George Bowden

  • "I am so sorry to hear about Mr. Bowden's passing. He was a..."
    - John Ferraris
  • "hi my name is jim dusenbery, this man waqs and is always..."
  • "Helga, We celebrate George for his lifetime accomplishments..."
    - David Ells
  • "George was a faithful servant of our Lord at Maranatha..."
    - Pastor Charles Rizzo
  • "May you find comfort in knowing that George is present with..."
    - Diane Mueller

Community activist

founded Bogota's

swim club in 1963

George Bowden, a neighborhood druggist who founded one of Bogota's most enduring institutions its swim club died Monday. He was 84.

A borough native, Mr. Bowden opened Main Pharmacy on West Main Street in 1955. His business, one of three pharmacies in tiny Bogota in the years before the drugstore chains, was a popular gathering place for youngsters, and Mr. Bowden and his wife, Helga, hired local teenagers as clerks and delivery boys.

Mr. Bowden's interest in the welfare of young people extended to his other activities. He headed efforts to curb drug abuse, was active in Scouting and, beginning in 1968, served on the Board of Education for a decade, including a stint as board president.

And to this day, children who splash the summer away at the Bogota Swim Club have Mr. Bowden to thank.

Mr. Bowden lobbied for the development of the swim club and, according to a profile in The Record, and put up his Larch Avenue home and the pharmacy as collateral to ensure the project's success. The swim club opened in 1963 and Mr. Bowden was its first president.

Mr. Bowden's son, Kevin, remembers that his father and other civic-minded residents pushed for the swim club with just one aim in mind: to give youngsters something to do.

"The funny thing is, Dad never went swimming in the pool there he never liked swimming. Isn't that ironic?" Kevin said. "He'd go down to the swim club every once in a while to be a presence and to hack around the office, but he wasn't one to sit in the sun."

Mr. Bowden sold Main Pharmacy in 1981, after chain drugstores began entering the North Jersey market. "He saw the writing on the wall and got out when the getting was good," his son said.

A graduate of Rutgers University's College of Pharmacy, Mr. Bowden stayed in the profession, working for the next two decades at the Rite- Aid in town.

Mr. Bowden, a Hackensack resident for the past 10 years, is survived by his wife of 58 years; his children, Patricia Domney of Wanaque and Kevin of Long Valley, and three grandchildren.

Services were held Thursday at Living Word Community Church in Dumont.

Published in The Record on Feb. 1, 2013
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