John R. "Kelly" Bowser, a World War II veteran and former roller skating champion who went on to be a leader in the local Alcoholics Anonymous community, died Jan. 21 at New Life Hospice Center of St. Joseph in Lorain. He was 88.
Bowser, a native of Michigan, joined the Army after graduating high school and served in Europe with the 353 Infantry. It was in his youth that Bowser began his lifelong love of roller skating, winning the world pairs title in 1947. He roller skated all his life until this past year.
After moving to Ohio, Bowser worked as a bartender at John Miller Country Place in Avon for 15 years. He retired from Jacobs Visconsi and Jacobs, where he'd worked for 10 years as a building engineer.
He was a 42-year member of Alcoholics Anonymous, helping countless others in their efforts toward sobriety. He served as secretary and chairman of the Avon group for many years.
Bowser was also active in fishing, bowling and vegetable gardening.
He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Mary Ann (nee Bentley); children Charlene Briggs (Robert) of Canton, Mich.; James Bowser (Dita) of Huntsville, Ala.; Lori Nader (Gordon) of Canton, Mich.; stepchildren Deborah Pach (George) of Lyons, Ill.; Andrea Barrett of Avon and Franklin Barrett of Garettsville. He is also survived by grandchildren Matthew, Jacquelyn, Christopher, Karissa, Cassandra, Mitchell, Olivia and Mason.
Bowser was preceded in death by parents Ray and Jane (nee Matthews) Bowser and sister Carolyn Loesch.
Calling hours are from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25, and from 10 to 11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 26, at . The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at . Interment will follow at .
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to FRIA, Attn: Eidtha-Dotson Bowser, Kelly Bowser Memorial Scholarship Fund, 318 Leeman Ferry Road, Huntsville, AL 35801.