Stephen Sarsfield Bowman
1958 - 2023
Obituary of Stephen Sarsfield Bowman
For a true morning person and a man who spent much of his life pondering the Here and the Hereafter, it seems fitting that it was in the quiet pre-dawn hours of October 28, that Stephen Sarsfield Bowman slipped away to begin the next leg of his spiritual journey.
Born on September 28, 1958 to Jeanne (O’Connor) and Ronald Hoyt Bowman, Stephen often recalled an almost magical childhood growing up one of five siblings in Bradford Hills, a predominantly Jewish neighborhood, where Stephen developed a great affinity for Judaism and life-long interest in world religions. Among the highlights from his childhood were family ski trips to Vermont and a home filled with kids on the Bowman trampoline. Fortunately for the Syracuse native, Stephen loved the winter and said he could never live anywhere that didn’t have snow. An oft stated dream was to retire to Norway, a place he came to love after traveling there alone at age 10 to visit a boy he had befriended at school.
A 1977 graduate of Christian Brothers Academy, Stephen then attended Canisius College in Buffalo where he played soccer and graduated with a BA in Political Philosophy in 1982. This was followed with a degree in Law from Georgetown Law School in 1987 and admittance to the Bar in 1988.
While in college, and after countless conversations around the family dinner table, Stephen had been bitten by the political bug. He was hired by Mario Cuomo’s gubernatorial campaign in New York City and subsequently his administration in Albany. This was followed by work on the Walter Mondale presidential campaign. Stephen took a run at political office himself, running in the 1988 Democratic primary for the US 22nd district. Despite his mostly Republican extended family switching parties to vote for him, it wasn’t quite enough for victory. Although this put an end to his active political life, Stephen closely followed all local and geopolitical events, both in their historical contexts and in their effects on everyday people, especially when it came to injustice and inequity. He was a regular contributor to the Post Standard, writing thoughtfully researched essays on controversial subjects with intellect and compassion.
Stephen’s next steps led him to his life’s work. He began by following his father’s footsteps into real estate development, working with Pioneer Development. As he visited sites in the course of his work, he noticed that memory care residents were often left with no effort to engage them. He kept this in mind when he started his own business, Peregrine Senior Living, where he served as President.
Opening the first facility in Cheektowaga, his innovative senior living concept, known as “The Peregrine Way” has been implemented in communities nation-wide. Stephen’s vision was that the goal of every program should focus on helping residents maintain a connection to themselves through love, family, and touchstones of long-term memory. For him, his work in memory care and assisted living was a calling, and he loved that his job gave him a chance every day to think about life and death and what it means to be human.
Stephen had a lifelong intellectual curiosity, a passion for books, and the ideas they represented. His favorite authors were a challenging group, including Dante, Nietzsche, Homer and James Joyce. But he also reveled in the fantasy world of JRR Tolkien, and the complex narratives of JD Salinger. His active mind internalized these authors and their works to an extraordinary degree and informed his life and values in meaningful ways. As a perennial student of Irish history, Stephen was a member of the James Joyce Club, ardently participating in their Bloomsday recitations of Joyce and gave memorable lectures on the Emerald Isle.
Stephen will be remembered for his all-embracing, unconditional love of family. He will be dearly missed, and never forgotten, by so many who loved him. He was a kind and gentle man, loyal to the core, generous to a fault and always ready to help anyone in need. He had a seemingly miraculous Thanksgiving table which was always able to fit one more, and one more, and one more.
Pre-deceased by his parents, he is survived by his beloved wife Maria (Del Bagno) Bowman, his children: Sarsfield Stephen Bowman, Honor (Bowman) Simon (Misha), Cormac John Bowman, step-son Isaiah James Lerch and ex-wife Maura (Hughes) Bowman. His siblings, Kimberlee Jeanne Bowman, Judith (Bowman) Abbott (Robert), Joseph Peter Bowman and Ronald Hoyt Bowman Jr (Christine Weydig) along with nieces, nephews, cousins and countless others who loved and learned from him.
A memorial mass will be held at St Lucy’s Church, 434 Gifford St, Syracuse on November 18 at 11:00 AM with a Celebration of Life reception to follow.
In Lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Lucy’s Church and Interfaith Works of CNY.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Stephen Bowman, please visit Tribute Store
In Loving Memory
1958 - 2023
3180 Bellevue Avenue
Syracuse, New York 13219
Phone: (315) 468-3443
Fax: (315) 468-6004
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