Don Bowen, who was born on June 9, 1938, in Toledo, Washington, to Guy and Hilma (Hurst) Bowen, left us to play baseball on his own Field of Dreams on Aug. 1, 2022 in Chehalis, Washington, after a 40 year battle with multiple sclerosis. He never let his disease slow him down, he never complained, and in the end, he did it his way. Don was a lifelong resident of Toledo who drove log trucks until 1980 and then went to work for Widco (now Centralia Mining Co.) until he retired.
Don was an athlete that inspired many. His freshman year of high school, Don broke his hip in a tractor accident and was told he may never walk again. He proved the doctors wrong and relearned to walk and played sports. After leaving Toledo, Don went on to play baseball and basketball at Centralia College. In 1990, he was inducted into the Centralia College Hall of Fame for both sports. Following his time at Centralia, Don played semi-pro baseball for the Pavers. In 1959, he was signed to the Cleveland Indians, where he played two years before being released. Don’s roommate during this time was famous pitcher Tommy John and later former Mariners manager Lou Pinella was a roommate. After baseball, Don played men's fastpitch with local clubs in Lewis and Cowlitz counties. During this time, he played for the Shamrock, and in 2007, Don was inducted into the Longview Fastpitch Hall of Fame. Don loved coaching young baseball players, to whom he taught basic skills and continued to help through their high school careers. On March 16, 2020, Don was honored when the Toledo High School baseball field was renamed after him.
Don is survived by his sons Scott (Norma) Bowen and Tracy (Leslie) Bowen; brother Loren (Laura Lee) Bowen; grandchildren Olivia Bowen, Madison Bochner and Cameron Bowen; and great-granddaughter Emma Bochner, as well as many nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother Ted Bowen.
A graveside service will be held at noon on Friday, Aug. 12, 2022, at Lone Hill Cemetery in Toledo. A celebration of Don’s Life will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, August 14, 2022, at South County Park. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Toledo Baseball Grand Slam Club at P.O. Box 333, Winlock, Washington, 98596.