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BOWMAN, Gordon Herbert

September 6, 1929 – Whitewood, Saskatchewan
October 16, 2014 – Calgary, Alberta

Gordon Bowman passed away peacefully at the Rockyview General Hospital in Calgary, AB, on October 16, 2014 at the age of 85 years.

Gordon was born in Whitewood, SK as the second of five sons born to Percy and Ella Bowman (Kenneth, Gordon, Melvin, Leslie and Allan). He left his family farm to attend the University of Saskatchewan where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Agriculture. He was hired by the Federal Government at the Experimental Farm in Lacombe, AB, where he worked for 10 years. He married Betty who died of cancer at the age of 28. Gordon earned a Master’s Degree at the University of Alberta. He married Jean in 1959 and they moved to Oklahoma where Gordon obtained a PhD at Oklahoma State University. Upon graduating, Gordon was hired as a professor at the University of Guelph in Ontario. The family moved to a 100 acre hobby farm in Fergus. Over many years, his family supported refugees from Czechoslovakia, Uganda, and Vietnam developing lifelong friendships. Gordon retired from the University after 30 years in 1993. He and Jean moved to Calgary in 1997 where Gordon pursued his retirement hobbies of woodworking and gardening. Jean passed away in 2007. Gordon was blessed to meet Agnes and they married in July of 2008. He and Agnes spent 6 happy years together before his health began to deteriorate. Gordon was an accomplished person with a passion for life; he had many interests including reading, traveling and politics. Gordon lived life to the fullest and he will be sadly missed.

Gordon is survived by his wife, Agnes; sons, Norm (Doreen), John (Josie), Scott and his stepson Jim, as well as his grandsons Craig and Jeff.

A Celebration of Gordon’s Life will be held at Foothills United Church (3803 – 69th Street N.W.) on Friday, October 24, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. Condolences may be forwarded through

In living memory of Gordon Bowman, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Crowfoot, 82 CROWFOOT CIRCLE N.W. Telephone: 403-241-0044.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Cindy Noel and Jeff Campbell :

    To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. – Ecclesiastes 3:1

    There’s a spirit that transcends the need for words and connects us all. You are in our thoughts.

    Cindy Noel and Jeff Campbell

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  2. Debra Russell :

    Dear Norm and Doreen, Craig and Jeff,

    I am so so sorry for the loss of your dear father, father-in-law, and grandfather. He was a remarkable man and one I enjoyed speaking with on each occasion we saw him in your home. It is clear that he lived life well, and I hope that your many memories of him help to buffer the sadness that comes with this loss.


    Debbie Russell

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  3. I’m crying. I’m crying. I’m crying. I know i should celebrate his GREAT LIFE. I can’t help crying. I feel I lost my father.

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  4. This news brings us a huge amount of sadness. Dr. Bowman was always there to help my family and me. Revising my parents’ theses, letting us use his power tools, always inviting us over for holiday feasts… He and Jean made the best meals ever.

    I will always remember him showing me how to work around his farm in Fergus. Playing with his dogs, Tuck and Jasper, and cat Ziggy. One time Dr Bowman let me ride the lawnmower but I accidentally mowed down his new tree. He never got upset even when my immaturity caused annoyances.

    Accomplished scientist, scholar, family supporter, father, grandfather, husband, farmer, craftsman, and our close friend.

    You will be in my memories forever.

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  5. Edward and Laurene Burnside :

    To Agnes, Norman, John and Families: Gordon was a kind and caring colleague, during our 30-year association at the University of Guelph. His life embodied thoughtful care for his family, friends and for many families that came to Canada from abroad. He thought outside the box, and was an accomplished leader of farmers in his chosen profession, which had to do with livestock improvement and food production. We will celebrate Gordon’s life with some of his close friends on Wednesday evening , and our thoughts are with you. Ted and Laurene Burnside

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  6. Hazel and Bill Miner :

    Dear Agnes,
    We are saddened to learn today of Gordon’s passing and we extend our sincere condolences to you and the family. Since first meeting Gordon as a University freshman over six decades ago we have admired and benefited from his friendly, thoughtful and rational approach to the challenges facing agriculture and the country. He is an enduring example of a productive and professional friend. While missing his smiling face, friendship and thoughtful comments, we join others in celebrating a full and productive, well-lived life. We will miss you Gordon. Hazel and Bill Miner

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  7. So many words, so many memories, I don’t know how to begin.
    24 years ago I came to Canada with my son., 24 years ago I met Dr. Bowman.
    The moment we met 24 years ago is vivid as yesterday. The memories of 24 years are rushing tears to my eyes.
    He was the first person I met in Ontario. He offered my family the first home in this new country.  

    His farm in Fergus was the heaven for my son, my husband, and me.
    How many weekends had we spent there? Countless!
    How many Christmas had we celebrated there? Every single year!
    How many, how many, how many good memories? lead to so many so many so many happiness!

    His care, his love, his role model have always been my inspiration.
    Not only in spirit … boosting my confidence and my determination;
    But also in daily life, important affairs and tedious details;
    If I tell, he listen. He always offered his ear, his advice, and his heart!  

    He also offered his valuable time, and his personal property.
    My first goal in Canada was go back to university, same as my husband’s.
    The first step to reach the goal was to pass the TOFLE exam, as for all non English speaking students.
    I had no patient to wait till I’m ready. I want to write it ASAP.  

    It was a COLD morning, half inch thick ice on his car windshield.
    He was to drive us to the examination, because we didn’t own a car yet.
    It was a 30 minute route but he planned for 2 hours … the extreme bad road condition
    We struggled for the hard questions in the building,  he waited and waited in patience, while Jean looked after our 6 yrs old boy.

    Our first home was in a basement, the landlord was an old lady.
    She valued her house as her life, we the new immigrant family became her money, also her worry.
    She once called Dr. Bowman into her room, telling my mistakes, my errs, my ignorance, and my fault.
    I felt sad, worry, anxious, fear, and nervous —-  
    I stood at her door helplessly when Dr. Bowman came out.
    I opened my mouth, wanting to defence., but found no sounds
    Dr. Bowman hold my hands, lean towards me – “love you”, his voice so gentle.
    Two simplest words! Dissolved all the negative sensations! Only my tear couldn’t stay in!  

    What a great teacher Dr. Bowman was, not only in animal science.
    He often share his philosophical thought starting with “Confucius say—“,
    Referring my Chinese heritage, wearing a mysterious impression,
    Offering me broad mind food, so much nourishments.

    His humour is subtle and intelligent. Once in a while he would tell me a joke. He could tell if I got it; he’d be so pleased if my laughters spilled out sincerely.
    “Your English is getting better, May”, he’d be so proud of me that made me proud.  

    The first Christmas he took us to cut a big tree.
    We walked to the forest, about a mile in distance and snow in depth.
    He told the secret for survival in coldness: “dress warm, move slow”.
    How simple, also how true!  

    20 years later, I broke my leg in a wood.
    Temperature was below minus 20 C,
    I survived for 7 hours alone… Because I dressed warm, I kept moving slowly!
    Dr. Bowman’s words came to my ear again and again. Also his wisdom to my mind.
    Many people told me I should have died. I shared with them the Secret that encouraged me.  

    12 years ago, I cried, in secret, when I learnt he was moving to west,
    The cry was the lost I felt for myself .. he was moving *away* from me.
    I encouraged myself to be happy – I shall not be so selfish.
    I was also happy to see he settled in where closer to his roots.  
    Yes, he had always been with his roots, and with his heart.
    Now he is in heaven, singing with Angels happily.
    He is alive in our heart forever and ever.
    The love we share! here and there, in past, in present, and in future!

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  8. Dear Agnes, Norman, John and family,

    I am feeling so sad these days after I heard that Dr. Bowman passed away. I lost a very good friend and elder, I know Dr. Bowman since 1988 when I first come to University of Guelph. Since then he become my supervisor, English teacher and elder and life director. He kindly take care of me, my son and his mom and treat us as a family member. Whenever we have difficulty, hardship or trouble, Dr. Bowman always be there and ready to help us when we ask. We have benefited from him and his family through a simple English word to the very complex daily life. Dr. Bowman is a wisdom, thinker, philosopher, hard worker and a kindly elder. you will always live in my heart.

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  9. Gordon had a profound impact with several of his colleagues at the University of Guelph, in the pork industry and many others. My own reflections were sent to Agnes and to share with Norman, John and families. This is to notify that some of his colleagues will each independently be making a contribution to The Cancer Society for research as a joint gesture in Gordon’s memory.

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  10. Gordon was indeed an amazing human being. On one hand he was the most logical and analytical thinker I have known. At the same time he had a huge heart, helping countless people in countless ways. Gordon provided tremendous support throughout my years as his colleague at Guelph. Gordon also had a great ability to stir things up, which he often did at the University and at Melville United Church in Fergus. Burna and I have so many memories of our times with Gordon. We are certain his influences will keep reverberating through the years ahead.

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  11. Marie and Carla Gattinger :

    Agnes: We are very sad for you to have lost Gordon. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.
    Your TOPS friends

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  12. Sue McPherson :

    My dear Agnes, I am so very sorry for your loss.
    You will remain in my thoughts and prayers.


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  13. Norman Damkar :

    We will not forget Gordon as a great friend and neighbour over these last fifteen years in Tuscany. He will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out for Agnes and all the Bowman family at this time of loss.
    Ester and Norman Damkar

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  14. I am sorry for your loss. Dr. Bowman was an inspirational professor. I was in his last Swine Production class at the University of Guelph. He and Jean invited our entire class to their home for supper, and our class brought gifts and ice cream cake as a celebration. Dr Bowman shared photos of the many foreign refugees that he hosted. It was one of the most memorable moments of my university life. A great man.

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