Tribute: Robert Geoffrey Bowden (1946–2021)

Robert Geoffrey Bowden — Geoff — was born into a pharmaceutical family in Plymouth, Devon, in 1946. Educated at Plymouth College, Geoff gained his degree at Bath University in 1969 and returned to Plymouth to work for the Plymouth and South Devon Co-operative Society group of pharmacies. He worked diligently, but used his free time for surfing, and every other sport he could fit in.

Geoff rose through the ranks to become deputy superintendent of the group of 18 pharmacies. He met Ailsa in 1985 when he “came alive” and married in his 40th year of bachelorhood. They had a glorious marriage, travelling extensively to visit a project or an event, which Geoff had meticulously researched. Always happy in each other’s company.

After 15 years of practise and failures, their millennium miracle son, Rory, was born to everyone’s delight! Life changed for the better, and this besotted father devoted all his free time to becoming the best father one could have. The happy couple packed every hour into equipping Rory with knowledge of every sporting pursuit, until Ailsa contracted meningitis, and Geoff took early retirement aged 60 years, to become a full-time father.  

Throughout Rory’s schooling, Geoff took up archaeology, becoming a volunteer digger at many sites, preferably Roman, and loved to research historical sites, caves and priories. He also took up model plane building and flying during winter months. Geoff’s love of music, together with Rory’s amazing sense of rhythm, led to many jamming sessions with drums and guitars, even enjoying attending heavy metal gigs together. Geoff was thrilled when Rory went to Falmouth University to pursue a career, gaining a degree in Technical Theatre Arts, and was convinced of a great future in the entertainment industry (after COVID-19).

He was proud to recently receive an award for having been a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society for 51 years. Geoff and Rory had their first surf of the season to celebrate Rory’s 21st birthday, then Geoff finally began to slow down. He died peacefully in his sleep on 17 June 2021, after a heart attack.  

Geoff was a kind, caring, happy, fun-loving, amiable, reliable, diligent, dependable, professional person, who gathered friends from every walk of life and was well respected by all. My beloved husband, and Rory’s amazing father, died a happy man, having achieved 75 years of an action-packed life. We will continue to ‘fly your flag’ and love you forever.

Ailsa Bowden

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, July 2021, Vol 307, No 7951;307(7951)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2021.1.96664

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