Allen James Bowman

Allen James Bowman

Allen James Bowman
June 2, 1922 – January 19, 2017
Oskaloosa, Iowa | Age 94 yrs, 7 mos, & 17 days

Allen James Bowman, 94, of Oskaloosa passed away Thursday, January 19, 2017, at the Homestead in Oskaloosa. He was born J.V. Bowman on June 2, 1922, to J.V. and Sarah Evalina (Evie) Bowman in Butler, Oklahoma.

Early on he was called “Allen,” and the name stuck. His father was a Friends pastor and evangelist, so Allen and his family moved frequently to various towns in Kansas and Oklahoma during his school years. In 1939, he graduated from high school in Vera, Oklahoma.

He attended the Friends Bible College in Haviland, Kansas for two years. From there, he went to Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky, where his auburn thatch earned him the nickname “Red.” There he met his future wife, Martina Cummings when the students were harvesting corn on the college farm due to a labor shortage. According to Martina, “We met on the back of a pickup truck going to lunch. I was tickled pink.” He graduated from Asbury in 1944. He and Martina married in September of 1946 and set up housekeeping in Wilmore while Allen finished his seminary degree.

In 1947, Allen and Martina moved to Alva, Oklahoma, where Allen served as the pastor of the Alva Friends Church. Their two sons, Bill and David, were born in Alva. In 1950, the family moved to Wichita, Kansas, where Allen taught at Friends University and pastored the North Wichita Friends Church. Julie was added to the family in Wichita. In 1959, the family moved to Albany, California. Allen pastored the Berkeley Friends Church while studying for a Masters in Sacred Theology at the Pacific School of Religion.

In 1966, the family moved to Oskaloosa, Iowa, where he taught religious studies and biblical languages at William Penn College. He later became the campus minister as well. Several generations of students enjoyed his teaching and mentoring. He and Martina retired in 1990 and took up traveling, including several trips in the U.S. and Europe.

Allen was actively involved in the College Avenue Friends Church and the Y’s Men Club. He sold Christmas trees for the Y’s Men until he was 90. He was an avid vegetable gardener at the Penn College garden plots and became well known for his popcorn. Family and friends who were lucky enough to get a gallon of popcorn claimed it rivaled Orville Redenbacher’s.

He had a great love of music, which he shared with his children. During his early years, he sang in a gospel quartet, traveling throughout Kansas and Oklahoma. He loved the old hymns, but his favorite, which established an annual family tradition during the holidays, was Handel’s Messiah. His singing voice remained strong all of his life. His second tenor voice could often be heard during church services.

Allen was a dedicated walker which kept him healthy and hale into his 90s. He was a familiar sight in Oskaloosa as he walked his daily three miles on the Oskaloosa trail or at the Penn PAC. Once he and Martina moved to the Homestead assisted living facility, he often walked a mile (eight laps), usually with family friend and “third son,” Tom Palmer.

Allen was a much-loved grandfather to his four grandchildren – Camille, Evan, Aiden and Liam. Much to their delight, he hauled a young Camille and Evan around in a red wagon endlessly. He delighted in watching Aiden and Liam play baseball on his recent trip to California. He clearly loved everything about these four.

All of his life, Allen had an uncanny knack for winning games – all kinds of games. Early in their married life, Martina refused to play games, because he always won. He was a master at dominoes, and he and his sister, Retha, could beat all comers. He was willing to teach his grandchildren how to play dominoes, but he rarely lost a game to them. On the Sunday before he died, he beat his daughter and daughter-in-law at Chinese checkers.

He was often described as a “gentle soul” by those who knew him, but his family knew that he inherited an ornery streak from his father which added a sense of play to his gentleness. He was inordinately fond of scaring family members as they came around corners. His ‘fish face’ was legendary.

Allen was a man of deep faith which showed in his actions every day. He studied the gospel and theology all of his life. He shared his faith and the arch of its impact upon his life with humility. While he was intellectually very immersed, it was the mysteries of the spiritual life that kept him engaged.

Allen passed away in his sleep at the age of 94 years, 7 months, and 17 days, one year and one day after Martina died.

Allen’s family includes his children and their spouses: Bill (& Kim) Bowman of Lake Forest, California, Julie Bowman (& Scott Bates) of Evanston, Illinois, and his daughter-in-law, Karla Bowman, of Canal Fulton, Ohio; his four grandchildren: Camille Bates, Evan Bates, Aiden Bowman and Liam Bowman; his sister, Retha Christians; and numerous in-laws, nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents, Allen is preceded in death by his wife, Martina; his son, David Bowman; his sisters, Burdeen Smith and Bonita Davis; and his brother, Tom Bowman.

Memorial Services for Allen will be held at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, June 10, 2017, at the College Avenue Friends Church with Pastors Tom Palmer and James Tower officiating.
His cremated remains will be interred at the Friends Cemetery in Oskaloosa.
Memorial contributions may be made to College Avenue Friends Church and/or William Penn University Spencer Chapel Renovation.



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