Joel BowersAugust 15, 2017
Joel Bowers, 67, from Rohrersville, MD, died unexpectedly on August 15.
Joel was born in Altoona, Pennsylvania to Michael Grant and Naomi Virginia Burkhart Bowers. He graduated from Juniata Valley High School in 1968, from Juniata College in 1972 with a BS in Psychology, and from the University of Maryland in 1987 with an MS in Social Work.
Following college and a year of travel, Joel moved to Frederick County, Maryland as a VISTA volunteer for a one year term of service at Springfield Hospital, Eldersburg. Following that, he began his professional career at the Frederick County Department of Social Services where he remained for thirty years until his retirement as a State of Maryland Licensed Social Worker in 2005.
Following retirement he was employed as a Recruiter/Trainer for Treatment Foster Care at San Mar Children’s Home in Boonsboro, Maryland. His last professional service was offered at Reach of Washington County where he volunteered for a few years in their crisis program and then became employed as their shelter case manager assisting homeless with stabilization needs. When diagnosed with lymphoma early in 2017, he took a leave of absence and was looking forward to returning to their shelter program this fall.
He is remembered fondly by a wide circle of friends, family, coworkers and clients as a kind, gentle and patient man who cared deeply about humanity and social justice issues. In his quiet way, he never hesitated to stand for those deep ethical principles which guided his life and work. In recent years, he became active in local politics to further the work of the Democratic Party in Washington County, Maryland. He volunteered in campaigns, was elected to the Democratic Central Committee and was instrumental in the establishment of a grass-roots Democratic Club in the county.
His greatest passion, joy and accomplishment was that of father. Leisure activities throughout his life included gardening and landscaping projects on his property, reading, genealogy research, and haunting antique and thrift shops.
Joel is survived by his wife, Cynthia Harbach Bowers and his daughter, Adele S. Bowers, as well as three siblings, Michael G. Bowers of Edmond, OK, Connie Gates of St Thomas, PA and Anita Bowers of Huntingdon, PA and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family will receive friends on Saturday, August 26 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM at Bast-Stauffer Funeral Home, 7606 Old National Pike, Boonsboro. A memorial service to celebrate Joel’s life will be held on Sunday, August 27 at 2:00 PM at the funeral home, with a visitation an hour prior to services beginning at 1:00 PM. A reception will immediately follow the service at the Funkstown Fire Company, 2 South Westside Avenue, Hagerstown, MD 21740.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to further the work of two local programs: Reach of Washington County, 140 W. Franklin Street, Suite 300, Hagerstown, MD 21740 or the United Democrats of Washington County, P O Box 44, Rohrersville, MD 21779.