In Loving Memory of Printer Bowler

Former journalism professor Printer BowlerMontana Journalism graduate, friend and long-time adjunct professor Printer Bowler died at his Missoula home on April 28 after a long battle with cancer. 

Bowler graduated from UM in 1963, but came back to Missoula and involved himself in the life of the school in the last decade. Printer taught classes in publication design as an adjunct and also helped the school create and distribute an annual alumni magazine. Bowler was a gentle but insistent presence in Don Anderson Hall, always encouraging faculty and students to do their best and always available to help out. 

Bowler was born in 1941, in New England, North Dakota, but grew up in Scobey, Mont., where his father, Larry, was editor and publisher of the Daniels County Leader.  His grandfather had been the paper’s editor and publisher too.  Both his father and grandfather are in the Montana Newspaper Association’s Hall of Fame on the third floor of Don Anderson Hall.  His brother, Burl, runs the Leader today.

Bowler came to Missoula in the early 60s to study journalism, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism in 1963.  Bowler was an editor for the student newspaper, The Montana Kaimin, and worked for the Missoulian newspaper while a student.  Dean Nathaniel Blumberg and Professor Ed Dugan were big influences on his thinking. 

Upon graduation, he managed an unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign in Montana, and then joined the U.S. Army as a commissioned officer. He volunteered for service in Vietnam, and was in Saigon and Da Nang during the height of the U.S. military build up.  He left Vietnam ill and disillusioned and returned to San Francisco during its heyday as a counter-culture mecca. While there, he worked for the San Francisco Bay Guardian, produced concerts for acts like the Jefferson Airplane, did some printing and promotion work and dabbled a bit in television. 

He returned to Montana in 1971, landing in Helena. He became interested in organic food and ran an organic bakery in Bigfork and co-wrote a book on health food. He also wrote poetry and books on golf and philosophy. He painted houses, and was an excellent golfer. 

In 2002 he began teaching at UM’s School of Journalism. His courses on publication design were about design but also about the meaning of life. Students loved him because he cared about them and got to know them as individuals. He was kind, compassionate and cheerful. 

He also designed the School of Journalism's annual alumni magazine, Communique, and stayed in touch with the students working at the student newspaper. The Montana Kaimin printed a front-page article on news of his death. 

As his beloved wife Kim Lugthart wrote in a message to friends, “Printer left his earthly body behind, and exited in the gentlest way. The atmosphere was charged with spring squalls blowing through all day– a prairie-bound wind come to fetch our blessed Prairie Dawg." A memorial fund has been established at the School of Journalism to assist current students. 

A memorial service is planned at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 31, in the Music Recital Hall on the University of Montana campus. A reception will follow in the Music Building lobby. 

- posted on 05/01/14 -