Obituary: Reuben Bowen, 1975-2022 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Reuben Bowen, 1975-2022

"Man of a million stories" knew how to enjoy the simple things in life

Published April 5, 2022 at 6:09 a.m.
Updated April 5, 2022 at 1:10 p.m.


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Reuben James Bowen - COURTESY
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  • Reuben James Bowen
Reuben James Bowen left this world peacefully on Saturday, April 2, 2022, at age 46 in Burlington, Vt.

Reuben was born in Colorado Springs, Colo., on April 23, 1975. When anyone would ask Reuben where he was from, he would always say, “from all over.” But he kept returning to the kindness of the people of Burlington since 2007.

Reuben was a man of a million stories. Sit with him long enough, and he would always have a wild, true story to share with you. No matter where he traveled, he found a new friend to share one of his stories with. He loved music and often could be seen on Church Street listening to live bands. As a devoted Grateful Dead fan, he would listen to a Dead show every morning while preparing for his day (much to the annoyance of his neighbors).

Despite his apparent gruff exterior, he was a deeply gentle and kind man. On many occasions, he literally gave the shirt off his back to someone in need. But he was always ready to protect those he loved and never walked away from a fight. He faced many health challenges over the years, never letting them slow him down. He still greeted the world with a joke and a smile. He could teach us all about how to enjoy the simple things in life — sitting in the sun on a beautiful day and enjoying a good joint or a cold beer.

He leaves behind his greatest love, Heather Kilbourne, of Raleigh, N.C.; his mother, Jackie Helton (Virgil), of Elizabethton, Tenn.; his father, Warren Bowen, of Richmond, Ky.; a special uncle, Steve Bowen, of Clay City, Ky.; and countless friends and family.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, April 30, 1 p.m., at First United Methodist Church in Burlington, Vt. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Reuben Bowen Memorial Fund at FUMC, 21 Buell St., Burlington, VT 05401.

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