Jim grew up in Carbon County and served in the U.S. Navy from 1952 to 1956. After serving in the Navy, Jim began a career in higher education that would span the next five decades.
Jim married Joann Sessions on April 30, 1966. They had one daughter, Carol, and one son, Casey. Jim always considered his children to be his greatest accomplishment in life.
Despite not technically finishing high school, Jim went on to earn bachelor, master, and doctorate degrees from Utah State University. Jim began teaching at the College of Southern Utah in 1965 and finally retired from Southern Utah University in 2012.
Jim dedicated his life to serving others. He taught literally thousands of college students over the years and influenced many lives. In addition to teaching at SUU, he especially enjoyed volunteering his time to work with his beloved fourth graders.
Jim worked with the Iron County Extension Office, served on the State of Utah Wildlife Board, and spent many years with the Bryce Canyon Natural History Association. He was also known for helping landowners with a variety of issues. He was an expert in the fields of botany, forestry, and ecology and earned the nickname “Mr. Range Management.” During his long career he earned many awards and accolades, including Professor of the Year, Outstanding Educator, the Sustained Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Range Management. He was also inducted into the Southwest Livestock Hall of Fame. Jim’s legacy will live on as the Native Plant Center and Herbarium on the SUU campus are named in his honor.
Jim is survived by his wife, Joann Sessions Bowns; daughter, Carol Bowns; son, Casey (Shannon) Bowns; and brother, Terry (Joanne) Bowns.
A viewing was held Tuesday, Sept. 17 at Southern Utah Mortuary and on Wednesday, Sept. 18 at the LDS 16th Ward Chapel. Funeral services followed at noon. Interment was in the Cedar City Cemetery under the direction of Southern Utah Mortuary. Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.sumortuary.com.
In lieu of flowers, please contribute to the James Bowns Scholarship by contacting Cameron Brooks with the SUU Development Office at 435-865-8045.