Dennis L. Bowen November 1st, 1937 - February 16th, 2023

Dennis L. Bowen of St. Joseph, Michigan, passed away peacefully into eternal life on February 16, 2023. Always an optimist, DLB was content spending his last days surrounded by family and close friends under the care of dedicated Corewell Health Hospital staff. Even as his health declined, Dennis maintained his keen sense of humor - never complaining and showing compassion and grace to those who provided comfort.

Dennis was born on All Saints Day in 1937 in Hammond, Indiana, the only child of Harold and Marcy Bowen. He received Bachelor's and Master’s Degrees in Music Education from Northwestern University. His musical abilities were a rare gift and highly respected by his peers and colleagues. Dennis married the love of his life, Lynn Andreen, in 1967, and they had two children, Andrew and Alison.

Dennis enjoyed a successful career doing what he loved as St. Joseph High School’s Director of Choral Activities, Musicals, and Variety Shows from 1960 to 1987. Dennis’ shows and concerts were legendary. To this day, most alumni can hum the jazzy opening theme song to Showtime, which Dennis co-wrote with colleague Bob Brown. In 1961, Dennis wrote the school’s Alma Mater, which is still proudly sung today. He was a beloved teacher, mentor and counselor to thousands of students, many of whom kept in touch over the years. Dennis affectionately called them “his kids,” and he was always “Mr. Bowen” to them.

In 1976, while the Bowens spent time with their son Andy at Mayo Clinic, Dennis came into contact with many wonderful and caring volunteers who inspired his spirit of volunteerism. Although for Dennis, volunteering started when he was a sophomore at LaPorte High School where he was released from class once a week to play piano for the LaPorte Lions Club. Later in life, Dennis served as the pianist for the SJ/BH Rotary Club. He also enjoyed driving the Lakeland Hospital

shuttle and working in the coffee shop in St. Joseph. After his retirement from St. Joseph Public Schools, Dennis became the hospital’s Director of Volunteer and Chaplaincy Services from 1987 to 1999.

Dennis was generous in sharing his talents with many area organizations. He served as Past President or Chair of the following: Community Concerts Association, Senior Volunteer Programs at the Area Agency on Aging, Lory’s Place Advisory Board, and the Waterfront Condominium Association. In addition, Dennis served his community through his work as a Hymn Sing leader at the Whitcomb Retirement Residence, the Krasl Art Center Music Committee, and most recently as a member of the Board of Directors and Secretary of the St. Joseph Public Schools Foundation.

In 2014, Dennis created a performance opportunity for his talented former students called ENCORE. The show was a collaboration between the SJPS Foundation and St. Joseph High School Alumni. Hundreds of Dennis’ former students traveled back to their hometown to work backstage or perform once again for their beloved teacher. The last of four shows was ENCORE 2022. On the final note of the last show, Dennis directed the entire cast in a moving rendition of “We’ll Meet Again.”

Dennis was a recipient of the Margaret B. Upton Volunteer Award and was inducted in the first class of the St. Joseph Public Schools Performing Arts Hall of Fame.

Dennis is survived by his loving wife, Lynn, cherished granddaughter, Stephanie Baginske Anders (Michael), and great grandchildren, Marcie and Jameson Anders, whom he adored. He also leaves dear cousins James (Sandy) Sieber and John (Jan) Sieber, a niece and five nephews and scores of great friends. He was preceded in death by his parents and son, Andrew.

Visitation will take place at Starks and Menchinger Chapel in St. Joseph on Friday, February 24 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. A celebration of life service will be held Saturday, February 25 at 1:00 pm at First Congregational Church, 2001 Niles Avenue, St Joseph, MI 49085.

Memorial donations can be made to the St. Joseph Public Schools Foundation online at, or by mail to SJPS Foundation, 2580 S. Cleveland Avenue, St. Joseph, MI 49085. Those wishing to send condolences or sign the guest book may do so at Arrangements have been entrusted to Starks & Menchinger Chapel and Cremation Services.