Bigfork Player Who Collapsed at Practice Memorialized

By Beacon Staff

BIGFORK (AP) – A Bigfork High School student who collapsed on the first day of football practice and died a week later was remembered Tuesday as an avid reader who enjoyed fly fishing and other outdoor activities.

Jeffrey Bowman moved to Bigfork from Denver just a few months ago, and had only spent one semester at Bigfork High School.

“I wish you could have gotten to know him like I did,” his older brother Alex told Bowman’s teammates and about 200 people at the memorial service. “He had so much life in him. You just had to know him, and you had to be there every step of the way to do that.”

Jeffrey Bowman, 17, apparently went into cardiac arrest during football practice on Aug. 13 and died on Aug. 20, after briefly coming out of a medically induced coma.

Bowman’s mother, Troy, told Pastor Hal Curtiss at CrossRoads Christian Fellowship that Jeffrey was the primary push behind the decision to move to Bigfork, and that she had never seen her son so happy as he was the last months of his life.

He threw himself into his schoolwork, especially literature, and added fly-fishing to the mountains of outdoor activities he loved, from rock climbing to kayaking.

English teacher Mary Sullivan said Bowman devoured books like they were chocolate.

“Kurt Vonnegut and Hunter S. Thompson were probably his favorite authors, but he didn’t limit himself,” Sullivan said. “When his mother entered his room the day after he collapsed, the book he’d been reading that she found on his bed was by the German philosopher Nietzsche.”

During a video slide presentation of Bowman’s life at the service, there were several pictures of him and his brother in football uniforms, including one with former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway with his arms around the pair.

Bigfork opens its football season at home Friday against Hamilton.

Bob and Troy Bowman will take their son’s body to Denver for a funeral Sept. 6. He will be buried the next day at Estes Park, Colo., on what would have been his 18th birthday.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.