Don H. Bowden
I knew Don Hilton Bowden for only three years, but in that relatively short period of time, he became one of the dearest friends I'll ever have.
Don spent the first thirty-five years or so of his life as a musician -- a drummer, to be exact -- who traveled the world. He and his wonderful wife (and romance novel enthusiast) Rita and their two sons, Jason and Joe, lived the kind of life some of us dream about but don't have the guts to reach for. They made their home at various times in Texas, Colorado, Hawaii, and ultimately Alaska where Don went back to school for his master's degree in Education. He went on to teach children in an elementary gifted program in Anchorage.
His passion for education and his absolute steadfast love for and belief in the potential of children were limitless. His kids were two-time winners of the Toshiba/National Science Teacher Association ExploraVision Competition and you know that doesn't happen without an equally gifted teacher at the helm.
The truth is, Don was enthusiastic about everything life had to offer. He could engage in passionate debates on theology, psychology, education, the art of bullfighting, and the infamous walnut episode from the classic Dick Van Dyke Show with equal knowledge and zest. Our debate about Seinfeld's Soup Nazi episode is one of my favorite memories. He loved his wife and sons, his family, his students, his friends, the songs of Leonard Cohen and Iris DeMent, and reading everything from Mark Helprin to Iris Johansen to me.
Don died August 26, 1999 while waiting for a liver transplant. He was at the top of the A-List. He was 53.