John Walter Bower

John Walter Bower

April 28, 1924 – April 21, 2024

John died peacefully in his sleep, just one week shy of his 100th birthday. Daughters, Susan and Debbie were at his side in his home at Lakeside Independent Community.

John’s life was about service, whether to country, church, community or family. In WWII, he was as radar operator with the 127th Anti-Aircraft Gun Battalion. From its position on the cliffs of Dover in England, John’s battery shot down 163 V-1 Flying Bombs, each one carrying one ton of TNT, thereby saving countless lives by preventing the bombs from reaching their target in London.  He went on to provide air cover for troops fighting in France, Belgium, Central Europe, and the Rhineland.  He stayed warm during the Battle of the Bulge by trading cigarettes and soap for the skills of a tailor who lined his field jacket with an army blanket. Later, he diffused land mines, liberated a slave labor camp, and guarded SS troops awaiting trial in Nuremburg.

John was an active volunteer and leader in several fraternal organizations, including the Masons, Shrine, Eastern Star, and Boy Scouts. He was an elections commissioner, and often shared home-cooked meals and cheerful conversation with residents of the St. Vincent de Paul Family Shelter. He loved singing in the All Saints Episcopal Church choir, and giving communion as a eucharistic minister.

John could fix almost anything, from a screen to a washer or dryer, always with a few parts left over. He learned these practical skills while spending summers with his sister Jo at the family farm in Kinsley, Kansas. There, at age 12, he learned to drive a pickup, and to “wire hot,” even at 220 volts. If someone had a project, John was there with paintbrush, screwdriver, power tool or shovel. Once, he welded Dorothy’s best cookie sheet over a hole in the floor of a VW Bug, thereby keeping the pavement from distracting the driver. He was also an avid gardener, tending family peonies he shared by the bouquet and bucket. He loved to hunt pheasant, traveling with friends to Western Nebraska in the “Buford,” a Buick school bus with a Ford engine that had been made into a camper. As a lifelong Nebraskan, his car horn played the Nebraska fight song.

Most of all, John loved his family, starting with Dorothy May. They eloped just before he left for WWII, keeping their marriage secret for two years because student nurses were not allowed to marry. It was a joy to watch them dance, often to their song, “I’ll Be Loving You Always.” They loved their children, grandchildren, and every niece and nephew, and relished including friends in family gatherings. There was always room at the table, and an extra bed for anyone needing a place to stay.

John was preceded in death by his wife, Dorothy, and his son, Robert.

He is survived by daughters, Susan (Scott) Tetrick and Debra Bower; sister, Josephine Mierendorf; 6 grandchildren; 7 great grandchildren; and a large extended family.

VISITATION: Friday, April 26th, 6:30 to 8:00 p.m., at West Center Chapel, 7805 W. Center Rd.

FUNERAL SERVICE: Saturday, April 27th, 11 a.m., at All Saints Episcopal Church, 9302 Blondo St.

INTERMENT: Forest Lawn Cemetery, 7909 Mormon Bridge Rd.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Shriners Hospitals for Children or a V.F.W.


  • Sydney Green Posted April 24, 2024 2:01 pm

    I love you Uncle John. I will always cherish my memories with you.

  • Laura Grovum Posted April 24, 2024 3:49 pm

    I’m so very sorry for your family’s loss. He seemed like a great man. I wish I could have met him and listened to his stories about WWII and his life, I bet they were amazing. Sending my deepest condolences, love, and prayers to you all during this difficult time.

  • George Gillespie Posted April 24, 2024 5:25 pm

    Among the last of the truly Greatest Generation that we will never see the likes of again. My condolences and a true hero!

  • Cindy Tetrick-Gibbs Posted April 25, 2024 2:35 pm

    Susan, Scott, and the whole family, My deepest sympathy on the loss of your dad, John. Whenever I saw him, he was always so kind and I loved the few conversations we had. May he rest in peace and you find comfort with your memories of him.

  • Schae Lewis Posted April 25, 2024 8:46 pm

    John was a true gentleman. The Lewis Family was honored to ba a part of his extended family. They shared celebrations, meals and laughs with both John and his beloved Dorothy. John, you will be missed dearly!

    Lovingly, Chariss, Mitchell and Schae Lewis

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