Joseph M. "Joe" Bowerman

  • Born: October 22, 1954
  • Died: May 6, 2018
  • Location: Dubuque, Iowa

Behr's Funeral Home

1491 Main Street
(563) 582-3297
Dubuque, IA 52001
Tel. (563) 582-3297

Tribute & Message From The Family

Joseph M. "Joe" Bowerman, age 63, of Dubuque, was called home peacefully at 8:00 p.m., on Sunday, May 6, 2018, at home, surrounded by his loving family. To honor Joe's life, funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m., on Friday, May 11, 2018, at St. Raphael's Cathedral, 231 Bluff Street, with Msgr. Thomas E. Toale officiating. To celebrate Joe's life, family and friends may visit from 3:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., on Thursday, May 10, 2018, at Behr Funeral Home, 1491 Main Street, where there will be a parish scripture service held at 3:00 p.m. Entombment will be in the Mt. Calvary Cemetery Mausoleum. Full military honors will be accorded by the Dubuque Marine Corps League.

Joe was born on October 22, 1954, in Baltimore, MD, son of Biays and Lois (Powers) Bowerman.

Joe was a proud graduate of Wahlert High School, Class of 1972, and in true patriotic fashion would immediately join the Marine Corps after graduation. Joe would go on to honorably serve his country with the U.S. Marines Corps for 6 years, and then joined the U.S. Navy Reserves, where he spent another 20 years until his eventual retirement from the military in 2001 as a Senior Chief Construction Mechanic, CMCS. During his service, Joe was able to not only visit many of the bases stateside, but he also had the opportunity to make it to Japan and Puerto Rico. He continued to enjoy getting together monthly, with his fellow comrades from the Seabees, to swap stories and solve the world's problems without any interference from outside forces. Joe was united in marriage to the love of his life, Jane Hartmann, on October 2, 1976, at the Church of the Resurrection in Dubuque. They were truly blessed with 41 wonderful years together, and 4 adored children. Joe was undeniably raised with a strong work ethic and after serving active duty with the U.S. Marine Corps, he continued to put his talents to great use in the maintenance departments at Sears Auto Center, and Loras College, until his final retirement from the working world in 2008. Joe also used his considerable skills to work on his beloved 1968 Dodge Dart, always keeping it in tip-top shape and spending "countless hours" working on his full-body restoration. His spiritual faith was of the utmost importance to Joe also as he was a long-time member of St. Raphael's Cathedral, and continually strived to be the best man he could be while trapped in his earthly temple. Joe and Jane also enjoyed traveling extensively and loved to share the photos, souvenirs and stories they collected along the way with family, friends and anyone with an open ear. Without a doubt though, spending time with his family was the one thing which brought Joe the greatest joy throughout his life; and when the grandkids, and great-grandkids starting coming along, his joy was abundantly doubled. We are deeply saddened with the loss of our beloved husband, dad, grandpa, brother, uncle and friend, but take comfort in knowing that Joe is finally free of the health challenges he has faced so gracefully the last 2 years. Joe, you were an excellent example of what it means to be a true leader and patriarch of such a loving and extensive family, and we will diligently carry those lessons forward with us until we see you again!

Those left to cherish Joe's memory include

his loving wife,
Jane Bowerman, Dubuque, IA;

his children,
Donald "Don" (Tracy) Bowerman, Fort Worth, TX,
Jennifer Reif, Dubuque, IA,
Nick (Mady) Bowerman, Dubuque, IA
and Katie Jo (Tom) Besler, Dubuque, IA;

7 grandchildren,
Debbie (Mark) Allen, Collin Bowerman, Sam Bowerman, Christian Reif, Ethan Reif, Brock Reif and Morgan Quick;

a great-granddaughter,
Ashley Allen;

his siblings,
Stephen (Janet) Bowerman, Colorado Springs, CO,
Mary Bowerman, Tacoma, WA,
Paul (Stacie) Bowerman, Wilmington, NC,
Beth (Ken) Jaeger, Dubuque, IA,
Rich (Jennifer) Bowerman, Hendersonville, NC
and Pete (Sue) Bowerman, Makanda, IL;

his several nieces and nephews;

and his dear and special friends,
Vince Conner, Doris Hannan, Lisa Williams, Janet Quick and Maurna Stover.

Joe was preceded in death by his parents; and his in-laws, Don and Mabel Hartmann.

Joe's family would like to thank the nurses and staff of Hospice of Dubuque for all of their kind, compassionate and professional care of Joe, and his entire family.


Condolence & Memory Journal

I grew up with him on west 11st. I also had the honor to work with him at Sears automotive. He was a great coworker and got along with everybody.
Joe I wish we could have visited again long before 4 decades had passed.

Tom O'Neill

Posted by Tom ONeill - Clarksville, TN - Neighbor   October 05, 2019

Jane and Family, My sincere condolences on Joe's passing. I had the honor to serve with him during our affiliation with NMCB-25. FairVKU winds and following sea's shipmate.

CWO3 Richard E Rozman, Retired.

Posted by Richard Rozman    May 14, 2018

I met Joe when we were both members of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 25. We shared a few laughs and good times. He was way too young to pass away, but then we don't have the option of deciding, God does.
My condolences to all of his family, he was a good man.

Posted by Tom Flood - Waupaca, WI - Served in the Military together   May 11, 2018

I was blessed with knowing Mr Bowerman and words can not express how saddened I am by his passing may god keep you all in his hands at this time you need him most

Posted by Miona Madden - Des Moines, IA   May 11, 2018

You could always rely on Joe to get it done. He was a great Seabee and friend,he also knew which button to push to get you going but always made it happen. My sympathy to his family
Master Chief Ozzie Klein
former CMC 25 th Battalion

Posted by ozzie klein - lake kinden, MI - Served in the Military together   May 10, 2018


I am so sorry to hear of Joe's passing. I didn't know him personally, but heard many fond stories of him, as I was a friend of his parents. The world has truly lost a great man. I knew his other siblings; all are in my thoughts and prayers.

Posted by Cindy Nielsen - Dubuque, IA - Acquaintance   May 10, 2018

Many of us have had the privilege of serving with this great Seabee. He was someone whom I would have wanted on my team if I had to go to war. He was plain speaking and often told you what you might not want to hear but you knew he could be relied upon because he had "your back." I served in the battalion with CMC Bowerman and had the pleasure of getting to know this great patriot. May his family find comfort in the Lord and each other. May Joe rest in eternal peace.

Posted by Alan Arendt - NAS Glenview NMCB Two Five, IL - Served in the Military together   May 10, 2018

When I met Joe I was third class and he was second class at Glen View Ill. . We learned to work together as we progressed through the ranks. We excelled in pranks especially to Officers. Good By shipmate and friend may fair winds and following seas be with you I now have the watch.

Posted by Dale Christianson - Henderson, NV - Served in the Military together   May 10, 2018

A great guy and a hard working man, I specialy enjoyed his great sense of humor. Condolences to Jane and family, R.I.P. Joe.

Posted by Richard Zahina - dubuque, IA - Coworker   May 10, 2018


Posted by Andrew - MD - Acquaintance   May 10, 2018

I have had the Honor and Privilege of serving with Joe for many years. He has always seem to make the difficult tasks we were assigned easy and fun to do. With his Can Do attitude we always had a mission accomplished. I Pray to the Lord that He gives his family the strength to deal with their loss. May God Bless Joe.

Posted by Wally Ergish - Norridge, IL - Served in the Military together   May 09, 2018

Jane & FamilyJoe went from entertaining me as classmates at Nativity School up until he retired from Loras. When he had work in Hoffman Hall, he would poke his head into my office to share a quick story or joke. In warm weather, as I walked from teaching on upper campus back to Hoffmann during the noon hour, he would always invite me into his officethe picnic table under the tree outside of the Maintenance Building to catch up with stories of the kids. Just as he made me smile, he made all of us smile. Joe was a character! All of us are better for having him as a part of our lives, no matter how long or how fleeting. May Joe's memory always bring you joy.

Posted by MaryLynn Neuhaus - Dubuque, IA - Coworker   May 09, 2018

He was a great human being. He was a person who any military would want to serve with. Deepest sympathy to his family.
Master Chief Marzen

Posted by Dennis Marzen - Dougherty, IA - Friend   May 09, 2018

My deepest sympathies to all the family.
Joe you took me under your wing when I first came into the unit and we became friends. You taught me many things about the military and I did everything I could over the years of my career to pass your teachings onto others. I am saddened by your leaving but I know that you left only because God gave you a promotion. We will see each other again one day my Seabee brother.

Posted by BU1 Steve Bailey (Ret.) - Fulton, IL - Friend   May 08, 2018

Sending my heartfelt sympathy for your family.

Posted by Tracey Smith - Elkport, IA - Friend   May 08, 2018

Jane and family I truly am sorry for your loss. Joe will be remembered my me for his quick wit and dry sense of humor! But, has joined a great bunch of people who will welcome him with open arms and show him the way!

Posted by Judy Herrig - Tulsa, OK - Family   May 08, 2018

Best in the field SeaBee Chief ever. I'll miss Bowerman

Posted by Stephen Knapowski Capt, CEC, USNR (ret) - Portland, OR - Served in the Military together   May 08, 2018

Fair Winds and Following Seas, Shipmate.

Posted by SKC (Ret) John Freiburger - Dubuque, IA - Served in the Military together   May 08, 2018


Jane, Jen & family,

I am so sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you, it is hard to loose a loved one but one at least he is no longer in pain. I will keep you in my thoughts & prayers through this journey.

Chris Rogers

Posted by Chris Rogers - IA - Coworker   May 08, 2018