At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
To the family to help with funeral expenses
1833 Plainfield Ave NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
Please make checks payable to "Heritage Funeral Service".
Life Story / Obituary
With signature style, David Bowler was stubborn and kind, loyal and courageous, persistent and resourceful. Despite the odds, David’s tenacious will to thrive and live an independent life fueled a lifetime of conquering the improbable. A natural people person, David made friends easily and truly loved to share their good company. He treasured his family and fondly celebrated his connections with each of his relatives. Dave’s kind heart, insatiable curiosity, and unflinching support of others will long inspire those who were blessed to share their lives with him. With us far too briefly, Dave leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that his loved ones will forever hold dear to their hearts.
America at large was prospering in the ’90s. During this final decade of the 20th Century The United States economy grew by an average of 4 percent per year between 1992 and 1999, an average of 1.7 million jobs a year were added to the American workforce, and the unemployment rate dropped to 4 percent, and the median American household income grew by 10 percent. It was a decade of much good news and astounding new achievement including the collapse of The Soviet Empire, the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa, The civil wars in the former Yugoslavia ended and China reformed its economy, tripling its gross domestic product and easing its way into the world order. The quality of entertainment dramatically improved and creative brilliance shined in our homes in the likes of Harry Potter, Seinfeld, The Simpsons, Friends, and NYPD Blue. Pixar resurrected animation with Toy Story while the digital age boomed with the mainstreaming of the Internet, digital phones, 3-D games, and affordable laptops. Peace and Prosperity were the order of the day, and American culture was vibrant and healthy as well. Locally, life’s good fortunes shined especially brightly for David Bowler and Pamela Geney as they proudly welcomed their son David Allen on July 30, 1992.
Born with cystic hygroma, David endured more challenges than most could ever imagine. Many surgeries were required over the years to help alleviate the difficulties caused by the disease. Speech was hindered by the necessary tracheotomy, and he was told he’d never be able to eat solid foods. Fortunately, after several surgeries, Dave was able to devour his beloved cheeseburgers, steaks, and Doritos. David possessed an insistent curiosity that drove his determination. As a toddler, he frequently pulled his crib along the wall to be able to see outside of his room. As he grew older, Dave frequently tore things apart. Though he couldn’t always put them back together, his need to figure out how things worked never deterred him from trying. Dave loved to be outside and as a young boy was almost always dirty. He loved to play in the dirt or anything else that created a good grunge. David was only too aware of how he was different, but he was determined not to be. David often responded to life’s challenges with great emotion and fierce stubbornness; he also had a great sense of humor. He loved to joke around and inspire other people’s laughter.
Nothing meant more to David than his family. The youngest of four, Dave enjoyed the good company of his older siblings, Amy, Dan, and Sarah. He cherished his many aunts, uncles, and cousins and frequently pointed out their similarities. He was proud to have his father’s eye color and the shape of his mother’s eyes. Dave especially enjoyed the many fishing and camping adventures he and his family shared.
One of Dave’s most heartbreaking challenges came when he was only 10, and his father died. Though he never forgot his father, Dave was lucky to have another “dad” in Mark Ensley. Mark and Dave shared a love of cars and often spent time together under the hood working out a solid diagnosis and creating the perfect fix. Many a family member and friend benefitted from their teamwork through the years.
Growing up on the Northeast side of Grand Rapids, David attended Ken-O-Sha Elementary school. His high school years were spent at Creston High school and Kent Career Technical Center where he learned mechanics. Dave’s gregarious personality helped him make friends easily. Outgoing and likable, his magnetism attracted a wide circle of friends. Though he loved good classic rock, rap music, and the freedom that came with learning to drive, Dave truly enjoyed nothing more than hanging out with his friends. Whether working on their cars, fixing their computers, or grabbing a burger, Dave appreciated sharing time with those he knew best. He was especially grateful for his special connection with Ceairea Likely and her daughter Trinity. Without a doubt, Dave’s friends knew they could count on his unwavering support and undauntable loyalty.
Dave’s latest venture was working on his father’s old house. The house afforded him the opportunity to continue to take things apart, figure out how they worked, create viable solutions, and build things even better. It was while passionately working on the house that Dave died from complications of Cystic hygroma. Clearly, Dave’s sudden departure leaves us stunned and saddened. May we find comfort in our many sweet memories of the man we knew as Dave, Dave Dave, or Junior; the man who embodied courage, kindness, and perseverance; the man who defied the odds over and over again; and the man who embraced each of us as a gift. May we carry Dave's inspiring legacy of courage, tenacity, kindness, and love forward in each of our lives assuring that his bright light continues to shine.
David A. Bowler Jr. age 24 of Grand Rapids, passed away May 6, 2017. He was preceded in death by his father, David Bowler Sr.; grandparents Richard Geney, Francis Bowler, Beatrice Wheeler (Hilliker), John and Angie Ensley; uncle Steve Geney; and Aunt Lorrie Hilliker. Dave is survived by his mother and step-father Pam Geney and Mark Ensley; grandmother Marilyn Geney, sisters and brother Amy Brundidge, Dan Brundidge and Sarah (Nicholas Magniapani) Bowler; step-sister Erin (Russ) Lyons; significant friend Ceairea Likely and her daughter Trinity; aunts and uncles Sue Bynum, Terri Geney, Cynthia (Keith) Parney, Christina (Ken) Novakowski, Gloria Bowler, Janice Bowler, Judy Bowler, Mary Knight, Pamela Mayberry, Ev (Jim) Keopsell, Jack (Diane) Ensley, Mike (Jennifer) Downer, Shawn Ensley, Blain (Sarah) Ensley; nieces and nephew Shay Sees, Devin Brundidge and Adriann Taylor as well as cousins and many friends. The service to remember and celebrate David's life will be held on Monday, May 15 at 7 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home - Van Strien Creston Chapel, 1833 Plainfield Ave NE where friends may visit with his family from 6 PM until the service. For those who wish, memorial contributions may be made to Dave's family to help with his final expenses. To read more about Dave, to share a favorite thought or memory, or to sign his guestbook, visit www.lifestorynet.com