Rev. John Milton BOWMAN

Born: 27 Jun 1898 at Philadelphia, PA
Died: 01 Mar 1989 at Lansing, MI

Father: Isaac Daniel BOWMAN (1862-1953)
Mother: Addie Bell SHOWALTER (1863-1952)

Spouse: Marguerite Thelma BROKAW


  • living

    At right, Milton and Marguerite in 1957 at Falls City, NE (Morsman Studios) ===>>

  • He went by Rev. J. Milton BOWMAN or just Milton to family and friends. Milton and Marguerite were m. 28 May 1938, after she'd lost her first husband Eldon GEARHART in a plane crash. Interestingly, Milton and "Margie" had dated much earlier (before her marriage to Eldon), but she'd broken it off when Eldon had come home from the military and "swept her off her feet." Milton forgave all and happily added her and her 3 little girls (aged 7, 5 and 3?) to his life. They had another girl together. The 3 older girls remember what a great, loving stepfather he was to them and are very grateful. All 4 girls called him "Daddy" for the rest of his life.

    Shortly after their marriage, Milton accepted a pastorate in Nappanee, IN (where the oldest daughter graduated HS). The fourth daughter was born the next year. They moved around quite a bit (Peru, IN; Elkhart, IN...).

    In December 1970, Marguerite and Milton retired and came back to Lansing to be near her family. In 1988 their four daughters hosted a 50th wedding anniversary celebration for them.

    Theologically, Milton was Arminian (vs. Calvinist), meaning he placed great weight and meaning in each individual's decision whether or not to accept Christ as their personal savior. He believed that Christians could lose their salvation if they changed their minds on that decision. During the fundamentalist controversy, he jokingly referred to them as "funny mentalists." :-) He was very interested in books and studies (a brother of mine still has his huge, oak rolltop desk, and I have his 20-volume set of the World's Greatest Literature...he had many other books as well) but also had a heart for pastoral ministry to people (making him ideally suited for the ministry). He was always mild-mannered, kind and interested in people. In his youth, he had participated in a jazz band, playing saxophone, and had also for a time resisted going into the ministry (displeasing his father on both counts).

    From the text of Milton's obituary, from the 3 Mar 1989 issue of the The Lansing State Journal: Rev. BOWMAN was a veteran of the U.S. Army, a graduate of Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL and also of Eastern Baptist Seminary, Philadelphia, PA. He served as a Pastor of First Brethren Churches in Sergeantsville, NJ, Nappanee, IN, Peru, IN, Elkhart, IN, Stockton, CA and Newark, OH, retiring in 1970 after 40 years in the ministry. He was survived by his wife of 50 years, 4 daughters, 13 grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. Funeral services were held the following Saturday at Gorsline-Runciman Lansing Chapel, with the Rev. Carlton Younge, Pastor of the First Baptist Church and the Rev. James Bowden, Pastor of Valley Farms Baptist Church and nephew officiating. Interment was at Deepdale Memorial Park Mausoleum in Lansing. Suggested recipient of contributions was Child Evangelism Fellowship of Lansing.

    Source: Family papers and stories.