Carl Arthur Bowman

50yr_annivCarl Arthur Bowman, 89, passed away peacefully on August 18th 2013.  Art was born December 1, 1923 in Seattle and attended Lincoln High School (class of 1941).  Upon the death of his father in 1942, and with his older brother Clarence already in the Army, Art left the University of Washington, to take over the family dry cleaning business in Ballard to support his mother and sister. Thus at the age of 19, he gave up his dream to become an attorney and remained with Sparkle Cleaners for 41 years.  Amongst his peers, he was known as Seattle’s best dry-cleaning expert.
Growing up in Wallingford, Art attended Swedish Baptist Church (later known as Central Baptist).  After meeting Jean McLean while a guest soloist at Queen Anne Baptist Church, he started visiting there and began a courtship which resulted in their marriage in May of 1951.  At Queen Anne he served on the Board of Trustees and led the Youth Choir on Sunday evenings and Singspirations after the service.  Later the family attended Seattle First Baptist, where Art also served on the Board of Deacons. When Dr. Bruce Larson became pastor of University Presbyterian Church, Art and Jean made their final church move to become members of that congregation.

Music was always a very important part of Art’s life, starting at age seven when he and his sister sang together on the radio.  His rich bass voice was an asset in many choirs.  He sang in barber shop quartettes, duets and solos and was a member of the Clarion Male Chorus.  Art was the soloist for many weddings, including his daughters.  He also sang for many funerals, sometimes singing “Children of the Heavenly Father” in Swedish.  For many years on Christmas morning he returned to Central Baptist to sing “O Holy Night” in Swedish for the “Julotta” service at six a.m.   A music highlight for Art was when he had the privilege of singing the Star Spangled Banner at the Kingdome for a Mariner’s game with over 30,000 in attendance.

During the years the children were growing up the family spent summer vacations towing a small trailer and visiting most of the Western half of the United States. It was his voice around the campfire that drew fellow campers together in nightly sing-alongs creating memories that last until this day. When Art retired, he and Jean enjoyed their time traveling together with the Airstream Club.

In 1985 they discovered Venture Out in Arizona and started spending their winters there.  Art joined the choir and led fun “Singspirations” normally attended by two to three hundred residents.  He also served on the Social Board and the Condo Board.  Art was a very social and outgoing person who loved living an active life.  Art and Jean enjoyed entertaining their friends and family.  Many wonderful memories were generated when they hosted Hotdog Feeds and Potlucks on their patio.  Don and Dave loved to send fresh Dungeness crab to Mesa, so Jean could make her famous Crab Soufflé to share with good friends.   Both Art and Jean learned to play tennis, and as members of the Tennis Club acquired many wonderful new friends.  Later on, they both learned to play Pickle ball.

Fishing with friends and family was a consistent element throughout Art’s life.  Art had many favorite memories involving fishing adventures (and miss-adventures) and was delighted to know that his love of fishing was passed along to his children.  Whether or not it was salmon fishing in the salt water or fishing for rainbow trout while camping, Dad was really happy with a pole in his hand and everybody catching fish.

Art led a rich life centered on his family, church and community.  Art was at his happiest when surrounded by family and friends (both long lasting and newly minted).   He taught his children the joys of a full family life, respect for others, a love of the outdoors and the importance of giving back to your community. He was proud of his Swedish heritage. He actively served the Ballard community through involvement in many organizations including 35 years as a Ballard Rotarian, serving as Song Leader and a term as President. For many years, Art was involved in the Rotary Youth Foreign Exchange Program serving for a time as Chairman.  Students from many different countries found a home with the Bowman’s during their stays in the U.S. When an International Rotary Convention was held in the Seattle Opera House, Art served as the Song Leader.  Ballard Rotary Club awarded him a Paul Harris Fellowship.

Art was awarded the PTA Golden Acorn award for his years of tireless service supporting Seattle Public Schools. ThisPicture1cr support included several years as North End Chairman of Levy and Bond drives and being active in the P.T.A    He was a member of the Swedish Club and the Ballard Elks Club. Art was a Cub master and active in supporting his sons in Boy Scouts. For many years, he along with his brother served as the Master of Ceremony for the Norwegian Independence Day Parade in Ballard.

He will be missed by Jean, his wife of 62 years, sons Donald (Eileen) and David (Lisa), daughters Kathy (Clif) and Janice, grandchildren, Danielle, Nicole, Elliott, C.K., Callie, Kate, Joe, Marielle and Erika and great grandson Will. Please join us for a celebration of Art’s life on October 11 at Univ. Presbyterian Church, 4540 15th Ave NE at 1pm. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made in his memory to Rotary Foundation, 14280 Collections Center Drive Chicago, IL 60693 USA or online at, or a charity of your choice.

One Response to “Carl Arthur Bowman”

  • Heather Kiernan says:

    Dear Bowman family,
    I have just found this site and want you all to know however belatedly how wonderful a man your husband, father and grandfather was to me. Although we have not been in touch these last few years and Jean and Art were not in town on my last 2 visits, I have fond memories of all the great experiences Art provided for me through the Ballard Rotary, and also through the goodness of the Bowman family.
    I look forward to Jeans Christmas mail each year.
    Thinking of you all. Thank you for sharing such a lovely man with lots of exchange students, especially me!!

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