James Harold Bowen, 88, died peacefully Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, at Carolina Meadows retirement community in Chapel Hill, NC where he and his wife, Judi, had lived for seven years. Jim was a successful engineer and designer for over four decades and loved to create and build new things. He was a lifelong teacher at heart and loved to share his talents.
Jim was born in the Bronx, New York City, on Dec. 2, 1934. He graduated from the Newark (New Jersey) College of Engineering in 1957 and received a degree in electrical engineering. Jim built his professional career in north-central NJ. He was a project scientist at Union Carbide for 14 years, where he specialized in laboratory instrumentation and machine and process-control system design. For three years he worked as chief electrical engineer at Egan Machinery. With two partners in 1972, he started Polycel Corp, a structural-foam plastics manufacturing company. Jim designed the control system for structural-foam machines and was vice president of sales until 1997. He excelled at drawing and was a lifelong baseball fan. When he was young, Jim followed the Giants, but he grew into a loyal Yankees fan. He even spent a week at Yankees Fantasy Camp in Tampa, FL, working out with retired Yankees players. He coached little league baseball, played the organ, learned the trumpet, was a sculptor and wrote a book, “Seeing and Drawing in Perspective.” He also wrote his family ancestry in a book: “The Life and Times of William James Bowen.” He was an avid reader and enjoyed teaching. He taught “Principles of Perspective Drawing” to middle school students in Durham, NC. He was a member of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in Chapel Hill, NC and worked on numerous church projects. Jim was preceded in death by Frances Bowen, his first wife and the mother of his children, and his daughter, Leanne Bowen. He is survived by his wife Judi and his three sons: Steven (Sheila Linz) of NJ, Kenneth (Marcia Sorensen) of MI and David (Nancy Steinberg) of PA. And by his sisters, Elaine Bowen Charpia (Ron Charpia) and Nadara Bowen Willis (Ivy Willis), and his cousin, John Bowen. And by his sister-in-law, Joy Wood (Tom Fewel), brother-in-law, Art Wood (Renate Wood), and his eight
grandchildren: Lisa, Jessalynn, Bryan, Matthew, Kacee, Lauren, Gabriel and Rachel.
A memorial service will be announced later.
Donaldson Funeral Home and Crematory is honored to serve the Bowen family and arrangements and condolences can be made at www.donaldsonfunerals.com.
Memorials may be sent to Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, 2016 Mt Carmel Church Rd, Chapel Hill, NC