FRANCIS 'WAYNE' BOWDEN
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Wayne cranked up the Harley one last time and rode off Wednesday 3/11/2020 at the age of 66. Interestingly that was also his late dad's birthday so we can only imagine the reception he received at those Heavenly Gates. He was born on September 5, 1953 to Roscoe and Vivian Bowden at St. Anthony's Hospital (now Christopher House) in Wenatchee.
His first 11 years of childhood were spent on Terminal Ave. in South Wenatchee. The neighborhood was a playground that expanded to each other's yards. Favorite memories of his sister and brother included sliding off their storage shed roof into piles of leaves and ruining their new jeans, riding bikes around the neighborhood, often until darkness. They invented primitive paintball, created when the concord grapes were fully ripened and someone would start the battle, landing a permanent 'hit' on their shirts, jeans, faces, arms and everything else that got in the line of fire.
A bonus was that his Grandma Roseen lived right next door. Wayne, his brother Owen and sister Joyce would often show up at her house with dinner plates in hand if her meal looked more appealing than what was offered at home. Who wouldn't have wanted to live next door to their grandma growing up?
In the summer of 1964 the family moved to East Wenatchee (with Grandma in tow) and settled into their new home on Iowa St, where he lived until graduating from Eastmont High School in 1971. From the age of 12 Wayne began his apprenticeship working at the family business, Bowden's Automotive, and later pumping gas on weekends at the gas station located next door. In 1968 he met his best friend Donele while attending a DeMolay/Job's Daughters dance at the Masonic Temple in Wenatchee. Wayne wasn't fond of dancing but was pursuaded by the math 3 to 1 ratio of girls to boys. He proposed to Donele in their senior year, she being a Wenatchee Panther, he an Eastmont Wildcat, a fun rivalry that would continue between them over the next 52 years.
A year after graduation they were married in May and three days later he left for boot camp in Texas, serving in the U.S. Air Force. In November 1972 he graduated at the top of his tech school class, specializing in power production and aircraft arresting systems and was assigned his first duty station at Randolph AFB in San Antonio, TX. January 1974 he was assigned to a remote radar site in King Salmon Alaska where he would spend the next 13 months. Unable to have Donele go with him on this tour he spent all his spare time at the Air Force radio and TV studios and found his passion for broadcasting. He hosted his own three hour radio program and was one of the weathermen on TV. February 1975 was his final duty station at North Bend AFB radar site near Coos Bay OR operating a standby power plant. This is where their only child, April, was born and is fondly referred to as his 'final G.I. Benefit'. He was honorably discharged in May 1976.
Wayne's constant interests were radio, electronics, mobile D.J., working on cars and everything mechanical, riding his Harley, camping (later Rving),generally 'fixing things' and he had a vast knowledge of aircraft, especially his favorite the SR-71.
Wayne and Donele had a passion for working with youth at their church and the Jobie girls in their daughter's Bethel. There were lots of memorable backpack trips and overnight camp trips which included Myrtle lake and Rainy Pass into Stehekin.
After the kids grew up and were gone they started to take cruises, Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean and a family Disney cruise for their 40th anniversary. So many excursions, but the most memorable were renting a Harley for a day and riding around the island of Aruba, touring and visiting
a school in the Dominican Republic and attending a classroom of first-graders, then taking a bumpy bus ride through the jungle to a family farm where they were hosted for an afternoon, showing their meager home and how they grew and harvested cocoa, which was how they made their living.
Many trips were enjoyed with the granddaughters, either in the RV or one special time at a treehouse resort in southern Oregon where they climbed rope bridges to get to their 4-story treehouse and played on the zip lines through a series of courses. Nerves were all settled as long as 'Papa' was there.
Wayne even played when he was working. His mobile DJ business was his 'weekend job'. He never advertised because there were so many referrals for him to be the DJ at wedding receptions, averaging 30 a year. He was the DJ that always brought the rubber chicken to be tossed in place of the bride's bouquet and hysterical laughter would follow. He also developed a 'toilet paper' gun which was a paint roller handle duct taped onto the end of a weed blower and a roll of toilet paper put onto the roller. When the blower was turned on streams of toilet paper would be launched into the dancing crowd. That eventually was 'nixed' by many of the venues because of clean-up. It thrilled him so much to run into couples years later that would remember him and say how much fun and memorable he made their special days.
Wayne had a passion for community and was involved with sound equipment and announcing at the Ridge to River Races, Apple Blossom pre-parades, Apple Blossom Music-In-the-Park, the local 24-hr Cancer Walks and ringing the Salvation Army kettle bell. He was involved with the Tri-Cities Hydroplane races for many years as they were broadcast live over the radio station in Pasco. He looked forward to taking the RV down there, camping in the park and often taking the granddaughters and Donele with him for the four-day event.
Wayne never met a stranger, had a heart as big as the universe and was always willing to help family, friends and community. He was a proud Veteran, riding his Harley Davidson in the Veterans Day Parades for several years. He will be missed so deeply by so many, there are no words.
Wayne is survived by his wife Donele of 47 years; daughter April (Lyle) Grove of Spokane; brother Owen (Stephanie) Bowden of Tucson AZ; sister Joyce (Mark) Ross of Ephrata; sister-in-law Rose Perkins of E. Wenatchee; brother-in-law Craig Griffin of Wenatchee; sister-in-law Loretta (Chuck) Holland of E. Wenatchee; granddaughters Julie and Hailey Grove of Spokane; and special love to all his nieces and nephews Megan Gillespie, Damon Ross, Sarah Martinez, Michelle Lynch, Jason Young, Rickie Perkins, Ben Griffin, Stephanie Holland, Jessica Holland and Eli Holland.
Wayne's family sends a very special 'Thank you' to all the medical staff at Central Washington Hospital ER and ICU that cared for him. Your care and compassion were evident during this extremely difficult time. You are all Angels on Earth and very much appreciated.
A celebration of life will be held at a later date and a notice sent. In lieu of flowers we ask that you donate to a meaningful charity of your choice. Let's look out and care for each other right now and continue Wayne's passion for helping out.
You are invited to view Wayne's online tribute at www.HeritageMemorialChapel.com to share a memory, upload a photo or leave a message for the family. Arrangements are by Heritage Memorial Chapel of East Wenatchee.