John Bowden III

Obituary of John Austin Bowden III

Our John A. Bowden III, age 63, passed away the morning of April 28, 2020. He leaves behind a legacy of community service, a deep love for family, a notable passion for aviation, a penchant for peace, an honest sense of humor, his assorted "collection of hobbies" and of course, unbreakable strength. His greatest accomplishments in life were being a devoted husband to his surviving wife, an attentive father of a daughter, and a doting “Pops” to his granddaughter whom he loved unconditionally. ​John A Bowden, III was born in Jacksonville, Florida in 1956. He was raised on multiple naval stations across the United States as the son of a career Navy Master Chief. He graduated from Clinton High school in 1975 and earned his Associate’s Degree at Copiah-Lincoln Community College in 1977. He later attended the University of Southern Mississippi through 1979 where he met his surviving spouse, Sheila Pierce. It was certainly love at first sight. They were married in 1979 in Jackson, Mississippi. In 1984, they proudly gave birth to their daughter Megan N. Bowden. John secured and sustained several managerial positions throughout the years before beginning his long-term career at the Mississippi Department of Employment Security where he retired as the Computer Operations Manager in 2010. After retirement, he continued his love of computers by building and repairing equipment for friends and family. Outside of his career accomplishments, John served as a founding volunteer for creating the Madison Square Center for the Arts, formerly known as Madison-Ridgeland High School. He stage managed multiple ballet and theatre productions at the facility. John was known as a well-rounded, gifted artisan. He was often busy designing, drawing, and assembling intricate models of paper airplanes as an active member and founder of Design Group Alpha, where he developed a close bond with many across the world. His membership in Design Group Alpha not only garnered great friendships, his artwork caught the attention of many eyes locally and globally. All proceeds from DGA sales were donated to various naval aviation museums across the world. The Ridgeland Library featured his paper airplanes on display; graphic art renderings were used on T-shirt designs and other promotional materials across the country. The Orlik Acrobatic Team of the Polish Air Force approached him to use his drawings of planes that they currently fly for performance brochures. He willingly offered the use of his art for their promotion. ​John was frequently found in his workshop performing as an avid woodworking craftsman. He took his talent to the Mississippi Gulf Coast to provide countless hours of assistance rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina. ​When John Bowden wasn’t “collecting” other hobbies, he was most certainly always on his boat. He considered fishing more than just a sport, it was a spiritual state-of-mind. He once proclaimed that, “Most people feel closest to God in church, but I feel closest to Him in nature.” That’s where you could find him most any time, closest to God on the calm waters of the Ross Barnett Reservoir as well as the upper Pearl River and various lakes across the southeast United States. ​John's survivors include: his wife of 42 years, Sheila Pierce Bowden; his daughter, Megan Bowden Lann and his grand daughter Caylee Rhea Black Lann (Megan) of Chelsea, Alabama; his father, John A Bowden, Jr. and spouse Carolyn Bowden of Brookhaven, MS; his sister Lee Moore and her husband Carroll Moore of Brookhaven, MS. He was preceded in death by his mother Mary McLaurin Bowden and his grandmother Pauline Velez. We will host the celebration of his life at St. Matthews United Methodist Church in Madison, Mississippi at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association. We would also like to express a special thanks to the St Dominics Cardiac ICU nurses, Beth and Becky, who took extra care of John.
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