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In Memory

Michael Bowen

Michael (Mike) Paul Bowen

9/10/1944 - 9/16/2023


Michael (Mike) Paul Bowen was born on Sept. 10, 1944 in Lawton, Oklahoma to Richard Chaffee Bowen and Peggy Edythe Stephens Bowen. He and his four siblings were raised in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, where he grew up, attended high school, and swam competitively. After high school, he attended Eastern New Mexico University on a swimming scholarship and studied studio art.

In 1964, Mike enlisted in the US Navy and was selected for submarine and nuclear training. He served for seven years on nuclear submarines and broadened his mechanical skills. In 1968, while stationed in San Diego, he met and married Barbara Stahnke.

As a result of his swimming and mechanical abilities and naval background, Mike became a lifelong sailor, working on commercial fishing and tugboat vessels. He sailed primarily in Alaska, but also voyaged throughout the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans. He was mechanically gifted and known for his ability to troubleshoot and fix nearly any mechanical thing with little introduction.

After his military discharge, Mike and Barbara returned to Minneapolis, where their daughter Melissa was born and raised. Mike enrolled in the University of Minnesota to study studio art and, true to form, made many lifelong friends with whom he lived the hippie lifestyle in the thriving artist communities of the Twin Cities and Grand Marais, MN. One such friend was Teri Nomura, who he married in 1983, following his separation and divorce from Barbara. He went on many adventures in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and loved Minnesota.

Mike and Teri moved to Irondale, WA in 1984, where they raised their children, Sumiko and Midori. Mike was an avid motorcyclist and active in the PT AA chapter, but most loved growing plants, tending animals (including his human brood), and making things. He enjoyed reading and was a prolific letter-writer.

The COVID-19 pandemic took a severe toll on Mike’s social life. He dearly missed all his friends and family. After a prolonged physical decline, Mike sailed painlessly onward from this life on September 16, 2023, surrounded by his dearest loved ones. He is most remembered for his kindness, offbeat sense of humor, story-telling, easy charm, and creativity.

Mike is survived by his wife, Teri; son, Jon Bowen; daughters, Melissa Bowen (Kyle Peterson), Sumiko Vandenberg (Erik), and Midori Bowen (Tristan Stoch); sisters, Mary Bowen-Esenbock and Barbara Jean Bowen Lemm (Fred Lemm); brother Richard Bowen (Patricia Starr-Bowen); and six grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his father, Richard, mother, Peggy, and sister, Penny.

funeral: A memorial celebrating Mike’s life will be held locally for his friends and family on Sunday, October 15th, 2023.