Robert Michael (Mike) Bowman, age 81, passed away on at his home in Moscow on Monday, January 23, 2017. He suffered from pulmonary fibrosis complicated by a heart condition.
He was born September 12, 1935, in Fairmont, West Virginia, to Robert Lear Bowman and Gladys Daisy Grimes Bowman.
Mike started his education in the Fairmont schools, then went on to the University of West Virginia at Morgantown, WV. He knew as a small boy that he wanted to become a forester. He came west from West Virginia to pursue a degree in forestry at the University of Washington. He graduated in 1959 with a Bachelor of Science degree.
In 1955 he joined the Smokejumpers in Winthrop, WA. He jumped for 5 years out of several different bases in the western states.
From 1960-1962 he served his country in the U. S. Army as a Battery Commander at Ft. Niagara in Youngstown, New York. After his tour in the Army, he started his forestry career in Alaska with the Bureau of Land Management. During his career he worked for two agencies, the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service. He served in many locations (19) across the western United States and Washington DC. His last assignment was with the Forest Service in Missoula, MT. as the Assistant Director of Fire Management. His career with both agencies spanned almost 30 years. He retired in 1985.
During the span of his career he was instrumental in the development of the National Fire Academy in Emmetsburg, MD, and the National Fire Center in Boise, both of which have grown to be major contributors to overhead and wildfire training.
After retirement, he worked for the City of Lewiston, Idaho, and established the new Community Forestry Program which expanded to most of the small surrounding communities.
Mike was very active in a number of community non-profit programs that assisted families in crisis. Many people characterized Mike’s interest in people as “he dared to care.” He was a member of St. Augustine’s Catholic Church and attended two men’s prayer groups. He was involved in St. Vincent DePaul, Family Promise, and The Hope Center.
Survivors include his wife, Mary, married September 27, 1986, at Moscow, Idaho. His children include sons Michael R. Bowman, Glouscester, MA, Kelly B. Bowman, Newcastle, WA, daughters Jennifer M. Bowman, Prince Frederick, MD, Melinda K. Bowman, Missoula, MT and three step children S. Dawn Williams, Pocatello, ID., Kathleen M. Williams, Enterprise, OR., and Carman A. Johnson, Pullman, WA.
A rosary will be recited at 10:30 AM on Saturday, January 28, 2017 at St. Augustine’s Catholic Church, 628 S. Deakin Ave. in Moscow. The Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 AM by Rev. Chase Hasenoehrl.
A luncheon and time of fellowship will be at St. Mary’s Church Family Center, First and Howard Streets, afterward.
The family suggests memorials be made to St. Augustine’s Catholic Church.