28 February 2024

John Edward Bowen

CTAHR researcher in Ag nutrition was also a noted agri-photojournalist

John Edward Bowen

By Dr. Bernie Kratky

Dr. John Edward Bowen, aged 85, passed away in Hilo on Dec. 7, 2023. John grew up in Baltimore and received his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in 1965. He started his career as a sugar cane physiologist with C. Brewer and Company in Hawaiʻi and then transferred to CTAHR’s Dept. of Plant Physiology, now the Dept. of Molecular Biosciences and Bioengineering.

In the late 1960s until he retired after more than 30 years of service, John was located at the Beaumont Agricultural Experiment Station in Hilo, now the Komohana Agricultural Research and Extension Center. He conducted research primarily on sugarcane plant nutrition, but he also worked on plant nutrition in onion, papaya, pepper, and tomato.

John was an extraordinarily good photographer and wrote numerous agri-photojournalism articles for Agribusiness Worldwide, Agricola de las Americas, and World Farming. He also had worked as a firefighter while attending college and maintained a lifelong connection with firefighters. His expertise in biochemistry enabled him to assist first responders on handling emergency situations involving pesticides and hazardous chemicals in Hawaiʻi. During retirement, he conducted safety classes on hazardous materials, both in Hawaiʻi and throughout the Mainland.

John was preceded in death by his son Bruce and is survived by his wife Anne, two daughters and numerous grandchildren. Emeritus professor Dr. Bernie Kratky shares, “John had many talents, a great sense of humor and was a joy to work with.”

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