Jay Ross Bower, age 82, of Quincy, a well known real estate broker, died Thursday, April 4, 2019, at 3:37 am in Blessing Hospital.
Jay was born on July 8, 1936 in Quincy, Illinois, the son of Ross and Edna (Blentlinger) Bower. Growing up in Camp Point, Illinois, Jay graduated from Maplewood High School.
Jay met Shirley Day at Culver Stockton College in 1955, and the college sweethearts married in 1956 in Canton, Missouri. In 1957, Jay and Shirley both graduated from Culver Stockton College, Jay with a BS degree in Business.
At a time when our nation was not involved in an active war, Jay served his country for 6 months active duty followed by 8 years in both Army and Navy Reserves. At home in Camp Point, Jay intended to partner with his father at Bower Funeral Home, but decided to secure his brokerage license before funeral director training. He fell in love with the Real Estate business, and soon had an expanding business with offices in Camp Point,, Mount Sterling and Quincy, ultimately providing brokerage services to the region for 58 years and employing 31 brokers serving the Illinois and Missouri area.
On November 15, 1960, Jay and Shirley joyfully welcomed their only child, Lisa into their lives.
Drawing on a passion to ensure that people of all races and creeds had equal access to fair housing - at a time when advocacy could mean risk - Jay went to Washington DC to testify before national leadership.
Jay further served the communities he loved through the Camp Point Lions Club, and Quincy Rotary, where he was a Paul Harris fellow. He was a District Governor and on the Board of Directors of Illinois Farm and Land Brokers, a member of the National Association of Realtors, State Chapter President of the Farm and Land Institute, and active in fundraising for the Heart Fund and the Community Chest drive. Over the years, he received many service awards and career commendations, including the Farm and Land Institute Certificate of Appreciation, the Realtors National Marketing Institute Award, the National Board of Realtors' Realtor Emeritus award for 40 years of service, and the Board of Realtors' Outstanding Realtor Career Award (1990)
Jay's faith in Jesus Christ led to many years of committed involvement at First Presbyterian Church and the Congregational Church.
In addition to Shirley, his wife of 62 years, he is survived by three grandchildren, Peter (Alexis) Martinez and their son, Leo'n Samuel Martinez, of Austin, TX, Lauren (David) Olinger of Winston-Salem, NC, and Joy Claire Martinez, of Philadelphia, PA,
He was preceded in death by his parents, and his beloved daughter, Lisa Bower-Martinez.
His family expresses their deep gratitude to the gifted staff of the ICU and the second floor PCU (Progressive Care Unit) nurses and doctors of Blessing Hospital for their professional and compassionate care, and the doctors from Quincy Medical Group.
Jay left a legacy of stability, generosity, and service to family and community, demonstrating by example to friends, employees, and grandchildren how people should be treated, and how to "prefer others to yourself." Jay never met a stranger; only friends he hadn't met yet.
Services: 10:00 am Monday, April 8, 2019 at First Union Congregational Church, with Rev. Josh Vahle officiating.
Burial: Evergreen Cemetery, Camp Point, Illinois
Visitation: 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm, Sunday April 7, 2019 at Hansen-Spear Funeral Home
Memorials: First Union Congregational Church, Quincy Rotary Foundation, or Culver-Stockton College
Hansen-Spear Funeral Directors are in charge of the arrangements.
Shirley-may you find peace during this time of stress
Shirley, so sorry to hear of Jay passing. I have fond memories of both you and Jay stopping in and visiting with me at the Elite Petite. Sending you my condolences and prayers.
We wish for Peace in this time of sorrow, to you and your family
Jay and Shirley the Romeo and Juliet of our time and lives. WGCA began its journey in the Bower Building 32 years ago as Sonshine Cable Radio. Thanks for the memories Jay. We will miss you and your humor. RIP.
My deepest sympathy to you and your family. You are in my prayers.
I have very sorry for your loss.
I am so sorry for the loss of your soul mate. My sincerest condolences. I will keep you in my prayers.
I am very sorry for your loss. Our lunch get-togethers just won’t be the same without him.
Shirley and family,
RJ and I were sorry to hear that Jay passed away yesterday. Please know we send our condolences and prayers at this time. I will skeays think of Jay in his green colored jacket at church every Sunday during the spring and dunmmer months. I love that color and loved that he enjoyed wearing it.
Peace to you at this time.
Barb and RJ Ley
Jo and I are thinking of Shirley and her family. Jay Bower has been a true fraternity brother and friend. Our memories of Culver-Stockton always include “Jay and Shirley.”
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