Former Goddard High School teacher and Kansas House Representative Rick Bowden died in a farm accident last week near Waverly, Neb. Bowden was 66.
According to information published in the Lincoln Journal Star, Bowden was found beneath a riding lawnmower. The newspaper reported that Bowden’s body was found beneath the mower in a building. It appeared a plastic toolbox blew off a shelf onto the mower, which caused to mower to fall on Bowden. Relatives discovered Bowden after he failed to show up for dinner.
Bowden was a teacher and coach at both Goddard and Wichita West High Schools, as well as the Downtown Law, Public and Social Service Magnet High School in Wichita. He represented the local area in the Kansas House of Representatives from 1985 to 1993.
Bowden then moved to Topeka to work for the Kansas State High School Activities Association. He served as assistant executive director and was the state’s chief administrator for football, wrestling, baseball, softball, and track and field. He worked for KSHSAA for 18 years and retired in 2011.
Bob Morgan knew Bowden since 1980, teaching with him at Goddard High School.
“He was very committed to kids and education. He was a good role model and an excellent track coach,” Morgan said. “He helped me learned about track and how to coach the kids.”
Morgan added that Bowden took his role in the Kansas Legislature very seriously. Bowden chaired the committee that rewrote the state’s school finance laws that attempted to balance out the way Kansas financed large and small districts.
Current Goddard Board of Education member Ruth Wood taught at Goddard Middle School and coached with Bowden. She said he was very focused on youth.
“He was just a great guy, a great example for the kids he taught and coached,” she said. “He lived his faith and was a true public servant.”
Funeral services were held on Tuesday, Oct. 1, at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Topeka. Bowden is survived by his wife, Sue, and two daughters and four grandchildren.