John McLacken and Roger Rosenthal Mourn the Passing of Bob Bowen

John McLacken and Roger Rosenthal Mourn the Passing of Bob Bowen

February 28, 2017 in In Memoriam, Notes

John McLacken (MC) and Roger Rosenthal (MC) report the sad news that our classmate Bob Bowen (MC) passed away suddenly and unexpectedly, after a brief illness, on January 22, 2017 in his home town of Fort Worth, Texas. Robert Lee Bowen, Jr. grew up in Fort Worth and attended Fort Worth Country Day School, where he graduated as class Valedictorian.

At Yale he pursued the prestigious History, the Arts, and Letters (HAL) major, was a member of the Elizabethan Club, and made many lifelong friends in a broad range of people from classes 1970 through 1975. Bob spent one summer during college working and researching at the Prado Museum in Madrid. After Yale, Bob earned his Master’s degree at the University of Texas at Austin and soon thereafter moved to Washington, DC where he worked at the National Gallery of Art. Before long his unique talents were recognized and he became Special Assistant to famed director J. Carter Brown. While in this position, Bob met countless interesting and notable people who visited the Museum. On one such occasion, Bob made a personal contribution to Glasnost, diplomatically conducting a private Gallery tour for First Ladies Nancy Reagan and Raisa Gorbachev. Following Mr. Brown’s retirement, Bob eventually returned to Fort Worth, working for the Kimball Museum and doing a variety of special consulting projects. 

Bob was known for many things, not the least of which were his joyful and hilarious storytelling, his consummate skill as a host, his unsurpassed wit, and his infectious charm. But Bob was most cherished as a very loyal friend who, for example, dropped everything to fly halfway across the country to help a friend recover from a hospital stay. Bob was always supportive, never forgot a birthday, and in freshman year, saved the sanity, and probably the Yale career, of at least one fellow freshman. To know and benefit from Bob’s caring friendship and love was to bask in the light of a warm sun, to feel very special, to believe that somehow you must be better than you knew or thought you were. He leaves behind a terrible void in a large group of friends who are shocked and deeply saddened by his sudden passing.

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