Nov. 15, 1932 – July 10, 2015
The Right Rev. David C. Bowman, the ninth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York, died Fridav in Cleveland. He was 82.
Bishop Bowman was born in Oil City, Pa., and attended Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, where he earned a degree in 1955, and Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Va. He served in the Army from 1955 to 1957 and was stationed at Fort Jackson, S.C.
He was ordained to the diaconate in June 1960 by Bishop Beverly Tucker of Ohio, and later to the priesthood in December 1960 by Bishop Nelson Burroughs of Ohio. Bishop Bowman married the former Nancy Lou Betts in 1962, and the two raised three children.
Early in his career, he served as an assistant at a number of Episcopal churches, including Epiphany in Cleveland from 1960 to 1963. He also served as rector of St. Andrews in Youngstown, Ohio, from 1967 to 1973, and of Trinity in Toledo, Ohio, from 1980 to 1986.
Bishop Bowman was elected bishop coadjutor of Western New York in 1986 and served as bishop from 1987 until 1998.
He prided himself as being accessible and taking a “proactive” role with the clergy. He also was credited with stabilizing church membership, which was on the decline in the 1980s, when he became leader of the diocese.
While he was bishop, the diocese launched a campaign that raised more than $4 million for local support of the church and its mission at the diocesan and national levels.
He also served on the board of the Episcopal Church Home, a retirement community, and Compass House, a home for runaway youth. He was an active leader of the Buffalo Area Metropolitan Ministries and helped pave the way to a merger with the Buffalo Area Council of Churches.
The Right Rev. R. William Franklin, the current bishop of the diocese, remembered Bishop Bowman as a friend and colleague who “cared deeply for the congregations and people of Western New York” and who was available to him for insight and history.
“I greatly appreciated his support, friendship and prayers,” he said.
On the national level, Bishop Bowman served on the Episcopal Churches Program Budget and Finance Committee for nine years. He also served as the vice chair of the House of Bishop’s Planning Committee, where he assisted in the planning of the historic joint meeting with the Lutheran Conference of Bishops and the Episcopal House of Bishops.
Following his retirement, he and his wife moved to Cleveland, where he served as assisting bishop in the Diocese of Ohio.
A funeral is being planned for the Cleveland area.