|James H. Bowles, MD, Sr.|
As an adult I moved out to the country with my large family. One of the owners of acreage that adjoined mine, was the man above. He was elderly when I met him and was still practicing family medicine while being the leading member of our county's local government, that year. He seemed impressed that I was a critical care RN, and the mother of all those kids, but he impressed me far more. He did a huge amount of continuing medical education and always knew the latest discoveries and research in internal medicine, immunology, endocrinology, and cardiology. This was very impressive indeed because I do a great deal of continuing medical education myself and he always could quote the studies I might have asked him about, even when the specialists who saw my kids couldn't.
Eventually, we bought the parcel adjacent to my original, and sold our home here. He told me of the history of the parcel, of the people who'd lived there, of the European hornets who had occupied the parcel for more than eighty years he'd known of himself.
As my children grew and I spoke with more people in the county, I learned that our dear friend had accepted chickens as payment for medical services in the past. I learned from another friend that our favorite country doctor sat with him in the driveway when he was a child, after his father had died suddenly in the yard of a heart attack. Everyone in the large rural county had a story to tell of how this man, and his family had helped them or shown them special kindness, often in the darkest of times.
We spoke on the phone now and again, about new treatments for Crohn's Disease, or collapsed mines on local properties from the 1930s. He told me how things were on the new land where we'd built our newest home, during the Depression.
Ten years ago, when Daniel died suddenly from a presumed sudden heart rhythm disturbance at only age 12, Dr. Bowles was one of the first people at the funeral. He knew also that my own father had died just thirty days before Daniel. It was as if God had sent a spiritual father to me on that terribly dark day. I am grateful for all of the people who spent time with our family that day. Lots of people report to church or give money to it, but few apply Christianity as consistently and as well in everyday life as Dr. Bowles so clearly did. Like me, Dr. Bowles was also color blind. No matter what the color of our eyes or our skin, we are each brothers and sisters and children of God. He knew it. He walked it, every moment of every day.
I remember when he walked with us to show us where an old well had been that he walked the property faster than I. I had to have been in my early forties and he had to have been in his eighties. I was impressed when I heard about the fruits and vegetables in his diet, and I decided to implement some of his strategies in my own, although it took me years to do it.
We hadn't spoken in a while. I had been taking care of my grandson while his mother worked, and the horses took time, and Dr. Bowles wasn't as active in the county as he had been. This week, when I heard that he had passed, I could almost not believe that he was 97.
Dr. Bowles was not simply an acquaintance or friend, but a mentor. He was a person who, without preaching, validated our kindest impulses to be generous with our time, and with our training with others. The world was a good deal brighter here due to the efforts of this dear man. Our county, many families, and many people are far better off as a result of all of our interactions with him.
I have no doubt that when Dr. Bowles has finished being greeted for a life well lived by Jesus, and by countless relatives, friends, and patients, that Daniel and my Dad will have moments in the light with him to tell him how important he was to our family, and to me. Perhaps he already knows.
Please make sure that the people who are professional and spiritual mentors to you in this life know it, and know what they have meant to you. May God bless you all, just as Dr. Bowles would have.
This posting, with some changes, appeared originally on my Linkedin page.