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Ralph R. Bowen

December 13, 1919 January 15, 2011
Ralph R. Bowen
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Obituary for Ralph R. Bowen

Ralph R. Bowen died January 15, 2011. He was 91 years old. Mr. Bowen was born December 13, 1919, to Irene (nee Risdon) and Thomas Bowen.

As a student at U of D High School in the 1930s, Mr. Bowen formed the Ralph Bowen Orchestra, which is still going strong today. He played the saxophone and also did vocals. After high school the band began playing fraternity parties at colleges in Southeast Michigan.

During WWII, Mr. Bowen served in the United States Air Force as a lieutenant, and navigator. During this time, he also did a stint as a disk jockey on several of the bases where he was stationed. After his service discharge, Mr. Bowen returned to making music and eventually played all the major Detroit ballrooms (including the Graystone and The Grande), amusement park venues, several of the Michigan Governor�s Inaugural dances/balls, and even made an appearance on Paul Whiteman�s TV show. He began touring to venues well outside of the Southeast Michigan area. However, he abruptly quit that course when upon returning home after a road trip, he found that his then two year old daughter didn�t recognize him.

Mr. Bowen did make some studio recordings including one of his own songs �Little Mischief�, and three others. All were released in the Detroit area as 45 RPM disks. In the late 1950�s and early 1960�s, his band suffered with the decline of the ballrooms and the coming of rock and roll, causing Mr. Bowen to disband his orchestra. He did, however continue to play a small number of weddings and other assorted venues occasionally.

Professionally, Mr. Bowen had a successful career as a stock broker. A devoted husband, father, grandfather, and friend, he was greatly loved and will be deeply missed.

Mr. Bowen is survived by his children, Marilynn (Bruce) Lessley, Michael (Cynthia) Bowen, and Thomas (Kathleen) Bowen, his 7 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren, and his brother, Richard (Sandy) Bowen. He is preceded in death by his wife, Joanne.

Visitation at Lynch & Sons Funeral Home, 1368 N. Crooks Road (between 14-15 Mile Rds.), Monday 2-8pm. Funeral at St. Hugo of the Hills Stone Chapel, 2215 Opdyke, Bloomfield Hills, Tuesday 12 Noon. Friends may visit beginning at 11:30am.

Interment in Acacia Park Cemetery, Beverly Hills.


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