Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Norman R. Bowen

Norman R. Bowen (May 30, 1920 - August 26, 1992) was an American journalist, educator, and nationally published author. He was the city editor for the Salt Lake City Deseret News from 1957-67, and a correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, Newsfront Magazine, and the Columbia Journalism review.

Early life
Bowen was born in 1920, in the small farming community of Farmington, Utah, which at the time had a population of 1200 people. His parents, Cacey Potter Bowen, Jr. and Mary Ellen Boylin Gardiner Bowen, had both been married and widowed previously. Because of this, he had six half-brothers and four half-sisters, on his father’s side, and one half-brother on his mother’s side. As a boy in Farmington, he worked as a paperboy, delivering the Deseret News to the rural community. He also did chores for local farmers, doing backbreaking work such as harvesting onions for five cents a row. He attended Davis High School, in Kaysville, Utah, which was then the only high school in the county. While attending high school, he worked summers at the amusement park Lagoon, one of the largest amusement parks in the West.

Education and military service
From 1938-1940, Bowen attended Weber Junior College (now Weber State University) in Ogden, Utah. During this time, he met his future wife, Donna Jenkins, and was the editor of the school newspaper, The Signpost. After graduating from Weber, he enrolled at Brigham Young University, in Provo, Utah, and pursued a degree in History with a minor in Journalism. During this time he edited The Wye, a student literary magazine. In 1942, he enlisted in the Navy and received officer training through the Navy V-7 Reserve Midshipmen’s School. In 1943, he was ordered to report to the USS ALBEMARLE, a seaplane tender assigned to the Atlantic Fleet air arm. However, he was first given ten days leave, during which time he and Donna Jenkins were married at the Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, on August 24th, 1943. The ALBEMARLE serviced patrolling seaplanes when needed, and transported supplies and personnel, often dangerously carrying more gasoline, torpedoes and munitions than an aircraft carrier. He soon became a Lieutenant and Ship’s Secretary, and was “demobilized” after the war ended, in December 1945.

He then worked for a short time in the Navy Department, editing Navy publications, until he was accepted to the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University, the prestigious program founded by Joseph Pulitzer. He graduated with a Master’s degree in Journalism from Columbia in 1947.

Career and family

Bowen received several job offers immediately after he finished his degree at Columbia, and he accepted a job offer at the Spokane Spokesman-Review. He worked for the newspaper from 1947-1949. Their first daughter, Donna Lee, was born in September of 1947. In October 1949, Bowen and his family moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, and he began work at the Deseret News. By 1957, he was the city editor of the newspaper, and was the father of two more children: Mary Karen and Norman Cacey. By 1962 he had yet two more: John and Kristen. He held his editor position until 1967, when he was called to be a mission president for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Washington D.C. Upon returning from Washington D.C., he began working for the LDS Church Information program, where he worked until his retirement in 1985.

Educator and author
Bowen taught courses in journalism at both the University of Utah and Brigham Young University while working as city editor of the Deseret News. During this time, he also assisted his friend the well known radio and TV newsman, Lowell Thomas, in writing an autobiography: “Lowell Thomas, the Stranger Everyone Knows,” which was published by Doubleday. Bowen also edited a compilation of the writings of Elizabeth Kane, wife of Colonel Thomas Kane , who served in the Union Army during the Civil War and was considered "a friend of the Mormons."

Church service
Bowen was an enthusiastic and dedicated member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He was called to be the Bishop of his local congregation, and he later served in the church’s Adult Correlation Committee, which outlined the curriculum for the adult organizations of the church. In 1967 he was called by President Hugh B. Brown to be president of the Eastern Atlantic States Mission, where he served along with his wife Donna for three years. In 1987, he and Donna were once again called to serve a mission, in Honolulu, Hawaii, for 18 months.

Bowen died August 26th, 1992, while vacationing in Alaska with his wife Donna. He was 72 years old.