Date of death: 7/18/2014
Saint Meinrad Class: O 1946
After four years of failing health and having received the comfort and consolation of the sacraments, John J. Bower, age 93, died peacefully at 3:45 p.m. on Friday, July 18, 2014, at Pacific Coast Manor, Capitola, California, where he had resided since 2010. Mr. Bower was born on April 20, 1921, in Kentland, Newton County, Indiana, where his family had settled in the 1860s. He was the sixth child of eight children of the late John and Kathryn (Clark) Bower. Never married, he outlived all of his siblings. He was preceded in death by his only brother, James W. Bower, and his sisters Mary Freiling, Florence Puetz, Helen Brouillette, Rita Brunette, Dolores Esposito and Grace Garavaglia.Mr. Bower attended elementary school in Newton County, Indiana, and began his studies for the Roman Catholic priesthood at Saint Meinrad Seminary, St. Meinrad, Indiana, in 1935. After two years of philosophy, he entered the novitiate of the Benedictine Abbey at Saint Meinrad. He left the seminary in 1946 but remained a loyal and generous alumnus. Mr. Bower served in the United States Army for two years and for one year was stationed in Alaska. He began his studies at Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, California, in 1949 and graduated in 1953. That same year he began a very successful career at IBM, which would last 30 years.Known for his keen intellect, razor-sharp wit and quick repartee, he was a welcome guest with his many friends and extended family. During his long career at IBM as an industrial engineer, he traveled extensively throughout the United States and enjoyed travel in his leisure time as well. Because he was single, he was able to visit his siblings and their children on a regular basis and enjoyed keeping family members informed about one another.Generous to a fault, he was active in many not-for-profit organizations. No matter where he was stationed with IBM, he was active in the local Catholic parish, the Knights of Columbus and Alcoholics Anonymous. He was grateful that through the years he was able to help countless others become involved with AA and he was proud of the fact that at the time of his death, he had obtained over 60 years of sobriety.Always a faithful Catholic, he assisted at daily Mass after his retirement insofar as he was able and was a faithful St. Vincent de Paul worker as long as his health allowed.He is survived by 20 nieces and nephews and several great-nieces and nephews. The family is especially grateful to his niece, Monica (Bower) Esposito Seffinger of Santa Cruz, who cared for him in the final years of his life. On Friday, July 25, calling hours, a scriptural rosary, and funeral liturgy will be celebrated at Holy Cross Catholic Church, 120 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060. Calling hours begin at 9 a.m. A scriptural rosary will be prayed at 10 a.m. and the Funeral Mass will follow. Entombment will be in Holy Cross Cemetery. Benito & Azzaro Pacific Garden Chapel, 1050 Cayuga Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95062 is handling arrangements. Please make memorial contributions to the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Holy Cross Church or to Saint Meinrad Archabbey, 100 Hill Drive, St. Meinrad, IN 47577.