Longtime teacher, coach 'never really retired'

B.L. 'Bud' Bowman is remembered for decades of service in and outside the classroom.

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B.L. "Bud" Bowman, seen here teaching in the 1990s, died this week. The longtime educator continued to coach into this year.

WALLA WALLA -- B.L. "Bud" Bowman enjoyed working so much, he continued to work well after retirement. Even 10 years after his formal retirement from education, Bowman kept busy, finding work that tapped his many passions.

Bowman, a long-time Walla Walla resident, retired teacher, sportscaster, coach and reserve deputy sheriff, died Sunday morning after suffering a heart-attack at his home. He was 76.

Bowman leaves behind a legacy as a dedicated teacher and coach, serviceman and war veteran, who was eager to serve his community.

Bowman moved to Walla Walla in 1968 to instruct at Walla Walla High School, where he taught science and math for 30 years. After his retirement from Wa-Hi in 1998, Bowman continued to teach, at Jubilee Christian Academy and in the Prescott School District.

"He never really retired," said his daughter Angie Potts.

Even before retirement, Bowman kept busy through a mix of activities. At Wa-Hi, Bowman coached softball in the spring, and broadcast high school football games in the fall and basketball in the winter.

Walla Walla Fire District 4 Chief Rocky Eastman was one of Bowman's former students.

"He was a very knowledgeable teacher," Eastman said. "He did good a job of teaching, he took it seriously, and we had fun in his class."

Bowman continued to coach this year, starting a fast-pitch program in Prescott schools in recent years and launching a middle school softball program for the Waitsburg-Prescott schools last year.

Bowman was a star high school athlete; a track state champion in Texas, and a skilled baseball player who was drafted into the minor leagues, Potts said.

A sports career was not in his future, though, with Bowman instead dedicating himself to teaching after earning his degree.

Potts said her father joined the U.S. Air Force out of high school, and served in the Korean War.

Despite keeping a varied and busy schedule throughout his life, Bowman also dedicated many years to the Walla Walla County Sheriff's Office. On weekends in the warm months, Bowman was the agency's marine deputy, doing boat patrols in the county.

Walla Walla County Sheriff's Capt. Bill White worked with Bowman throughout those years and got to know him.

"He was very well liked by the boaters," White said. "They all knew him."

Bowman's knowledge of boats was something he shared on his patrols for unsafe conditions.

It had already been several years since Bowman left the sheriff's office, but White stayed in touch, seeing him in particular at their church.

"I really, really appreciated Bud, and all the things he did for us," White said. "The time that he gave, that was free time, that was his time. I think he definitely left an impression on our boating public through those years. He'll be really, really missed."

In the 1970s, Bowman was the pastor at the Walla Walla Southern Baptist Church.

During the summers in the late '70s and early '80s, Bowman worked pea harvest for D&K Frozen Foods.

"He loved to stay busy, loved working with kids, loved coaching," Potts said.

Potts is herself a coach, the head softball coach for Waitsburg-Prescott girls, and also coach of the Wa-Hi JV volleyball team in the fall -- no doubt latching onto her father's inspiration.

I've been coaching for almost 18 years now," Potts said. "So I would say absolutely. He was a huge influence."

Bowman is survived by his five children and his wife, Audrey Bowman.

Maria P. Gonzalez can be reached at mariagonzalez@wwub.com or 526-8317. Check out her blog at blogs.ublabs.org/schoolhousemissives.

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