HENRICO—Barbara Smith “Jo” Bowles, 94, passed peacefully at The Laurels at University Park, Henrico, on Monday, November 21, 2022, after spending two years living with family in Hanover County.
Jo was born on September 6, 1928, to Ervin S. and Ada W. Smith in Clarksburg, West Virginia. After graduating from Oakland High School in Western Maryland in 1946, she went on to study education at the State Teachers College, now Frostburg State University, in Maryland.
She soon began teaching fourth and fifth graders in Cumberland County, Maryland, until the spring of 1951. On November 17, 1951, she married John R. Bowles Jr. of Macon, Georgia, and began her adventures raising five sons, four of whom became Eagle Scouts. Jo and John settled in Roanoke, where they began their family.
In 1961, the family moved to Richmond and in 1968 Jo returned to teaching at Dumbarton Elementary School in Henrico County. She taught second and fourth grades until her retirement in 1989. John and Jo moved to Reedville soon after her retirement, and she spent the next 31 years at her riverside home.
Jo will be remembered as an accomplished pianist and organist. She also loved to feed and entertain guests using her excellent cooking and baking skills. She loved playing bridge and Mexican Train Dominoes with friends and family.
Jo and John enjoyed participating in Acca Temple Shrine Motor Patrol activities, including dances, picnics, parades and travel.
It was said that Jo was the “kindest person you would ever meet,” an attribute that she inherited honestly from her dear mother.
She was preceded in death by her loving husband of 63 years, John R. Bowles Jr.; and by her eldest son, John R. “Johnny” Bowles III.
She is survived by one brother, Douglas Smith, of Vienna; loving sons, Tom (Karen), Mark, Steve (Wendy) and Dave (Cheryl), all in the Richmond area; nine grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.
Funeral services were held at 2 p.m. Monday, November 28, at the West Chapel of Bennett Funeral Home, 11020 West Broad Street, Glen Allen. The family received friends at 1 p.m. Interment was private.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations in her name to Shriners Hospitals for Children, or to another charity of choice.