|Birth: ||Sep. 4, 1917|
|Death: ||Nov. 30, 2001|
San Diego County
Los Angeles music critic and Pearl Harbor survivor. He was born in Green Valley, Bath County, Virginia but at the age of 3, His family moved to Long Beach. His father was Raleigh David Bowman and his mother was Vesta Virginia "Ratliff" Bowman. His father worked as a "Red Car Streetcar" conductor. Hie mother became involved in many social charities. She became founder of the Long Beach Symphony Society. When Raymond was still only a child, his mother gave him violin lessons. He became a prodigy violinist, developed a great love of classical music. He was written up in the newspaper in the Long Beach Press-Telegram often during the 1920s. His mother was Vesta Virginia Bowman, one of the founders of the Long Beach Symphony Society. His family survived the 1933 earthquake and his mother made soup for the neighborhood in the front yard of their Loma Avenue home, which was damaged. He attended Wilson High School and was a track and field athlete there. He set several records during that time in the late 1930s. He went on to attend Columbia University in New York, where he obtained his degree in literature.
He enlisted in the Army in 1940 and was soon sent to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Ironically a few weeks later, he was involved in the attack by the Japanese on December 7, 1941 while stationed at Camp Malakola (near Barbers Point) in the Army with the 251st. He was about to play a game of tennis when the attack began. He fired a machine gun at the planes from a bunker while still wearing his tennis outfit. As the war continued, he worked in counter-intelligence at Schofield Barracks, the Fiji Islands, and at other outposts in the South Pacific, but rarely saw action for the rest of his enlistment because of those remote locations. His combined active and reserve enlistment lasted 17 years. He attained the rank of Master Sergeant.
He was on the staff of the Hollywood American Legion during the 1950s. He was one of the original members of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association from its inception... and signed the charter a year after it was formed.
In 1960 he married the former Lita Santos, who had 2 children from a previous marriage, Christian and Leslie Anne. For many years he was a concert presenter of classic jazz music, and later a music critic of classical music. He presented countless musicians, conductors and composers over the years. Lily Tomlin, San Francisco Mime Troupe, Clark Allen, Margarita Cordova, William Clauson, La Familia Heredia, Clare Fischer, Cilli Wang, Devi Dja and countless other world artists were presented by Ray in concert, many for the first time in America because of his tireless work. He was close friends with many artists and musicians in the Los Angeles jazz and classical music community for several decades. He was a loyal friend.
He adored long conversations with "intellectuals" and could engage in discussions with them on fine art, music, ballet, opera or history until late into the night. He was a natural-born night owl listening to his favorite classical music station. In 1962 his natural son Raymond Jr. was born. He was instrumental in bringing one of the first Balinese "shadow puppet" theater performances to the United States in 1963 with Ruth St. Denis. It was presented in her Hollywood studio in Hollywood and lasted 8 hours.
Starting in 1965, he co-owned an art gallery in Beverly Hills called "The Bowman-Mann Gallery" on La Cienega just south of Wilshire Blvd. A year later he presented new jazz and world music artists on Monday nights at the "Ice House" in Pasadena. He was to continue for nearly 20 years. No one ever saw a more devoted sports fan than Ray. His knowledge of the history of sports, particularly of baseball, football, basketball and track was remarkable.
In 1967 he moved the family to Redondo Beach and became a classical music critic for the South Bay Daily Breeze newspaper. He was a fixture at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at least twice a week during the symphony and opera seasons. In his later years he was listed in the Marquis "Who's Who in America" and later "Who's Who in the World" because of his literate and intelligent critiques. He enjoyed his retirement by moving to Pacific Beach (San Diego) in 1987 and 10 years later to Escondido, California and never lost his great sense of humor.
In 1994 at age 77, Ray volunteered for the San Diego AIDS Walk. He walked the entire mile-long route through Balboa Park. He was determined to walk the entire course in memory of his friend Michael Gill, who died of AIDS just 3 years before. He was a man without prejudice and a loyal friend.
He loved drives to scenic places and used to drive regularly to the Venice Pavilion to watch jazz concerts, the Redondo Beach Pier to go fishing and down to the San Diego Zoo. One drive he particularly enjoyed was to the cliffs above San Diego bay in Point Loma. He asked that when it was "his time", he be buried "high on a cliff overlooking Coronado and the bay". Upon is passing, his wish was granted. His burial site overlooks that magnificent view he so loved. At his funeral were his wife Lita, his step-son R. Christian Anderson (who also served as pall bearer), a dozen long-time friends and fellow Pearl Harbor survivors (who were virtually all Navy veterans). Ironically, a U. S. Marine Corps firing squad generously stepped in when the Army squad was unavailable.
He was survived by his wife Lita, his step-daughter Leslie Anne, step-son Christian, his natural son Raymond, and 4 grand-children. He also left relatives in Virginia, as well as countless colleagues and close friends that miss him to this day.
Vesta Virginia Ratliff Bowman (1895 - 1980)
Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery
San Diego County
Plot: SECTION CBH ROW 1 SITE 15
Created by: Christian
Record added: Jul 15, 2002
Find A Grave Memorial# 6608984
Added: Dec. 11, 2014
Remembering you on Pearl Harbor Day. God bless you, Dad!|
Added: Dec. 7, 2014
My dearest Ray; Remembering you,the Pearl Harbor experience,and all of your sacrifices. Remembering also the many friends that have come and gone that have loved you.Thanks, for the treasured moments I spent with you. <3|
Added: Dec. 6, 2014
|There are 177 more notes not showing...|
Click here to view all notes...