Paul D. Bowers Jr.

November 4, 1931 ~ February 1, 2018 (age 86)

Paul Duane Bowers, Jr. FAIA, died on February 1, 2018 from a lengthy bout with Alzheimer’s followed by a stroke in early January. “I am proud of and loved the family that I leave behind, Susan Breese Bowers, my wife of 33 years, my children and grandchildren: Paula Bowers, Avery and Skylar Grant, Cassandra Bowers, Alex, Paul and John Gezon, Scott Bowers (Susie), Erin, Scott Jr., Kara, Maddie and Nicholas Bowers, Arlene Early (Brent), Chloe, Weston and Ysobel Early, Julie Goodyke (Thom), Sawyer and Parker Goodyke, Tracy Ryan Wysockey (Michael), Harry, Suzy, Beau and Livy Wysockey, Kelly Ryan Bonaccorsi (James), Riley and Stevie Bonaccorsi, Meredith Ryan Bennett (David), Ryan, Katy and Charlie Reid. Those that preceded me in death: my late wife of 32 years, Mary Jean Bowers (MJ), father Paul D. Bowers, mother Arlene Thomas Bowers, and sisters Carol and Barbara of Akron, OH.” Paul is survived by brothers Jim (Elaine) in Akron and Tom (Lorena) in Mexico. “My life’s most important achievement, in partnership with Susan and Mary Jean, was raising eight children, all graduates from U of M, MSU, IU, Xavier and Kendall, and productive members of society today.” Born November 4, 1931 in Canton, OH, Paul grew up in Memphis, and graduated from the University of Illinois.

As an architect, he spent two years as an officer in the United States Army Corps of Engineers in Washington, DC, before surveying the US and picking Grand Rapids for his family home in 1957.  In 1960 he co-founded an architectural firm that would become the WBDC Group, an Architectural, Engineering, Planning and Interiors firm. In thirty-one years of practice, the firm designed two thousand projects worth two billion construction dollars. Some of the firm’s most important projects are Steelcase Corporate Headquarters and Pyramid, 1970 master plan for downtown Grand Rapids, Van Andel Public Museum, Campau Square Building, Porter Hills Presbyterian Village, Applied Technology Center and Student Center at GRCC, seventy five Meijer Stores, multiple projects at Butterworth and Blodgett Hospital, Standard Federal Bank in Troy, MI and Nissan Corporate Development Center in Farmington Hills. In 1969 he co-founded and designed Grand Valley Nursing Center, a 171 bed skilled nursing center in Grand Rapids, later to become a part of Spectrum Health. “I am proud of helping develop the local economy by providing over four thousand seven hundred person-years of work for citizens of Grand Rapids during my career.” Commensurate with his career, Paul served the architectural profession as President of AIA Michigan and was a Director on the National AIA Board. He received the Gold Medal, AIA Michigan’s highest award, and was elected to Fellowship in the National AIA, a selective group of the country’s most outstanding architects. He served as a Director on several boards: Greater Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, Butterworth Hospital, Dwelling Place, First Michigan Bank, and Plaza Towers condominium association. Paul was an Elder and former Trustee of Westminster Presbyterian Church, a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary, a former member of Kent Country Club and The University Club. 

Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of your choice or to In the Image, a volunteer-run center for clothing, furniture, household goods, free of charge for those in need. Their address is 1823 South Division Ave., Grand Rapids, MI. 49507 Memorial service will be held Tuesday, February 6, 2pm. At Westminster Presbyterian Church, 47 Jefferson Avenue, Grand Rapids, MI.


Donations may be made to:

In The Image
1823 Division Ave. S., Grand Rapids MI 49507
Tel: 1-616-456-6150

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