John P. Bowe Memorial Scholarship


The John P. Bowe Memorial Scholarship was established by James E. and Carol A. Bowe to benefit graduating Pleasant Valley seniors. This Scholarship honors and remembers James’ brother, John; a kind and gentle soul whose only sin was to be born a few years too early.

John was born August 23, 1948 with a severe mental handicap and somewhat physically impaired due to a condition which would label him as an “RH baby.” Parents with opposite blood antigens, (one positive, and one negative) can produce offspring with this condition unless the fetus is transfused in the womb to match the mother’s antigen. This knowledge, and the procedure to correct the condition, came a few years too late for Johnny.

John’s early years were rough for him and his mother.  At age 12 he went to live at the Glenwood State Hospital for the Handicapped. After several moves, he found a loving home in 1994 at the Handicapped Development Residential Center in Davenport. The HDC became his second family, and though hampered by his lack of verbal skill, he soon became a favorite of the staff. The love they had for him showed in the care they gave for him.

When he wasn’t working at the HDC workshop, he liked partaking in several activities. John loved the Special Olympics, feeding the birds, shopping with staff, church, Quad City Symphony and Camp Courageous. He loved going to dances and booster parties as well.  One of his favorite times was listening to his brother play the guitar.

John’s death came suddenly and tragically when he choked on a mid-morning snack at the HDC workshop. They were unable to clear his airway and he was without oxygen for too long. Three days later, on July 31, 2008, he passed away quietly at Genesis West.

John P. Bowe was a man who was never in the public eye; a man who never had the chance to achieve greatness, to have a family, to build a legacy. The love of all who knew him will be in his legacy, as well as this scholarship which will bear his name forever.

We congratulate those of you who will benefit from this scholarship. We hope it is the spark that ignites your fire for learning. When difficult times come, and they do in all of our lives, think of John and maybe your hurdles will seem a little less tall. 

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