R Bruce Bowers
(1927 - 2012)

R Bruce Bowers

August 8, 1927

March 31, 2012

R. Bruce Bowers
August 8, 1927 - March 31, 2012

Bruce Bowers was born in Rutledge, Minnesota on August 8, 1927, the fifth and last child of Frank Roswell Bowers and Marguerite Rice Hollis Bowers. His parents were loving, but stern in accordance with Minnesota tradition.

Bruce loved to hear his father’s tales of his youth. His father left home at age of 14 traveled around with the Buffalo Bill Cody circus. After that, he went to Montana and become a shotgun guard on a stage coach that, made gold deliveries, breaking horses in his spare time. When he was 18 he helped his father homestead a farm in North Dakota. Later he became a street car conductor in Spokane where he met Bruce’s mother. Bruce remembers him as the train depot agent for the Great Northern Railroad.

After Bruce finished high school he served in the military, first in the Merchant Marine and later in the Army. His duty took him to Marseille, France, his first trip abroad. Because of his unusual skill with the Morse code, the Army assigned him to the Army Intelligence Code School in Ft. Devens, Mass. where he spent three years.
After his discharge from the Army in 1955 Bruce returned to a job at Minneapolis Moline, a farm implement manufacturer and later worked for a bank.

In 1958, he and a friend decided to travel to Portland, Oregon to look for better jobs.
In Portland, Bruce was hired by a dental supply company. Three years later, he took a job with the OHSU Dental School Bookstore as a clerk. He soon rose to the position of manager. By watching expenses and controlling inventories Bruce was able to transform the bookstore from a losing enterprise into a profitable one, and was much appreciated by the dental school management. Bruce worked at OHSU until he retired.

For entertainment, Bruce liked to bowl. For many years he was a member of a bowling team and competed regularly in bowling tournaments.

In 1965, Bruce met Roger Brown, a life long resident of Johns Landing area of Portland and they became friends. In 1970 a house at 6329 SW Corbett was offered for sale for $20,000. Bruce and Roger shared their resources and purchased the house and made it their home. Roger died in the year 2000, sadly bringing to a close a companionship that spanned thirty-five years.

After thirty years dealing with dental supplies, Bruce retired. Not one to be idle, he found much to do. Perhaps most rewarding has been his volunteer work. For a time he volunteered at the Portland Zoo. Then during 1996-98 he aided with Nike World Maters Games held in Portland. He also volunteered for the Smithsonian Exhibit held in Portland along with the Nike World Master Games.

In 1996, when the popular Chinese Tombs exhibit came to the Portland Art Museum, Bruce signed on as a volunteer and has served the Art Museum continuously since then. Service to the Art Museum has become one of the most important aspects of Bruce’s life, an activity that has earned him great respect and many friends.

Bruce loved to cook and continually searched for new and interesting recipes on the Internet. He has developed his yard into a garden of flowers and Oregon native plants and continually made improvements to his home. To keep fit he walked regularly.
Bruce enjoyed traveling. He has had many memorable trips, including London; retracing by car the Oregon Trail between Oregon and Independence, Missouri, the Caribbean, Mexico, Alaska and Hawaii.

Bruce was a man of strong opinions and often expressed them. He left little doubt about how he stood on issues. On the other hand he loved to meet and talk to people and met scores of interesting and friendly people. He was generous and caring.
Bruce lived a full and meaningful life, enriching the lives of many others.

It was at a yard sale that Bruce and Roger were holding when they happened to meet a Johns Landing neighbor, Len Porter, who lived only two blocks away. Bruce, Roger and Len became friends and after Roger’s death, it was Len to whom Bruce looked to for solace and support.

It was Len who introduced Bruce to Alan Blodgett and Lee Buhler, other Johns Landing neighbors. After Roger’s death, Len, Alan and Lee became Bruce’s family. They often ate together, played together and worked together. Bruce and Alan became special friends and companions, sharing the past eleven years together. Since both were retired, they were able to travel together often. The annual trip to Mexico was the highlight of Bruce’s year.

Lee Buhler, is a wizard with computers. Bruce, who became fascinated with his computer found Lee invaluable in solving computer problems. Lee, who Bruce claimed could do anything helped Bruce in many other ways on a day to day basis. Bruce loved to cook and it was Lee he most liked to cook for. It is Lee who will be administering Bruce’s estate.

In October, 2011, at the age of 84, in a routine physical examination, a tumor was discovered in the area of Bruce’s left kidney. After extensive testing it was determined that Bruce had lung cancer that had spread to other parts of his body. By the time the cause of the tumor was discovered, it was too late for treatment.

Bruce spent the last six weeks of his life in the home of Alan where he was cared for with the aid of the Hospice program. Close friends Lee Buhler and Len Porter assisted Alan as care givers. All were with Bruce at the time of his passing at 6:45 pm on March 31, 2012 in Alan’s home.

On Thursday, April 5, Bruce was entombed at the Riverview Abby in Portland in a vault next to his long time companion, Roger Brown.

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Guest Book (7 entries)
Bruce, I will miss your smile and the friendly conversations that we had. I always enjoyed seeing you at social gatherings throughout the country. Thanks for being such a good person.
Robert Rookhuyzen (Friend)
May 16th, 2012
I'm writing for myself and my mother Janet Stewart who is 91. We really loved Bruce. Roger's mother was my Grandmother's sister. So my father knew Roger his whole life. My mom always had them around the holdays. Bruce was always such a nice guy and I enjoyed stopping there on Corbett St. to see them and got a chance to see Bruce several times after Roger left us. Interestingly enough my father grew up in the house next to theirs and I lived there for about 6 years when I was growing up. Bruce had a great life and always trying to help the community in some way. We will miss him. We just want to thank his good friends for being there for him and providing a warm loving environment. I loved the pictures that you put together. We were just looking at some at my Mom's house with Roger & Bruce- such great guys. RIP Bruce.
John Silvertooth-Stewart (friend)
April 30th, 2012
Dearest Bruce, Our wonderful 47yr friendship was too short, especially since I knew you would outlive us all. I'm so grateful I was able to talk w/you on your last day, and you were aware enough when I told you I love you Bruce and you replied, I know Margaret. Dear friend you will never be forgotten. Love Margaret
Margaret Ragan (friend)
April 13th, 2012
Thank all of you for taking such good care of Bruce. He was a wonderful addition to our family and took very good care of Aunt Ella and Roger. May God Bless all of you for your kindness and love.

Linda Lewis (cousin thru Roger)
April 12th, 2012
Bruce, I applaud you for a life well lived.
James Kent (Friend)
April 5th, 2012
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"I am so blessed to have had Bruce in my life. His spirit lives on in all of us. He was a man of true character and funny as hell! XOXO my love, Jeri"
Jeri Hamilton
May 8th, 2012
"Days may come and go but memories live forever. Many, many wonderful memories to ponder. Sholom Alechem-rest in peace."
florence obstfeld
April 9th, 2012


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