|20 Mar 2023|
|Passing of friends|
J A (Tony) Bowden - 25 July 1932 – 16 March 2023
Tony Bowden passed away peacefully in Hook, Hampshire on the 16 March, 2023 aged 90. He is survived by his three children and his seven grandchildren.
We received this obituary, written by his son, Anthony from the UK Branch:
Tony was born in Broken Hill (Kabwe), Northern Rhodesia in 1932, the son of a British civil servant and a West End actress. He grew
up in Southern Rhodesia and went to Ruzawi prep school in Marondellas (Marondera) before going to Bishops in 1945. He was in Founders House and described his time at the school as being "undistinguished", but he made many lifelong friends amongst his 1950 matriculating classmates.
Following National Service, Tony marched with the Southern Rhodesian contingent at the coronation of the late Queen Elizabeth in 1953. After very brief careers in accounting and as a salesman for Lever Brothers selling soap from the back of a truck, he worked for CABS and Founders Building Society opening and running branches in Gwelo (Gweru), Umtali (Mutare) and Bulawayo.
In 1957 he married Audrey Finn at the Cathedral in Salisbury (Harare) and their three children, Kathie, Cherry and Anthony were all born in Southern Rhodesia. With Southern Rhodesia's intention to make a Unilateral Declaration of Independence on the cards, the family moved to Lusaka in 1964 and then to Ndola as Tony was instrumental in the establishment of Zambian Air Cargo, to enable the transport of copper from mines of the Copper Belt to the port of Dar es Salaam and to import barrels of oil and other key products for the mines.
This was necessary as sanctions subsequently imposed upon Rhodesia closed off the Rhodesian rail routes to the coast in South Africa and
Mozambique and at that time there was no safe and reliable alternative route to Mozambique. As a result the family were also able to be part of the celebrations of Zambia's Independence.
In 1969, Tony and the family immigrated to the UK and settled in Bishops Stortford, Hertforshire. Tony briefly worked for an air cargo company at Stansted airport before establishing Bowden's Estate Agents in 1971. Bowden's with its bright yellow "For Sale" signs was a feature of the Bishops Stortford landscape until Tony's retirement in 1997.
Tony was a prolific and very proud gardener and an enthusiastic supporter of the Bishop's Stortford Hockey Club. He kept in touch with many old school friends and in particular Mike Hudson and his wife Penny who lived nearby. Mike and Tony spent many happy retirement hours playing Scrabble and arguing over the appropriateness or dubious spelling of words placed on the board.
Tony was an active volunteer collecting donations to support the Athol Evans retirement community and Highlands Primary School in Harare, Zimbabwe. In 2002, Tony organised the printing of a collection of brief histories of the backgrounds and lives of many of his Bishops' class of 1950. This book titled "Recollections Class of 1950" was published.
Following the untimely death of his wife Audrey in 2014, Tony moved to Naphill in Buckinghamshire to be closer to his daughters Kathie and Cherry and their families. His son Anthony lives in Sydney, Australia.
A remembrance plaque for Tony will be placed next to that of Audrey and his grandson, Matthew at St Giles’, in Great Hallingbury, near Bishop's Stortford, and his ashes will be scattered over the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, a place he loved and missed.
His daughter Kathie wrote the following when relaying the news of his passing:
" It is with great sadness but mixed feelings that I write to let you know that Dad died yesterday. As you know it is some years since he was truly aware of who he (or we) was (were) and he is now in a much better place".
Tony's funeral is on 25 April at 2pm at the Basingstoke Crematorium should any UK ODs want to attend.
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