John Bowman

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  • - Carol Salber
  • "Ruth, I am so sorry and glad I got to know John. He was..."
    - Michal Ann Russell
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Service Information
Warren-McElwain Mortuary
120 West 13th
Lawrence, KS

John ("Johnpa") Edward Bowman

11/1/1941 – 12/2/2018

A letter from his wife:

"Make the dash count!" The dash between birth and death, that is. Johnny B did that. He lived each day looking at the positive. He tried his best to teach me not to worry so much. I'm not sure how successful he was, but I am aspiring to live by his words.

Anybody who met John soon realized that his gentle presence was non-judgmental; he respected everyone, always gave help when needed, taught us how to care about others and make a difference by listening. He conducted his life with a beautiful mix of honesty and humor. There was always a place at the table and a greeting of "Would you like a beer?" John loved his large and generous family beyond measure, taking time with nieces and nephews, which put him in the "favorite Uncle Johnny" category. His respect and love for his mother, now 101 years old, set a high standard. He adored and played with his three grandchildren with a boyish enthusiasm, never saying no, always "Alrighty!" He had an impish side as well, like his teenage custom of primping in the bathroom while blocking his urgent siblings from coming in, and eating all the ice cream and then hiding the empty containers under his bed. Many speeding tickets and a love for wheels carried into adulthood, when he devoted his talents to restoring vintage cars. John was accomplished at the game of pool, even playing against Willie Mosconi. One of his softer sides was his skill on the organ, playing at different venues and occasions, once being asked to perform for President Eisenhower. His love for music covered many genres, from country to opera. And dance! Oh, Lord, could that man dance! Did I mention he loved his Kansas Jayhawks? My life with him was pure joy and a gift. In our too-short time together we snorkeled in the Caribbean, zip-lined over coffee plantations in Guatemala, visited his ancestral homeland of Norway, and ate and drank good wine with friends in Italy.

John was preceded in death by his father (Edward) and three brothers (Eddy, David and Donald). He is survived by his mother (Mabel), siblings (Kathy, Cheryl, Linda, Charlie, Tom, Becky, and Jerry), son (Jason), step-daughters (Amanda and Katie), grandchildren (Bine, Gus and Oren), nieces and nephews, and me, his wife.

Cremation is planned with a family service later. An open house celebration of his life is scheduled for December 8 from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m., at his sister Cheryl's home at 1809 Learnard, Lawrence, KS. As an Air Force veteran, full military honors will be given at this time.

Donations in his honor may be made to Douglas County Visiting Nurses and to ALS research and may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.

For more information or to post a condolence go to

Make the dash count!


Published in Lawrence Journal-World from Dec. 4 to Dec. 5, 2018
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