John Bedell Bowles

Bowles—John Bedell Bowles, 83, on November 22, 2016, in Greensboro, N.C. John was born on July 29, 1933, in Karuizawa, Japan, to Gertrude Bedell and Herbert Bowles, who moved in 1936 to Honolulu, Hawaii. John attended Punahou School there and earned a bachelor’s in biology from Earlham College in 1956. He met Grace Chawner, known as Gay, in 1957 while visiting his brother, Steve, at Earlham. He and Gay married in 1958 and moved to Seattle, Wash., where he earned a master’s in ornithology from University of Washington before moving back to Honolulu to teach high school biology at Punahou School and later serve as assistant director of Waikiki Aquarium.

In 1963–1969, he taught biology at William Penn College. He earned a doctorate in zoology from University of Kansas and beginning in 1969 taught at Central College in Pella, Iowa. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1993 and took early retirement, moving to Austin, Tex. He later lived in Marcos, Tex., where he worked with Bat Conservation International.

In 1996, during a visit to the National Museum of the Pacific War (the boyhood home of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz) in Fredericksburg, Tex., he was inspired to ask members of his Punahou graduating class about their memories of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which he co-edited as The Day Our World Changed, December 7, 1941: Punahou ’52 Remembers Pearl Harbor (2004). In 2003 the American Society of Mammalogists gave him the Grinnell Award for his outstanding teaching of mammalogy.

John was a member of Honolulu (Hawaii) Meeting; Des Moines Valley Meeting in Des Moines, Iowa; Austin (Tex.) Meeting; and Friendship Meeting in Greensboro, where he and Gay moved in 2003 to be near family. A passionate field biologist who loved to share his enthusiasm about the natural world with anyone who was interested, he especially loved to hear from the meetings’ children and often reminded Friends of the importance of introducing children to the natural world.

John was preceded in death by his son, David Bowles; and his brother, Steve Bowles, both in 2014. He is survived by his wife, Gay Chawner; three children, Sandy Bowles, Nan Bowles (Tom Kirmeyer), and James Bowles (Heather Drennan); and five grandchildren. The family suggests donations be made to Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro, 2500 Summit Avenue, Greensboro, NC 27405.

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