Biographies

Brother Lawrence Bowers, MM

Born: November 25, 1897
Oath: October 1, 1930
Died: October 2, 1980

Brother Lawrence Bowers died in Phelps Memorial Hospital on Thursday, October 2, 1980. On Thursday Frs. Wilcox and Burns gave him the Last Rites and had no sooner returned to St. Teresa’s when they were informed that he had passed away.

Son of Frank J. Bowers and Mary Volker, Larry was born in Youngstown, Ohio on November 25, 1897. He attended St. Thomas Aquinas parochial school in Cleveland and one year at East Technical High School. Then eight years of work, mostly as a shop and auto mechanic. He was accepted for the Maryknoll Brothers in 1921.

In 1932, while working at a planing machine, Larry was seriously injured, almost losing three fingers of his right hand. Dr. Sweet reattached them in what was described as a miraculous operation. In 1933 Lawrence was assigned to the Kongmoon Mission where he specialized in construction and landscaping. Loaned to Wuchow in 1936, he was in charge of the construction of the seminary in Taan Chuk and he gives a vivid description of the difficulties facing any construction work in the China of those days: “In China everything is original; nothing standard, and rulers change more often than the language. The carpenters use one measure and the masons another, causing a continuous argument as to who is responsible for the extra work of making the parts go together.” He solved the problem in simple fashion by making yardsticks all the same size and insisting that all use them.

Repatriated on the Gripsholm in 1942, he spent the rest of his life at Maryknoll, keeping all the machinery of the Field Afar Building in working order. A short course in the Addressograph School in Cleveland gave him the ability to maintain these new machines. In 1976 he was assigned to the Special Society Unit and lived at St. Teresa’s.

There was a wake service on Sunday, the 5th, in the Seminary Chapel, conducted by Fr. Thomas McDermott. The funeral Mass the next day was celebrated by Fr. James Weckesser, with Fr. Robert Carleton as Homilist, Biography by Bro. James Murray. The burial followed in the Maryknoll Cemetery, with graveside rites performed by Fr. John Harrington.