May 16, 1932 — January 10, 2021
John “Jack” Bowen, 88, died at his home on Sunday, January 10, 2021. He was born in Kittitas, Washington, on May 16, 1932, to John and Alberta Mills Bowen.
Jack was raised and attended schools in Nyssa, Oregon, where he was an outstanding student and athlete and graduated high school in 1951. He continued his studies and athletic achievements at Oregon State University on a baseball scholarship. Jack’s college experience was interrupted by two significant events — he was drafted into the military in September 1953 during the Korean War and, when home on leave in 1954, he met a beautiful young woman named Vivian on a blind date. Fortunately, he did not have to go to Korea but was stationed in Southern California. He was also able to marry the love of his life, Vivian Forsdick, on May 15, 1955, while home on leave.
After his discharge from the military in September 1955, Jack and Vivian moved back to Corvallis and Oregon State so he could finish his education and final two years of baseball. After graduating from OSU, he had a three-year stint of teaching and coaching in Westfir, Oregon, where he was the varsity coach for all four boys’ sports teams. Afterwards, he was hired by his alma mater, Nyssa High School, to teach biology and help coach football, basketball and baseball. During his four years at Nyssa High School, he also completed his master’s degree in biological science at the University of Idaho.
In 1964, Jack and Vivian moved to Hermiston where they built a house and raised their three very active and athletic boys, John, Steve and Kelly. He was actively and lovingly involved in all of their sporting events and adventures. He later worked at Hermiston High School as the head of the biology department and where he was instrumental in starting the golf program. While at Hermiston High School, Jack became the athletic director in the late 1970s and then finished his career as a math and science teacher at the middle school. He retired in 1987 after 30 years of mentoring and inspiring young people as a teacher, coach and administrator.
Jack and Vivian loved to play golf, so they traveled and spent a lot of their retirement over the next 30 years doing just that. They moved to Pendleton shortly after retirement and joined the Pendleton Country Club, where they were active members until recently. Jack was able to shoot his age in golf through his 70s and 80s. Jack loved his family, including 12 grandchildren, and always supported their various endeavors.
Jack is survived by his wife of 66 years, Vivian, and his sons John Bowen and wife Debbie and their sons Alec and Joel; Steve Bowen and wife Jennifer and their children Brooke and Blake; and Kelly Bowen and wife Beth and their children: Phinehas and wife Madeline, Titus, Noah and wife Karmina, Anna and husband Carlos, Timothy, Esther and Elijah. He is also survived by his brother Bill and wife Marguerite Bowen.
Jack was preceded in death by his father and mother, brother Robert, sister Bernice, and grandson Samuel.
There will be a Celebration of Life for family and friends at a later date.
Share condolences with the family at www.pioneerchapel.com.