The Dick Bowman Room of Healing

In furry memory


Dick Bowman


1942-2018


Loving husband, brother, uncle, friend, teacher, coach, mentor and cat lover.

A Tribute to Dick Bowman

Well, this is a tough one. How do we, in this small space, pay tribute to a wonderful man who was, in most ways, larger than life? Dick Bowman was a beloved husband, brother, uncle, friend, educator, coach, mentor, listener and cat lover, and he relished all of those roles, and each of us whose lives he touched.

Dick made an impression — usually big and very positive — on everyone he met, even if it was only on the telephone. He met Sue, his wife of 42 years, when she was a student at East Stroudsburg and he was a recent graduate, who was teaching geometry at Pen Argyl Area High School. But initially, he made an impression on her family.

“My aunt and uncle met Dick first. There was a lot of commotion at our apartment complex in East Stroudsburg one day. A kid was playing outside and got stuck in the mud. Next thing, some big guy comes out
in socks and grabs the back of the kid’s jacket and pulls him to safety,”
Sue recalled. “Apparently the kid was screaming so loudly, Dick and his
friends couldn’t hear the football game on TV! My aunt and uncle were
watching this from my balcony and had to meet him. A short while
later I came home one day and he was having cocktails with my
parents. They loved him! He was pretty good looking back then, and he was a football coach and I loved football, so I eventually went out with him. I ended up loving him too.”

A man who had deep community roots, Dick graduated from Parkland High School, then taught geometry and/or coached (mostly football, but also boys’ basketball and softball) at Pen Argyl (for 34 years, where he also started the Varsity and Booster clubs), Palisades, Northwestern Lehigh and Saucon Valley High School. He led the Saucon Valley Panthers from 2002 to 2006, leading the team to an undefeated season, the Colonial League championship and its first District XI championship in 2004. He had a knack for names, and remembered most of his students decades after he’d taught them. He went out of his way to help his students and players.

“He was one of the best teachers I ever had and certainly left the world a better place.”

Dick was a beloved coach, teacher and mentor
“Early in Dick’s coaching career, one of his star players wasn’t going to be able to play,” recalled Sue. “He had to help his family on the farm — picking potatoes. This was tough for that young man. So Dick worked his organizational magic and the whole team went to the teammate’s farm to pick the potatoes so he could play. It was always about doing the right thing, which also taught his students and players many valuable lessons.”

 

We heard from many of Dick’s students:

“…He was a true teacher who always went above and beyond… I went to school in Ohio but wasn’t happy there my freshman year. Mr. Bowman sent me the most supportive and encouraging letter… He was one of the best teachers I ever had and certainly left the world a better place.” Jonelle G.

“…Math was not my strong suit but Mr. Bowman always made it easier and much more enjoyable. I remember several instances of running up to his desk and telling him ‘I don’t get it!’ He would always reply ‘There’s no time like the present,’ a quote I’ve carried with me into adulthood and in becoming a teacher myself. He was truly a great teacher, great mentor, and great man.” Randi and Robert F.

 

“Mr. Bowman taught geometry. What a perfect role. He would spend his working life teaching us about shapes. But once he finished his lectures on isosceles triangles, he spent the rest of his waking hours shaping our lives. To some he was a caring teacher, to some he was a coach, to some he was a therapeutic listener, a guidance counselor, a thoughtful husband, a caring mentor, a rescuer of forgotten felines and fidos.” Megan K.

 

And players:
“With my parents working full time and more, Coach Bowman was a guiding light for me on the football field and in the classroom… Coach helped me apply to college and contacted coaches so I could pursue my passion of playing college football…I and so many other people have benefited from Coach Bowman’s mentoring, leadership, caring and kind, warm heart. He was a great teacher, great coach, but most importantly, a wonderful human being.” Shaun S.

And then there were the cats. He and Sue were instrumental in founding Forgotten Felines and Fidos, and he served as the organization’s president for 15 years. Dick, who you’ve described in your cards and letters as caring, generous, kind, inspirational, helpful, knowledgeable, hard working, dependable, friendly and giving, was as dedicated to our cats and kittens as he was to our volunteers and to all of you who’ve called, visited, adopted, donated, trapped and fostered for FFF.

“Dick gave so much to the organization over the years,” said Carm B., long-time treasurer of the FFF board, who was also part of the founding of Forgotten Felines. “He has literally done every job — except surgeries — at the shelter. Nothing was beneath or above him. He just pitched in and got things done — whatever was in the best interest of our wonderful felines. He was selfless. Truly he was a ‘giver’ at his core. He gave to his friends and family, to his students, to our volunteers and clients, and certainly, to our cats and kittens. We all feel his loss very deeply.”

Dick was a man who gladly took on responsibilities, and always had a smile on his face and warmth in his heart. He arrived at the shelter around 5:30 every morning. He cleaned various cat condos, helped with supplies, like picking up 1,000 pounds of litter every week, counseled people who called about trapping feral cats, helped other volunteers, and answered dozens of phone calls, personally, every week…for years. And that’s just a short list of the many things he contributed most recently. Being involved in the shelter for so long, he knew the ins and outs, the people who got their cats spayed and neutered, who adopted and who donated, by name. And he remembered those names. He had strong “phone” relationships with hundreds of Forgotten Felines supporters.

“He left big shoes to fill,” said Karen Sweeney, president of the Forgotten Felines board. “He did so much in so many different areas. It’s rare to find that kind of dedication.”

“Dick went more than the extra mile to help people,” Sue said. “He always pitched in. He always put himself last.”

He is, and will be, sorely missed, by his human friends as well as the hundreds of furry felines he’s nurtured over the years. We expect that Dick is continuing his work by greeting all kittes as they cross the Rainbow Bridge into his loving arms.

At the shelter, we are building a quarantine area, in which we can treat sick cats. In honor of Dick’s contributions and dedication to the organization, we’re proud to announce that it will be called The Dick Bowman Room of Healing. We plan to include a plaque next to the door in his honor.

In furry memory


Dick Bowman


1942-2018


Loving husband, brother, uncle, friend, teacher, coach, mentor and cat lover.