Date of Death:  February 15, 2023

Service Details

A Rosary will be held Monday, February 20, 2023 at 10:30 a.m. at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 645 S. Douglas Ave., Three Rivers, with a Mass of Christian Burial following at 11:00 a.m. Father R. Mathias will officiate.

Obituary Notice

David Eric Bowlby, 64, of Three Rivers, passed away Wednesday, February 15, 2023, with his loving wife Bobbi Ann Chilson at his side.

He was born April 8, 1958, in Detroit, the son of James and Florence (Kiessel) Bowlby.

David was very proud of his work as a custodian for the Kalamazoo Public Schools, providing a learning environment at Edison and Milwood elementaries. He also worked part-time for Kalamazoo Auto Auction.

He and Bobbi, his wife of 40 years (married July 31, 1982), enjoyed hiking mountains to waterfalls, taking day trips, and traveling across the United States visiting historical and national parks.

David was a long-distance bicyclist who especially appreciated participating in the Tour de Leelanau bicycle rally in the Leelanau Peninsula. He was an amateur historian of the Civil War who maintained a compilation of Civil War horse stories. His innumerable interests included art, architecture, and a knowledge of minutia he was always happy to share.

A responsible man who valued his integrity and had an incredible moral compass, David was an inspiration to many.

Remaining to cherish his memory are his wife; mother, Florence Bowlby (father, James Bowlby, deceased); brothers, Mark, Neil, John, and Brian; sister, Kathleen Harmon; nieces, nephews, and many cousins.

Additional Information

Donations in David’s memory may be directed to the United Negro College Fund. Envelopes are available at Hohner Funeral Home and at the church.

Please Leave Your Condolences

When your condolences are submitted they will not display until approved by the Hohner staff for appropriateness out of respect for their memory. They should appear within 24 hours or less. Thank you for your understanding.

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  1. To my uncle Dave-
    I will remember your vast brightness and humor that lit up my childhood. From your stories of a gruesome “Pumpkin Head” who lived in a willow tree next to our family farm, to instilling a love of hiking (and potentially irrational fear of ticks) by leading many childhood adventures from the farm through the back woods and “cow graveyard” to our family’s beloved Upper Place, you positively impacted my life in many ways as a young person.

    Later in life, you would spark my interest when we got together through many interesting facts about art, poetry, biking, hiking, travel, astronomy, the Civil War, human rights, and most importantly rich stories of our own family history dating back generations. You were a time capsule of knowledge.

    I’m infinitely grateful you had Aunt Bobbi faithfully by your side for forty years to love you, support you, challenge you, and help you grow. What a beautiful hike your life was together. You leave behind many who will miss you and cherish fun memories.

    I can’t wait to tell our daughter about you. I feel very grateful that we connected in the last weeks of your life. You wished the three of us love and luck on our journey, even as yours on this side was coming to a close. I will think of you fondly whenever I watch a sunset at the upper place or take in a view from a hiking vista. Ride on, Uncle Dave and enjoy your freedom ❤️

  2. I feel the picture of Dave is so reflective of who he was. His smile was as contagious as anyone’s – I don’t know if I ever saw him not smiling. Our community has lost a very gentle and kind soul who possessed a huge heart. There is no doubt, the world was and is a better place because Dave was in it.

    Rest peacefully, Dave, and may perpetual light shine upon you!

  3. I am so sorry to hear of Dave’s passing. I don’t think I had seen him since after high school or shortly thereafter, but when I heard he had passed, I had a bunch of memories of him come to mind. I had memories of him at Cass Elementary School. Burton Hollow Swim Club. Dickinson Junior High where we played 9th grade football together and he was a big bruising fullback and Stevenson High. I remember Dave as having many interests and a real talent in drawing and art. I pray that God will bless you all as you miss him and that God may welcome him.
    With warm regards, Bill Mullally

  4. When we were growing up, I loved or two-family get togethers, playing touch football and lawn darts (ouch)! We went to the zoo when you got to stay with us awhile. Of late, I loved our phone visits; I appreciated you taking the time and energy to talk—about the latest edition of the LEELANAU ENTERPRISE—especially the back page and the blotter. I remember our last hug when you were at the farm. I’m sure Uncle Bud and you can resolve the case of the missing screwdriver. 💕I’ll think of you when I look at all the stars! Love always…

  5. Whenever we were with Bobbi and David , we felt their Love for each other .
    Beautiful, charismatic, kind and charming.
    An energy we felt even hours after our visits.
    David and Bobbi always had a shared smile and an understanding for each other and Us.
    Storytelling and sharing their stories as well as ours.
    Time spent with Bobbi and David began with a hug or hand on your shoulder, a Hand that always stayed with us long after our departure.
    The stories, the adventures, the kindness, the gratitude that David and Bobbi shared with open hearts and minds will always be remembered.
    The love that David and Bobbi shared and The Love they shared for Harley and Grace
    And Scott and me will always be a hand on our hearts …..

    David and his Wonderful laugh and sparkling eyes of Wisdom and understanding are always here.
    When looking at the stars, or sharing an adventure we will take David with us and Always carry him in our hearts

    Love, love, love, love , Scott Maureen Harley Grace

  6. I have been very blessed that when I married my wife I also married into an incredible family. Uncle Dave was very welcoming and shared many family stories and history. We bonded over past stories of doing shot put and discus in track. Dave even gave me his college shot and discus. I plan to restore them and display them as a memorial to his memory. My heart goes out to Aunt Bobbi who has done so much for him in these last few years and how to be a partner through sickness and health. Rest in Peace Dave and watch over our family!

  7. I’m so thankful I got the chance to meet such a gentle, fun, and loving soul. Rest in the sweetest peace, all my love to the greatest, most inviting and loving family.

  8. I am deeply saddened and I cannot believe my dearest husband has passed to the next adventure. He was my best friend, companion and lover. He succumbed to a very rare genetic cancer,
    He was talented, intelligent and compassionate. He had many interests, art, architecture, astronomy, a civil war historian. Over many years and ongoing he compiled an encyclopedia of civil war horses and riders. He wrote poetry, limericks, and even wrote me a “A song for Bobbi” . He had a fine arts degree and as an artist he could pick up a pencil and draw and design most anything. He had an incredible memory and was always willing to share the vast minutia. He was a storyteller and family historian.
    We have had so much fun traveling America. Hiking mountains to waterfalls. Visiting national and military parks. Touring 42 state capitals. He loved bicycling, hiking, and would take off on his “lone wolf” adventures.
    He taught me so much, he lived life to the fullest. We have been blessed with 40 years.
    On Wednesday 2/15/23 I sent him on a bicycle ride to the moon, the stars will twinkle and I’ll know he’s there looking down on me. I love you to the moon and back boo bear. Always and forever I’m …your boo bear

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