Robert L. Bowles

  • Died: July 13, 2018
  • Location: Rockland, Massachusetts

Magoun-Biggins Funeral Home

135 Union Street
Rockland, MA 02370
Tel. (781) 878-1775

Tribute & Message From The Family

Robert L. Bowles, 84, of Rockland, passed away July 13, 2018, at Life Care Center of the South Shore in Scituate following a long illness. Survived by his wife of 60 years, Jane E. (Brooks) Bowles of Rockland; his two sons, Robert L. Bowles, Jr. of Marshfield and Steven M. Bowles of Hull; and 3 grandchildren. Bob was born in South Weymouth, MA, the son of William L. Bowles and Ruth E. (Olson) Bowles. A lifelong resident of Rockland, Bob dedicated himself to community and public service, education and his great love of family.

Bob graduated from Rockland High School as class valedictorian in 1951 and received a Bachelor's degree from Northeastern University (Summa cum laude) in 1957 and a Master's degree from the University of Wyoming in 1958. He also completed his doctoral studies at Boston University (ABD) and received numerous academic honors and awards. Bob traveled widely in the US, Canada and Europe, lectured on history, art and architecture and conducted tour groups in Europe for five years.

Bob was an Associate Professor of History at Boston State College and also served as the College's Associate Dean of Students and the Director of its Social Sciences Program. Bob also taught history at UMass Boston and, following the closure of Boston State in 1981, became a Professor at Massasoit Community College in Brockton, where he established a Law Enforcement Program, a department which he chaired until his retirement.

Bob's dedication to and love for his hometown community of Rockland was consummate. He was a member of the Rockland School Committee for 24 years, serving as Chair or Vice-Chair of the Committee for 23 of those years. During his tenure he delivered numerous lectures on the problems facing public education and the value of the liberal arts, including twice as keynote speaker at the annual Plymouth County Education Leadership Conference. Bob also served as the Executive Director of the Rockland Area Council of Churches, and as Treasurer (35 years) of the First Congregational Church of Rockland and a Member of its Board of Trustees (38 years).

Bob also served Rockland as a law enforcement officer throughout much of his life, first as a Special Police Officer for the Rockland Schools and then on the Rockland Auxiliary Police as a Patrolman, Sergeant, Lieutenant, and then Captain of the Auxiliary Police. He was Rockland's Civil Defense Director for 20 years before also serving as Director of the Rockland Emergency Management Agency.

Visiting hours will be held on Wednesday, July 18 from 5:00 to 8:00 PM at the Magoun-Biggins Funeral Home, 135 Union Street, Rockland. A funeral service celebrating Bob's life will take place at 11:00 AM on Thursday, July 19 at the First Congregational Church of Rockland. Burial at Spring Lake Cemetery and a reception for family and friends at the Rockland Golf Course will follow the service. Donations in his memory may be made to the Rockland Education Foundation, P.O. Box 764, Rockland, MA 02370. For directions, additional information, or to leave a memory in Bob's online guestbook, please visit