For those who would like to attend the service virtually: https://zoom.us/j/92205369120?pwd=QjlCNVNvWUxqVFdDSm9UVzdZcjJPZz09
Donn Seymour Bowman, beloved father, grandfather, great grandfather, Scoutmaster, builder, teacher, and friend, passed away peacefully on Thursday, 2 February 2023, just a week short of his 99th birthday.
Donn was born on 9 February 1924 in Colonia Dublán, one of the Mormon Colonies of Mexico, to Claudious and Jennie Bowman. He was the sixth of their nine children, seven sons and two daughters.
Donn was full of life and fun. He appreciated and loved all his teachers, even though he caused them some grief because he also loved mischief. He, along with his brother Keith, Dan Taylor, and Moroni Abegg, formed a club they called “The Winged Four”. They built and test-piloted model airplanes, using the clubhouse they constructed as a study hall and laboratory for that hobby and many other adventures. They also formed bonds of friendship that lasted for over eighty years.
Donn gave the valedictory address at his eighth-grade graduation and then attended high school at Juarez Stake Academy in Colonia Juarez. He enjoyed the twice daily bus ride from Dublán, singing, laughing, and studying with his friends. He was elected editor of the school newspaper his senior year. His first official date with his future wife, Maurine Lunt, was to their graduation dance in May 1942; he described her as “the most beautiful, vivacious girl in school”.
Donn financed his first two years at Brigham Young University by cutting weeds around campus and working as a night watchman. He was then called as a missionary in the Mexican Mission from 1943 to 1946. Maurine served in the same mission until the summer of 1945. As Donn put it, “The mission rules weren’t broken, just strained a little” while they served in the same area for several months. Later Donn became editor of the mission magazine and other publications. It was at his suggestion that President Arwell Pierce asked President David O. McKay for permission to use the name “Liahona” for the mission magazine. This change became effective with the January 1945 issue. The Liahona was eventually published throughout South America and is now the name of the Church’s worldwide magazine.
When Donn returned to Dublán after his mission, he found Maurine engaged to someone else; but, with encouragement from his father, he won her heart and they married in the Mesa Temple on 26 April 1946. After a summer working at Jacob Lake, they returned to BYU and struggled together as he continued his education. Maurine worked as a waitress and took in boarders, while Donn taught Spanish classes at BYU, worked swing shift at a cast iron pipe company, and sold a one-volume encyclopedia. They had two children before he graduated from BYU in May 1949, majoring in Chemistry with a minor in Zoology.
Having taken pre-med classes, Donn applied to the University of Utah School of Medicine and was accepted as an alternate. With help from family members, he bought a house on First Avenue in Salt Lake City in the same ward as President David O. McKay. They had two more children during their years there. To pay off their loans as well as meet the expenses of a growing family, Donn worked as a laborer in construction, sold and installed tile and formica, and held a job as a chemist.
When Donn’s father was called as President of the Mexican Mission in 1953, he asked Donn and Maurine to sell their home in Utah and move with their four young children to Dublán to live in the family home while he was gone. Donn took over the operation of the flour mill, which had been rebuilt after a fire in 1951. When his father was killed in a car accident in 1958 while traveling on mission business, the move became permanent – but the job wasn’t.
The mill had been sold in 1957, and Donn had turned to construction to make his livelihood. He built up a business that included carpenter, structural iron, and machine shops and a building materials store. He trained men to do plumbing, electrical, and masonry work. He designed and built and/or remodeled most of the homes and swimming pools built in Nuevo Casas Grandes and the Colonies during the next 15 years. His work included partnerships with Church supervisors to build schools, a gymnasium, and new chapels. He planted an orchard out on the flat, which he later sold to his brother Claudius. He and his brother Keith developed a successful cattle ranch out near the lakes.
Tragedy struck when the Bowman pioneer home burned down in 1973, but Donn was always optimistic and positive about life. He and Maurine held a family council with his four youngest children, all born in Mexico and still living at home, and the decision was made to use the insurance money to first build a pool and tennis court and then build a new home.
In the fall of 1969, Donn began teaching at Academia Juarez. For the next 19 years he taught English, American History, and shop classes, including carpentry, auto mechanics, welding, printing, and mechanical drawing. To improve his teaching skills, he attended summer classes at BYU. He worked with the BYU technology department to transfer their outdated equipment to the JSA. Besides shop equipment, he helped acquire a multilith printer and a Veratype machine. He stopped teaching at the end of the 1988 school year.
Donn’s lifetime of service in the Church began soon after he moved to Dublán. He was called as a counselor in the Dublán Ward Bishopric from 1953 to 1956, and again in 1985. He served as a counselor in the Juarez Stake presidency from 1956 through 1968. He was a Gospel Doctrine teacher and Ward YMMIA President, and he and Maurine served as Branch Presidents in Hidalgo from 1978 to 1983.
In addition to these callings, Donn volunteered to be Scoutmaster in 1967 and spent 19 years serving in that capacity for countless young men. He then became stake scout director in 1986 and built up scout troops in every unit of the stake, as well as working with units in Nuevo Casas Grandes and Ciudad Juarez.
Donn and Maurine served a full-time mission together as directors of the Church Visitors Center in Montevideo, Uruguay, from 1989 to 1991. Donn also traveled around the country to encourage implementation of the scouting program there. After returning home, they moved to Mesa, AZ in 1992 to be closer to their children. They served as workers in the Mesa Temple, but loved to return “home” to the Colonies at every opportunity to visit family and friends.
Another trial began in 1995 when Maurine was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of cancer. Her death on 4 January 2002 was a painful loss after 55 years of constant companionship and love, tempered only by the knowledge that they would be together again.
Donn continued to serve in the temple, where he eventually met Nancy Iacoi, whom he married in the Mesa Temple on 19 April 2003. They were able to travel extensively together both before and after serving in the Cochabamba Bolivia Temple Mission from January 2004 to July 2005. Nancy passed away unexpectedly from the effects of a brain hemorrhage, on 25 April 2008 in Scottsdale, AZ.
One benefit of Donn’s call to serve in the Cochabamba Temple was that President Faust set him apart as a temple sealer. This gave him the opportunity later to perform sealings for over 20 of his grandchildren and other family members.
Lonely once again, Donn eventually began dating Dorothy Kalember, whom he married in Scottsdale, AZ on 2 January 2009. They took many trips together, but by August 2012 her battle with dementia was becoming increasingly obvious. Donn continued to care for her in their Scottsdale home until a fall sent him to the hospital for ten days in May 2019 and then to a rehabilitation center for physical therapy. Dorothy was placed in a respite
facility; she never was able to speak after his accident and passed away on 8 June 2019, before he could resume caring for her. Donn moved to the Citadel in July 2019, where he lived until the time of his passing.
Donn was the last surviving member of his immediate family. He was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers Claudius, Bob, Wesley, Keith, Maurice, and Tracy; his sisters Dorothy McClellan and Kathleen Criddle; his three wives, Maurine, Nancy, and Dorothy; his son-in-law Gerald Cardon, and three of his grandchildren, Brett and Rae Dawn Bowman and Donn Carlos Brown.
Donn is survived by his eight children: Marza Cardon; Greg (Kathy) Bowman; Renee (John) Hatch; Dan (Kellie) Bowman; Harold (Alicia) Bowman; Donn (Nancy) Bowman; Roxie (David) Brown; and Rhett (Colleen) Bowman; 42 of his 45 grandchildren; and 118 great grandchildren (with more on the way!). He will be missed by the extended Bowman and Lunt-Taylor families. Many will especially miss his birthday and Christmas cards,
packed with pictures and inspirational messages.
A viewing will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, 15 February 2023, at the Bunker University Chapel, 3529 E. University Drive, Mesa, AZ. On Thursday morning, 16 February 2023, a viewing will begin at 9 a.m. and services will begin at 10 a.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, located at 4640 E. Holmes Ave., Mesa. Interment will be in the Mesa City Cemetery following the services.
Arrangements by Bunker’s University Chapel, www.bunkerfuneral.com. Should this obituary appear anywhere but bunkerfuneral.com, please check our website for accurate details and service information.