Jeff Bowden, outdoor enthusiast and coach who ‘lived life to fullest,’ dies at 55

ENOCH — Memorial services are scheduled for this coming weekend for Jeff Bowden, who died in a recent fall while canyoneering in Southern Utah. He was 55.

Jeff Bowden with one of his grandchildren, date and location not specified. | Photo courtesy of Merrit Bowden, St. George News / Cedar City News

Bowden’s sudden death has prompted tributes and remembrances from family members, friends and colleagues, in addition to athletes he’d coached.

According to a news release from the Kane County Sheriff’s Office, Bowden had been rappelling with a friend the afternoon of April 25 in an area just east of Zion National Park when he fell approximately 20 feet, causing fatal injuries. Bowden’s friend hiked out several miles from the remote area and called 911 later that evening.

On April 27, just two days after his death, the players and coaches of Canyon View High School’s boys soccer team paid tribute to Bowden during the team’s final regular-season game. The Falcons all wore white armbands in memory of Bowden, who’d been one of the team’s assistant coaches for more than a decade.

Right before the game began, the players on both Canyon View and Cedar’s squads knelt at midfield and observed a moment of silence in Bowden’s memory, with the coaches, officials and fans also taking part.

After the game, former Canyon View head coach Spencer Davis, who’d coached alongside Bowden for 10 years, spoke of his many contributions to the program.

A framed portrait of Jeff Bowden stands on an easel at midfield during Canyon View boys soccer game vs. Cedar, Cedar City, Utah, April 27, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

“Jeff was a huge part of building our soccer program,” Davis said. “He worked with our incoming freshmen and quickly got them up to speed.”

Davis noted that Bowden had coached various sports throughout his entire adult life, including youth soccer, Little League baseball and youth football.

“Whatever his kids wanted to play, he’d be the first in line to volunteer in giving them the best experience possible,” Davis added. “Jeff had a great love for life. When he wasn’t coaching sports, he was teaching others to ski or hiking and exploring the backcountry of this beautiful state.”

Bowden worked a wide variety of jobs over the years, including electrical contractor, database manager for an automatic teller machine company and ski instructor. He even did stints as a rodeo clown and a haunted house designer.

Most recently, he was employed by Canyon Media as an advertising sales representative for Cedar City News.

“Jeff was our superstar sales guy in Cedar City,” said Brent Rowe, director of sales for Canyon Media.

Jeff Bowden snowmobiling, date and location not specified. | Photo courtesy of Merrit Bowden, St. George News / Cedar City News

“For years, we have tried to find the perfect fit for our Cedar City sales team, and we finally found it in Jeff,” Rowe added. “From the time he hired on, he rolled up his sleeves and went to work. He fit right in with the rest of our sales team, was always good for a laugh during our sales meetings and was loved by his clients. We will be forever grateful for the impact he made on Cedar City News and Canyon Media in Cedar.”

Also known for his creative talents, Bowden designed the distinctive shield logo used by the Canyon View High soccer team. He also enjoyed taking photographs and could play the piano by ear.

Most of all, he loved playing outdoors, his wife noted.

“It was always one adventure to the next,” Merrit Bowden said. “He just lived life to the fullest and wanted to be outdoors as much as possible.”

In addition to his wife, Jeff Bowden is survived by their three children and two grandchildren, along with his parents and numerous other relatives and loved ones. To see his full obituary, click here.

A graveside service for Bowden is scheduled for Friday at the cemetery in Milo, Idaho.

A celebration of life will then take place Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Enoch LDS Stake Center, 2233 East Village Green Road.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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