James Dale Bowman

June 24, 1935 ~ January 12, 2020

Born in: Washington County , Tennessee
Resided in: Johnson City , Tennessee

Dr. James D. Bowman died January 12, 2020. He was a native of Gray, TN and one of 12 children born to Elbert S. Bowman, Sr. and Martha Gladys Barnes Bowman.

He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Helen Mays Bowman; sons, Brad Bowman, and Phil Bowman; and granddaughter Heaven Aziz.

Other survivors include his sister, Joann (Darrell Lee) Jones; three brothers and their wives; Ray (Dorothy Jo), Tony (Kathy), and the Rev. Robert (Lorraine), and his sister-in-law Lou Bowman as well as numerous nephews, nieces, and cousins.

In addition to his parents, Jim was predeceased by two sisters, Nancy Carolyn Bowman and Wanda (Edgar) Church; and five brothers: Dalton “Buddy,” Alan J. “Jake,” Elbert S. “Junior,” Billy M., and the Rev. Weldon Bowman.

Dr. Bowman was a retired educator, having been a special instructor at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and Andrews Air Force Base. He taught in the Tennessee school systems of Sullivan and Washington Counties as well as Kingsport and Johnson City. He was a professor at Lincoln Memorial University, Prince George’s Community College, Milligan College, and for 33 years at East Tennessee State University where he served on the Faculty Senate and as a faculty advisor for the Student Tennessee Education Association. He founded ETSU’s Summer Reading Workshop, served on the editorial board of the International Reading Association, and was the 1990 recipient of the Tennessee Distinguished Classroom Teacher in Higher Education.

A graduate of Science Hill High School, he received his undergraduate and his Master’s degrees from ETSU. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Maryland in 1975.

Dr. Bowman served as charter president of the Traditional Appalachian Musical Heritage Association. He also worked bringing distinction to the Bowman family’s contributions to the birth of country music as well as western swing.

Jim served in the U.S. Army Reserves as a surgical technician in the Medical Corps as well as an instructor and a signalman for the Transportation Corps.

For seventeen years, Jim was involved in music ministries for several East Tennessee churches. As a member of Central Baptist Church in Johnson City since 1979, Jim enjoyed singing with their chancel choir and serving in several leadership roles.

A memorial service for Dr. Bowman will be held on Thursday January 16th at 2:00 PM in the sanctuary of Central Baptist Church in Johnson City with Gene Elliott and Tim Tapp officiating. Music will be provided by the Bowman Brothers. The family will greet visitors following the memorial service in the church’s Welcome Corridor.

To honor his memory, it was Jim’s request that donations be made to Good Samaritan Ministries, P.O.Box 2441, Johnson City, TN 37605-2441. https://goodsamjc.org


Memorial Service: January 16, 2020 2:00 pm

Central Baptist Church
300 N. Roan Street
Johnson City, Tennessee 37601


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The family greatly appreciates donations made to these charities in James Dale Bowman's name.

Good Samaritan Ministries

P.O. Box 2441
Johnson City , TN

Memories Timeline


  1. Chris Gilbert says:

    Peace and comfort to the family. Dr. Bowman was a favorite professor of mine at ETSU. May God bless and watch over his loved ones during this time. Blessings.

  2. JOHN Taylor says:

    My best to Helen, Brad, and Phil, John Taylor

  3. Bill Brown says:

    Prayers to Helen and the family.

  4. Lana Kaye Craig says:

    So sorry to hear of the passing of Mr. Bowman. He was a very special man and was married to a wonderful woman.Heaven has a sweet new resident in Jim Bowman. God bless Helen and all of the family.

  5. Samona McMillan says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Memory eternal.

  6. Lyn ad Bo Howell says:

    I am so sorry. My prayers are with you.

  7. David Rose says:

    I’m sorry for your loss. Jim was a great teacher, friend, and neighbor.
    I am so thankful for the time I got to spend with Jim over the Christmas


    Phil, I’m offering most sincere condolences to you and your family. Love and light to you all in this sorrowful time.


    Phillip, my most sincere condolences to you and your family in your time of grief. Sending love and light.

  10. Kim Mummert says:

    Prayers for the family God Bless you all

  11. Peggy Willocks [email protected] says:

    Dr. Bowman & Family,

    You were one of my favorite teachers at ETSU. I think I had you for three of my classes. You were brilliant, witty, and fair. I know that there was a big hole left in teacher education when you left the profession. I remember the little mental.challenges of teaching that you gave your students to help them store something important; like USSR (unsustained Self-serving Silent Reading). You will be greatly missed, especially by this student fan. Enjoy your new peace in Heaven. I’ll be certain to look for you when I get to Heaven!

  12. Sammy Collins says:

    So sorry for your loss.
    Sending prayers for your family.
    He will definitely be missed.

  13. David Howard says:

    Helen & family,
    What a legacy Jim has left in so many areas of his life. I am glad I had the privilege of sharing both of our love for music as we sang together in the CBC Chancel Coir & on occasions in a special group. He was so committed to our church. He always had a sense of humor that I enjoyed—keeping a positive outlook even with struggles. What a wonderful celebration he is experiencing—May your many memories comfort you now & forever. He touched many lives!

    David & Judy Howard

  14. Helen so sorry for your loss may God give you comfort.
    Phyllis ( Ward) and Bob Dugger

  15. Andrea Cross Gates says:

    So sorry to hear of Dr Bowman’s passing. I had him in class at ETSU. He was a wonderful teacher and man. Dr Bowman always knew me years later when our paths would cross, call me by name and talk for awhile. He will always have a special place in my heart and life. Sending love and prayers to the Bowman family. Andrea Cross Gates

  16. Gary Fair says:

    I’m so sorry. May you and your family be comforted through the thoughts and prayers of your many friends.

  17. Lisa Lantz says:

    Phil and Brad, my deepest sympathies to you both❤️

  18. Charlotte Brown Stafford says:

    So sorry to hear of your loss. He was a special teacher and friend. He was very inspiring and supportive for me in the reading department at ETSU. We shared both being from Gray, TN. He loved to share about his family and had great pride in all they have accomplished.❤️🙏

  19. Anna Perkins says:

    The Bowman family, so sorry to hear of Jim’s passing. I used to love hearing him and the other choir members sing in the church service. Praying for you and your family. Sincerely, Anna Perkins

  20. Elaine Witty Binegar says:

    Our deepest sympathies to your family. Although we are unable to attend the service, our thoughts and prayers are with you.

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