Obituary of Roger Bernard Bowler
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Roger Bernard Bowler, born October 4, 1934, passed away peacefully in Baystate Wing Hospital in Palmer, MA on March 30, 2023 after a brief illness. In his final days and moments, he was comforted by his children, grandchildren, and cherished loved ones. Wing is the very same hospital by which he entered this world more than 88 years ago. He is survived by sons Kevin and Sean (Donna Jones); daughters Melissa, Diane and Dawn Bowler Allaire (Rich); and his grandchildren Mikaela, Timothy, Owen, Aidan, Casey, Kylie and Austin; and his brother-in-law Edward Topor. He was pre-deceased by his wife Theresa in 1981, his son Gregory in 2001, and his brother-in-law Peter Topor in 2000. Roger, the son and only child of J. Bernard Bowler and Bernadette Shea Bowler, was raised on a family dairy farm on South Liberty Street in Belchertown, MA. He attended Liberty School, a one-room schoolhouse just a few hundred yards from home, with his mother as his teacher from first through sixth grade. He worked as the reliable school janitor for $1 per week. As a youthful entrepreneur, Roger ran a bicycle repair shop out of the family barn, delivered firewood on a horse-drawn wagon to surrounding villages with his uncle George Shea, and bought and sold calves and cows with his pick-up truck. With the family purchase of a Farm-All tractor in 1949, he ventured out to cut hay and plow the gardens and fields of neighboring farms. Roger completed his secondary education at Belchertown High School in 1952 and served as class president for 18 fellow seniors, and graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA as a member of the much-heralded Class of 1956. He kept very close contact with many of the friends he made in high school and at the Cross. After 2 years of ROTC at Holy Cross, Roger served six years in the U.S. Army Reserve while living in New York City. After a summer-long exploration of Europe with friends, Roger moved to Brooklyn Heights and joined Chase Bank in the fall of 1956 and simultaneously pursued a master's degree in marketing at NYU. He was hired by the graphics division of Itek Corporation in 1960 (a maker of lenses and satellite spy cameras) as they were sparking the birth of the offset quick-print industry with their "daylight camera" print plate-making system. Roger remained based in NYC with Itek and would become the National Sales Manager of the printing tech division. Roger and Theresa Mae Topor grew up three miles from each other, but would not meet until the mid 1950s. Theresa (Terry) was raised in Three Rivers and would join Roger in Brooklyn after they were married on October 4, 1958. In 1960, they moved to Flushing Meadow (Queens), just before the birth of their first son, Gregory. In 1961, son Kevin would follow, and son Sean soon thereafter in Chicago in 1962, where Itek had sent them for a "brief stay" to open a Midwest sales office. After a short return to Flushing, they moved their family to Norwalk, CT in 1964, but when faced with another Itek transfer to the Midwest in 1968, Roger and Terry decided to open an offset printing business known as Space Age Copy Centers. That business, later known as Space Age Printing & Graphics, would be a fixture of the Norwalk community for over 30 years, eventually building to a twenty-five person enterprise. But Space Age was much more than that enterprise: it was a "family business" that drew many folks to work with them . . . who would, in turn, call in their siblings, spouses, relatives, and friends to do the same. In Norwalk, Roger and Terry's family grew with the addition of three daughters, Melissa in 1966, Diane in 1971, and Dawn in 1973. When their first Norwalk home filled to capacity, they would move to 75 Sylvan Road North where roots would take hold for another 40 years. Roger was a youth baseball and softball coach, a member of The Knights of Columbus, The Catholic Club (of Norwalk), and the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin. Through Space Age, he and Terry supported numerous civic organizations and efforts. For several years in the 80s and 90s, he was President of the National Art Museum of Sport (NAMOS) and he was an active alum of both his high school and Holy Cross. As a man of faith, he was a supportive member of St. Jerome Church, serving on the parish council and as a Eucharistic minister. And, of course, both he and Terry were present at every kid or grandkid sport event or performance that will-power and logistics would allow. Roger and Terry's home was "a door always open". The yard and the pool were forever busy, and stories of Camp Bowler parties still make people wonder who green-lighted all that in the first place. There would be twenty-five years of New York Islanders adventure after they took on season tickets along with Terry's brother Ed for the Isles' inaugural season in 1972. And as his parenting responsibilities waned, Roger would be off traveling both Europe and the States with family and friends, or "pulling out of the driveway and turning left" with no notice to anyone for a couple-month solo cross-country journey. Roger was a big 'ol fan of live music, and his concert ticket-stub collection includes Santana, McCartney, Prince, U2, Billy Joel, Hannah Montana & The Jonas Brothers, Pink Floyd, CSNY, Tedeschi-Trucks, Dead & Co., and Brandi Carlile, to name a few. His collection often made his kids jealous, and for most of those shows he was over the age of 65! Roger was an unwavering friend, confidant, and mentor to many, and quick to pick up the phone to make a call on someone's behalf. He lived the life of a man whose word was his bond. And after the tragic losses of Terry and Greg, he never faltered in his commitment to the family and business. In 2015, he returned to his roots land of Belchertown with his caregivers (daughter Melissa and son Kevin) to pass time along the banks of the Swift River, and to live out his final years in a place he considered the center of the universe. Roger's loved ones will receive friends and family on Monday, April 10, 2023, from 4-8 pm at Magner Funeral Home, 12 Mott Avenue, Norwalk, CT. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:30 am on Tuesday, April 11, 2023 at St. Jerome Church, 23 Half Mile Road, Norwalk, CT. The family will also receive friends and family at St. Jerome on April 11, beginning at 10:30 am, for one hour prior to the start of the Mass. Following the church service, an Interment Service will be held at Riverside Cemetery at 81 Riverside Ave, Norwalk, CT. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Roger's memory to: Open Doors (Shelter|Support|Success) • opendoorsct.org Donate online or send to: 4 Merritt Street / Norwalk, CT 06854
Tuesday, April 11, 2023
81 Riverside Ave
Norwalk, Connecticut, United States
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In Loving Memory
1934 - 2023
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81 Riverside Ave.
Norwalk, CT 06850
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