Cover photo for Larry Bowers's Obituary
Larry Bowers Profile Photo

Larry Bowers

June 3, 1939 — May 26, 2024

Larry Bowers

Larry Eugene Bowers, longtime Riley County resident, passed away on May 26, 2024, in his hometown of Manhattan, Kansas after a long hard-fought battle with Parkinson’s.

He was born on June 3, 1939, on a farm East of Munden, Kansas, the second child of Joye William Bowers and Lucille Sunshine (Verley) Bowers. He attended elementary school in rural Gleason, followed by a secondary education in Munden, Kansas where he excelled in basketball and academics. Larry received his B.S. and M.S. degrees, followed by a Doctorate (Ed.D.) from Northern Illinois University in 1966. He took flying lessons while attending graduate school in order to be able to fly from his hometown of Downers Grove, Illinois to N.I.U. in DeKalb, Illinois.

Dr. Bowers worked his way up from student teaching to the position of Principal of a larger suburban High School, west of Chicago, named Downers Grove North High. Later he worked in District Office 99 as Assistant Superintendent for Personnel. In 1973, he moved his young family to Lynchburg, Virginia where he was commissioned to start a K-12 Christian School. During the time the family lived there, they witnessed much controversy over Anita Bryant’s (Miss America) political and religious beliefs.

Larry was later employed by the NASSP (National Association of Secondary School Principals), to give seminars to educators on the use of computers and traveled the U.S. speaking on this “new” technology. Later he returned to his educational pursuits as Superintendent of Schools in his home state of Kansas. First in southwest Kansas and later in 1999-2005 as Superintendent of the U.S.D. 378 Riley County School District. He and his late wife “Nubby” built a beautiful home on West Highway 24, half-way between Manhattan and Riley, Kansas. They enjoyed this “country” home on 25 acres, as well as their nearby Sedalia Church and Congregation. Sadly, Larry’s wife of 39 years, Ruth (Nubby) passed away after a long-extended illness. 

Dr. Bowers was an active member of the Downers Grove Kiwanis Club, Phi Kappa Phi, Tau Kappa Epsilon, as well as a D.G. First Baptist Church Deacon who spearheaded the coordination of their K-12 Christian School. Later, as a resident of Manhattan, he was a member of Manhattan’s Rotary Club, Barbershop Chorus, delivered Meals on Wheels, and served as a Deacon at the First Presbyterian Church of Manhattan.

Outside of his profession, he enjoyed waterskiing on Lake Geneva, in Delavan, Wisconsin with his son and daughter. He also traveled with his wife to Europe and spent time in D.G. with his brother, Phil and Aleda Bowers with their three children. Larry also cheered his high school’s athletic events and proms, as well as spending time with close D.G. friends. He will be remembered as a loving husband to his wife Ruth Freda (Seeley) Bowers also known as (“Nubby”) and the father to son, Daniel Garrett Bowers and daughter, Mary Amanda Bowers.

While attending longtime friends, Ron and Jan Janasek’s son, Mitchell’s wedding in Ft. Collins, Colorado, Larry met widow Carolyn James Knostman at the reception. Months later they reconnected back in their mutual city of Manhattan, Kansas. They dated for 1 ½ years, and in October of 2004 they were married in the beautiful back yard of Ann McDonald’s Leavenworth Street home. Always up for an adventure, the newlywed couple’s priority was to travel in Europe after years of care-giving their former spouses. This would include: the Albuquerque Balloon Festival, a Western Caribbean Cruise, and cities of New York, Chicago, Denver, San Diego, and Tampa, FL. They travelled with fellow KSU Alums to Greece, Italy, Germany, France, England, Ireland, Switzerland, and Belgium. During their (almost twenty year) marriage, Larry became a long-distance bicyclist and an enthusiastic Kansas State Sports Fan, attending several Bowl Games as well as visiting families in Colorado, Illinois, Georgia, and Florida.

Dr. Bowers was preceded in death by his parents, his late wife, “Nubby” and his daughter, Amanda Bowers, and niece, Tiffanie Bowers Holm. Larry is survived by his wife Carolyn Bowers of the home, his son Daniel Bowers of Georgia/Tennessee, a daughter-in-law Chris Gardener, and his brother, Phillip Bowers (Aleda) and their twin sons, Todd and Lane Bowers and families of Downers Grove and Winter Haven, FL. In addition, he is survived by granddaughter, Kayla Bowers Hay (Justin) and great grandson Logan Hay, as well as sister-in-law, Mary Seely Easton.

Additionally, Larry is survived by his step-children, James Thomas Knostman (Jennifer), Daniel Peck Knostman (Catherine), and Nancy Knostman Supernor (Jamie). As well as six step-grandchildren: Noah, Noel, and Harrison Knostman of New York and Pittsburg, PA, Savannah, Sophie, and Emersyn Supernor of Johnstown, Colorado. Larry was not only a leader in his field and to his families, but his positive, uplifting personality and ever-ready smile will be sorely missed!

Memorial Services will be June 15, 2024, at 10:30 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Manhattan on 8th and Leavenworth with Pastor Kelly Pittman officiating. The family will receive friends from 9:30 a.m. until service time.  Following the service, there will be a reception in Fisher Hall, which is on the lower level of the church. Inurnment will take place at a later date in both Munden and Wamego, Kansas. 

Memorials may be made to Meadowlark Parkinson’s Support Group, and/or the First Presbyterian Church of Manhattan. Memorials may be left in care of the Anderes-Pfeifley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 176, Riley, Kansas 66531. 

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