Wednesday, February 23, 2011

John Ryburn Bowden: 1929 - 2011

It is with mixed emotions that I must report the passing of my father John Ryburn Bowden. He has made is final flight toward the heavens and will be missed by all who knew him. Missed for his kind spirit, his love of aviation, and for the way he generously shared that passion with others. Yet we are relieved that he will no longer suffer through his courageous battle with Alzheimer's disease and other illnesses.

Many aviation enthusiasts have fond memories of attending one of the annual fly-ins hosted by my Dad and Mom over a span of 14 years from the late 1970's through the early 1990's. Some of those years, there were two (2) fly-ins. Attended by folks from all over the United States, these events grew to include over a hundred planes and several hundred visitors and participants. This was Dad's way of contributing and sharing in the promotion of grassroots aviation, antique airplanes, and sport flying.

We are so very proud of dad and all of the ways he taught us and cared for us. He lived life to its fullest and made every day a new adventure. His aviation accomplishments alone are marveled by many. Yet these were only small chapters in a life of countless achievements. One newspaper account of his life stated, "Many of us dream of doing things. John Bowden did them." This is an understatement.

Such a story is impossible to tell, short of a biography book. Perhaps one day this will happen. but for now, we will hold to his memory and be thankful for the time we spent with John R. Bowden.


John Ryburn Bowden
December 19, 1929
February 19, 2011

We would love for you to share your memories and comments about dad below.


  1. While I didn't know him well, I have known his children for many years, and did have the honor of meeting John several times, ever time a pleasure.
    You can assess a man many times by what he leaves behind. In John's case, his children. By that standard, if by no other, he was an asset to the world. He left it better than he found it.
    He also leaves behind his appreciation for antique aircraft. I encountered John once on this basis and was impressed by his love and enthusiasm for his "hobby", although I doubt he looked on it as a hobby. More like just another part of who he was.
    Again, he left the world better than he found it. Preservation of the things worth preserving, creation of things to further improve upon our lives, as in his children. What better legacy could a man ask for?

  2. I will never forget the time John took Joe and I up in one of his OLD planes. What a treat. He was a special man with a wonderful loving family! Caroline Parks


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