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John Joseph Bower ’50, after four years of failing health, and having received the comfort and consolation of the sacraments, at age 93, died peacefully on Friday, July 18, 2014, at Pacific Coast Manor, Capitola, California, where he had resided since 2010.
John 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 (Mary) and his sisters Mary Freiling (Syl) ,Florence Puetz (Ray), Helen Brouillette (Arleigh), Rita Brunette (Jay), Dolores Esposito (Leo) ,Grace Garavaglia, and nephew Michael Bower.
John attended elementary school in Newton County, Indiana and began his studies for the Roman Catholic priesthood at St. Meinrad Seminary, St. Meinrad, Indiana in 1935. After two years of philosophy, he entered the novitiate of the Benedictine Abbey at St. Meinrad. He left the seminary in 1946 but remained a loyal and generous alumnus. John 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 1946 and graduated in 1950. 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, and brother-in-law, Albert Garavaglia.