Obit: Monte Bowthorpe

[Courtesy Photo]

Sometimes life produces a most unique and wonderful person. His name was Monte A. Bowthorpe. Monte was born on Sept. 15, 1942, to “Bud” (Anders Warren) and Donna Day Bowthorpe in Murray, Utah.

Monte was the fourth of five children. His siblings are Donald “Donnie” Warren Bowthorpe; John Kent Bowthorpe (spouse Carol) of Highland, Illinois; Kathleen Bowthorpe Shields of Moab, Utah (spouse Darvin, deceased); and youngest sister, Marianne Bowthorpe Pipkin (spouse Roy) of Spearman, Texas.

When he was 12, Monte moved to Moab from Holladay, with his dad pulling a 40-foot house trailer. It was quite hairy around the curves when they were coming through the Moab canyon. That road today is a bike and hike track on the north side of Moab.

After arriving in Moab around 1954, when there were more tents than there were houses or trailers, the Bowthorpe family first lived in the Shady Rest Trailer Park, located 3 blocks up from the old Moab High School. Monte laughingly remembered that the trailer park was where he met his first girlfriend, Ruth Avrette. The family later moved behind his aunt, Mag Taylor.

In December 1959, at the ripe old age of 17, Monte entered the Navy standing just 5’4” and only 114 lbs. He got his GED in the Navy and grew to 6 feet tall in one year. A tall string bean sailor, he was.

After boot camp in 1960, Monte boarded the USS Conquest, MSO 488, a wooden minesweeper. That was his ideal assignment because, in spite of living among the red rocks, Monte absolutely loved the ocean and never got seasick. Thus, he was frequently assigned by the ship executive officer to be the helmsman (which means manning the steering wheel). He also manned the 30 caliber machine guns, small arms, and 250 calibers.

The ship spent a lot of time near Da Nang or Saigon, Vietnam. Unfortunately, it was there he was exposed to Agent Orange while getting the mail on land, twice a week. But Monte made a lot of good friends on the ship of 75 men. He was honorably discharged in September 1963, just two days before his 21st birthday. Monte spent a few years motorcycling around the country. He even had a chance to join the Hells Angels in California. But true to his kind and wise nature, he refused to do a harmful initiation.

Monte married his first wife, Phyllis Stoval of Moab, around 1965 in Kingman, Arizona. Monte and Phyllis ended up having three children: Leland Kent Bowthorpe of Grand Junction, Dalena Jean Bowthorpe of Moab, and Lisa Annette Bowthorpe of Grand Junction. Monte spent a few years as a cross-country truck driver and learned to trap animals to feed his family and to earn extra income. The couple divorced around 1989.

In 1976, Monte had the unfortunate experience of being crushed while around 3000 feet underground at the Rio Algom mine in Lisbon Valley, which caused extensive injuries that ended his mining career and put him in a wheelchair, from which he moved to a walker, to a cane, then normal walking in spite of frequent back pain for the rest of his life. There were several years he and the family lived in Castle Valley.

Monte spent a total of 7 interesting years with Marlboro (Philip Morris USA) being in videos and riding. He also did a lot of traveling, which included Ecuador plus Egypt/Israel (and Switzerland along the way).

In 1996, while on an archaeological dig in Show Low, Arizona, with his granddaughter Ashley Pedersen (Oliver), Monte met Janie Lynn Alexander, the love of his life. And Monte was the love of her life. They married in January of 1997. The couple went on several more archaeological digs, sharing a love of archaeology throughout their 25-year marriage. Monte and his wife lived in Moab, then Florence, Colorado, where they owned an antique store; and then spent a few years in Fredericksburg, Texas, near where Monte owned a ranch. They then moved north of Cortez, Colorado, where they bought land where an Anasazi ruin was located. This ruin was excavated by Fort Lewis College for two seasons. Finally, as Monte needed better healthcare, they moved to paradise: Estes Park, Colorado. As an avid lover of animals, for two years it was a dream come true for this wonderful man, as Estes Park is full of elk, moose, bear, squirrels and more.

Beloved grandchildren include Ashley Bowthorpe Oliver, Deedee Pedersen Powers, Tiffani Pedersen Allred, Monte Christensen, and Emma Christensen (deceased). There is also Warren Bowthorpe, Zander Bowthorpe, and Valerie Olsen. There are many beloved great-grandchildren, as well as many cousins and friends who adored him.

Monte spent the last year of his life being miserable from the effects of his Agent Orange exposure decades before. Agent Orange sucks. But he was deeply loved and taken care of by his wife and had many loving phone or internet interactions with his older brother Kent and sister Kathy, his children and grandchildren, and friends like Mike Down and more.

You will be sorely missed, Monte Bowthorpe.