15 04:16 PM #2    

Hazel Straus (Goldberg)


Beautifully written Barry 


01/01/16 09:07 AM #3    

Joyce Romer

I remember Jim as being very quiet and proper. Wasn't Jim's mother a teacher at Woodward? I think Jim started out at Hanover but did not graduate from Hanover. (?) I graduated from Hanover in 1965 and don't remember him in my class.

Very nice tribute, Barry! 

01/01/16 10:36 AM #4    

Judith Ann Miller (Runnels)

Barry Fielman:

You wrote a beautiful tribute to James (Jim) Bowers! Thank you for teaching me about a boy who lived on the street I grew up on, but hardly knew.. (so you were kidding about being a poor writter!) His Mom WAS a teacher at Woodward, I had her for Sales and merchadising! It sounded easy, and since my Mom and Helen played bridge together it seemed like a good move. (It was...She gave me A's!)

More proof that still waters run deep! I hope somehow Jim was able to read what you wrote. If so, I'd bet he loved it....I would have!

Judy Miller (Runnels)

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