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


Condolence & Memory Journal

Personally, I will remember Bob fondly as the "voice of the Bulldogs" for many years. My deepest sympathies to the entire Bowles family.

Posted by Jeff Phelps - Rockland, MA - Friend   July 20, 2018

I am so sorry for your loss. Bob will always be missed and remembered by so many. Loving prayers to Jane and the boys.

Posted by Sandy Barrie - Venice, FL - Friend   July 19, 2018

My condolences I had the pleasure to work with Bob at Massasoit

Posted by Tom Finnegan - Pembroke - Friend   July 18, 2018

My sincere condolences to Jane and the boys on the passing of Bob. I had the pleasure of having Bob as a colleague for many years at Boston State Colle and later at Massasoit Community College. He was a great teacher and a great guy. Jerry Burke

Posted by A friend   July 18, 2018

Bowles family, Please accept my condolences on your loss. Capt. Bob, as I loved to call him at work, donated countless hours to the town of Rockland. The town will never know how much of his time he gave and how much time away from you all he gave up. I will always think of him with his smirk after he used his enormously sharp wit. The town of Rockland and its residents are forever in his debt. He was a man who dearly wanted Rockland to be a better place for all to live. I think because of what he did that it truly was! I am proud to say that I knew him and very grateful to say he was a part of my life! -Keep watch over us Capt.

Posted by Chuck Tilden - HYDE PARK, MA - Friend   July 18, 2018

Jane, Robert and Steven so sorry for your loss.
Robert and Jane contributed so much to Rockland over the years. He will be missed by many.

Posted by Bill Washburn - Plymouth, MA   July 18, 2018

My prayers and sympathy to Mr. Bowles' family; he will be sorely missed. Ellen Donahue (retired RHS teacher)

Posted by Ellen Donahue - Boston, MA - Teacher   July 18, 2018

My deepest condolences to the Bowles Family.

Posted by Carol Kerr - Punta Gorda, FL - Coworker   July 17, 2018

Mr. Bowles,
Sir, I would just like to say thank you for your years of dedicated service and sacrifice for the citizens of of Rockland when you served with the Rockland Emergency Management Agency And as a Special and Auxiliary Policeman. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

Posted by Mike Casey(former Ma resident) - El Paso, TX   July 17, 2018

My sincerest sympathies to one of my church families! My love and prayers are with you all!

Posted by Carol Bird Lagana - Palm Coast, FL - Acquaintance   July 16, 2018

What a wonderful write up of a well educated man whose life was so well lived. The world, and our town, need more dedicated citizens like Bob. To Jane, Robert, and Steven, we send our sincere sympathy at the passing of your husband/ father. May the great memories you have help to sustain you during this difficult time. And for Bob, thank you again for all you did for our town.

Posted by Judy O'Neil - Rockland, MA - Friend   July 16, 2018

So sorry to hear about the loss of your Dad. Lost my dad last December so know how much it hurts.

Our Condolences to you and all your family.

Posted by Dan and Kate Haughton - Kingston, MA - Friend   July 16, 2018

To Jane and Family,
Please accept our deepest condolences on the loss of your dear husband/father/grandfather.

Posted by Margaret and John Lucas - Rockland, MA - Friend   July 16, 2018

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