James A. Bowman
June 11, 1929 - January 8, 2020

Jim was a long time member of SPI having joined back in 1982. While he had many collecting interests, his first love was the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. Between 1990 and 1996, Jim entertained and instructed readers of the Journal of Sports Philately with his series of 30 columns "On Sports & Olympic Exhibiting." While the rules of exhibiting may have changed over the years, his pointers on how to collect, organize and display sport and Olympic postal material are no less relevant today. Jim served as a mentor to many of us as we began to develop our own exhibits.

Together with his wife Marian, also a philatelic exhibitor (of Martin Luthor), Jim could always be found at southern California stamp shows, particularly SESCAL (an annual APS World Series of Philately exhibition in Los Angeles). Both he and Marian served many years on the SESCAL organizing committee in one capacity or another. And capitalizing on his engineering background, if a philatelic frame had a stripped screw or a whacky leg, you could always count on Jim and his handy tool kit to come to the rescue!

He and Marian often attended our SPI conventions through the years; Jim even gave a talk on a couple of occasions. At the Olymphilex '96 international philatelic exhibit, held during the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia, Jim served as the U.S. Commissioner for the West Coast.

Jim's exhibit "1936 Olympische Spiele," which he began showing in the 1970s, slowly worked it's way up the ladder both here in the US and internationally. At the 2000 National Topical Stamp Show, the annual national level exhibition for thematic exhibits, his 1936 Olympic Games exhibit won a Gold medal and the Grand thereby placing it among the elite philatelic exhibits in the country. The exhibit landed in a top spot at the London 2000 decennial international with a Small Gold, followed by another Gold medal at the Olymphilex 2004 exhibition held in Athens, Greece during the Olympic Games.

Not long after our 2011 SPI Convention at Westpex in San Francisco, both Jim and Marian retired from active exhibiting, settling into a more quiet life in the Phoenix area near their children and grandchildren. Both Jim and Marian (who passed away in 2018) will be very much missed by all of us in the collecting community.


[The following obituary is from the Ventura County Star]

James Alford Bowman, died peacefully on January 8, 2020 at the age of 90. "Jim" was born in Glendale, California on June 11, 1929 to Alford and Rose (Nelson) Bowman. After graduating from Hoover High School in Glendale, CA, he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from Midland College in Fremont, Nebraska and a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from Iowa State University. It was at Midland College that he met the outgoing Marian Payzant from Nebraska. They married in 1951 and moved out to California where Jim had a long career as an aerospace engineer for Rocketdyne. He and Marian lived in the same house in Simi Valley for 47 years before moving to a retirement community in Phoenix, Arizona in 2012. Jim and Marian were married for 67 years until Marian's death in 2018.

As a young boy, Jim and his family moved to Honolulu, Hawaii two weeks before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. At 12 years old, he was one of the youngest civilian employees, delivering messages for the military. Jim was a lifelong stamp collector and won many awards for his stamp exhibits. He and Marian enjoyed their travels to stamp exhibitions around the world. They made many friends in their philatelic endeavors and this hobby kept them both busy well into retirement. Besides stamp collecting, Jim was an avid music lover. He had a beautiful tenor voice and would often be asked to sing solos. He and Marian sang in church choirs, another place where they made many friends.

Jim will be remembered for being a wonderful caring husband, father, and grandfather. We will miss his gentle spirit and his funny laugh. He is survived by his daughters Nancy Dimson (Phil) and Karen LaLone (Mark), and granddaughters Macy, Mia, Heather, and Skyler. There will be a private burial at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, CA. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Alzheimer's Association.