- Mendocino County
- Anderson Valley
by Bob Dempel, August 14, 2016
Tom had been an Ag teacher around Ukiah for many years. He started in Covelo with his lovely wife, Betty. At some time after he moved to Willits, Potter Valley, and Ukiah where he taught agriculture. My history also indicated he was the FFA Instructor. At the Ukiah Fair he helped to start the Junior Livestock Auction.
After retirement he worked as a real estate ranch salesman for TJ Nelson, and had a small herd of cattle. Unfortunately Tom was involved in a pedestrian accident that ultimately took his life. To this day TJ remembers Tom as one of the finest, most knowledgeably honest agents that he has ever employed.
I met TJ at a restaurant just two years ago here in Santa Rosa. The conversation led to Tom Bowles, The Ukiah Fair, and the Showmanship jackets I award each year to the four winners of the Round Robin showmanship class who get a nice embroidered jacket in memory of my mother who worked at the fair for 40 years.
TJ was so interested the he would pay for the two FFA Jackets if they were in memory of Tom Bowles. A small discussion went on between TJ and myself and this was accomplished for both 2015 and 2016.
I stopped by TJ’s office to show him the pictures of the winners of the FFA Jackets for 2016. As he looks at the pictures of the two recipients with their animals (one large and one small) Tom said he wanted to do more in memory of Tom. After much friendly discussions TJ has established, in addition to the Jackets, the two FFA round robin winners will receive in 2017 a check from TJ for $250 in memory of Tom.
The best part of this is that I did not ask for the money, it was graciously offered by TJ.
Having known TJ only two years I find him a fine individual, certainly a supporter of young people, and very generous. And now a good friend.