John Williams Bowles, age 79 years of Niles, Michigan, husband, father, grandfather, fisherman, honorable veteran, and devout Catholic died peacefully at 6:30 a.m. on Friday, October 8, 2021 at his home following an extended illness. His family is grateful for the kind and compassionate care provided by the staff of Caring Circle Hospice at Home.
He was born on January 7, 1942 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Leroy A. and Veronica M. (Williams) Bowles. He enlisted in the United States Air Force, serving as a firefighter on airfields in Mississippi and North Dakota, and was Honorably Discharged. In 1977 he came to Niles and established the J. W. Bowles Well Drilling company serving area residential and business water service needs. As owner and operator, he took service calls twenty-four hours a day, and all 365 days of the year, including a few Christmas Day emergencies. He also recognized special financial needs, and found ways to serve every family who called him.
John was a member of Saint Mary Catholic Church in Niles, and the Knights of Columbus Father Allouez Council #708 in Niles. He was a great fan of the University of Notre Dame Football team, bringing his bus “The 50 Yard Line” to tailgate parties at the stadium, and attending many away games. He was also a member of the B.P.O.of Niles Elks #1322, and the American Legion Post #365 in Edwardsburg, Michigan.
He enjoyed traveling to Europe, especially Ireland, trips to South America, and fishing in the ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. He also enjoyed skiing, usually “up north” at Boyne Mountain, and he loved boating. His first big boat was appropriately christened the “Well Wisher”, and was later upgraded with a larger craft, the “Well Wisher 2”, but since it was “the big one” it was often referred-to as “WWII”.
On October 9, 1965 in Crookston, Minnesota he married the former Marjorie A. Dounley with whom he celebrated their remarkable Fifty-fifth Wedding Anniversary - 364 days ago.
Surviving family includes his wife, Marjorie Bowles and their daughter, Christine (& Thomas) Derwent of Granger, Indiana; grandson, Alexander Thomas Derwent; John’s sisters, Mary Reich of Warren, Ohio and Patricia (& Paul) Bippen of Columbus, Indiana; several nieces and nephews including their Goddaughter, Jennifer; and a large circle of great friends, many of whom are longtime customers.
The Mass of Christian Burial for John Bowles was celebrated privately by his family and relatives at Saint Mary Catholic Church by the Rev. Christian Johnston. That event may be viewed on the Halbritter-Wickens Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/halbritterwickensfuneralservices/ .
Contributions in memory of John may be made to Saint Mary Catholic Church, 219 South State Street, Niles, Michigan, 49120, https://stmarysniles.org/ ; or to the Caring Circle Hospice at Home, 4025 Health Park Lane, Saint Joseph, Michigan, 49085, https://lakelandcare.com/directory/practice/caring-circle-hospice-home-st-joseph .
Arrangements were made at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street in Niles. Online condolences may be left at:
John worked hard and served . . well, whether protecting the country’s airfields or protecting the water supply for his neighbors. He also played hard and . . . well, traveling internationally, skiing, and fishing, but he loved, even more than these things, his family, and included them in his business and his fun. All evidence of fulfilling the command to Love God and Love People; and John often met those people – as Jesus once did – at the well.