Cover photo for John Dalton Bowen's Obituary
John Dalton Bowen Profile Photo
1940 John 2024

John Dalton Bowen

June 29, 1940 — January 24, 2024

Duluth

John D. Bowen, 83, Duluth, died Wednesday, January 24, 2024, at Essentia-St. Mary’s Medical Center.

John was born June 29, 1940, to George and Grace (Tompkins) Bowen in South Carolina, where he grew up and attended school. He served in the South Carolina Army National Guard from 1955 to 1958, and the U.S. Air Force from 1958 until 1979. His first Air Force assignment was at the Duluth Air Base 1958-1962.  During this time, he met Colleen “Cookie” Montgomery and they were married on July 2, 1960. While stationed at Eielson AF Base in Alaska (1962-1965) John and Cookie lived in North Pole, Alaska, where John also worked for the City of North Pole changing streetlights, and the Santa Claus House, mailing letters to kids from Santa. The March 27, 1964, earthquake in Anchorage was felt in North Pole. His last assignment was again in Duluth as First Sergeant 23 Air Defense Squadron.

Military awards he received include the Bronze Star, Meritorius Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with 2 two oak leaf clusters, Vietnam Service Medal, and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

After his military service, John was employed by the WLSSD until retiring again in 2002.

John served on the Duluth Township Zoning Commission and the North Shore Sanitary District Board. He was a former member of the VFW, American Legion and in the 1980s served as president of the Duluth Chapter of the Air Force Sergeant’s Association. 

John was preceded in death by a beloved grandson, Joshua Bolen; and his furball companion, Fritz.

He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Colleen “Cookie”; a daughter, Debra Bolen; a grandson, Jason (Brandy) Bolen; and a sister, Linda (Charles) Gibson.

In lieu of flowers memorials are preferred to the Two Harbors Food Shelf or Two Harbors Humane Society in John’s name.

Private graveside services with military honors will be held at a later date. 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John Dalton Bowen, please visit our flower store.

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