Jim grew up in Carbon County and served in the U.S. Navy from 1952 to 1956. After serving in the Navy, Jim began a career in higher education that would span the next five decades. Jim married Joann Sessions on April 30, 1966. They had one daughter, Carol and one son, Casey. Jim always considered his children to be his greatest accomplishment in life.
Despite not technically finishing high school, Jim went on to earn bachelor's, master's, and doctorate degrees from Utah State University. Jim began teaching at the College of Southern Utah in 1965 and finally retired from Southern Utah University in 2012. Jim dedicated his life to serving others. He taught literally thousands of college students over the years and influenced many lives. In addition to teaching at SUU, he especially enjoyed volunteering his time to work with his beloved fourth graders.
Jim worked with the Iron County Extension Office, served on the State of Utah Wildlife Board, and spent many years with the Bryce Canyon Natural History Association. He was also known for helping landowners with a variety of issues. He was an expert in the fields of botany, forestry, and ecology and earned the nickname “Mr. Range Management.” During his long career he earned many awards and accolades, including Professor of the Year, Outstanding Educator, the Sustained Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Range Management, and was inducted into the Southwest Livestock Hall of Fame. Jim's legacy will live on as the Native Plant Center and Herbarium on the SUU campus are named in his honor.
Jim is survived by his wife Joann Sessions Bowns, daughter Carol Bowns, son Casey (Shannon) Bowns, and brother Terry (Joanne) Bowns.
A viewing will be held Tuesday, September 17 from 6:00-8:00 pm at Southern Utah Mortuary and on Wednesday, September 18, 2013 the viewing will be at the LDS 16th Ward Chapel located at 1925 West 320 South from 10:30-11:30 am. Funeral services will follow at12:00 pm. Interment will be in the Cedar City Cemetery under the direction of Southern Utah Mortuary. Online condolences can be sent to www.sumortuary.com
In lieu of flowers, please contribute to the James Bowns Scholarship by contacting Cameron Brooks with the SUU Development Office at (435) 865 – 8045.