David Bowen

Sandi Zavalla, MaryKay Masolini Zaver, & Dave Bowen at the reunion at Willow Creek

Sandi Zavalla, MaryKay Masolini Zaver, & Dave Bowen at the Lincoln High Class of 1973 reunion at Willow Creek, Saturday, September 21, 2008

Sandy Zavalla woke up a morning or two ago to find her lifemate Dave Bowen in distress. She called an ambulance to take him to Mercy Hospital in Des Moines where they put him on a helicopter to Iowa City for surgery. The first news was that it was a heart attack but the later news was that it was an aneurism. It may have been a brain aneurism because I’m hearing that Dave suffered a bad stroke. His prognosis is just not good at all.

Dave and Sandy, both from the Class of 1973, were just partying with us last weekend at the reunion so this sad news comes as a big bolt out of the blue. Sandy is waiting with Dave at the University of Iowa hospital. Please direct your thoughts and prayers to help her and Dave through this terrible crisis. If you have been wanting to commit an extraordinary act of kindness, now is a good time to do it for Dave & Sandy.


Dave Bowen passed away about 5:30 PM today at the University of Iowa Hospital in Iowa City, Iowa, reports Becky Emerson Tollerud, Sandy’s friend, who was there.  He will be  driven back to Des Moines with a police escort tomorrow, Tuesday.  Arrangements will be made with the Hamilton Southtown Funeral Home at 5400 SW 9th Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50315.  Sandy is talking about a Thursday funeral, but she hasn’t set the date yet.

Once the arrangements are made, probably tomorrow afternoon, you’ll be able to get the details of the funeral by clicking on the Hamilton Southtown link above.  They will have a schedule of events you can search and a message board where you can send condolences online.  Of course, I’ll publish the details here, too.  You can also write your memories of Dave in the comments below this post.

The first account of Dave’s crisis was inaccurate.  Dave was working as a police officer Saturday afternoon  at the CW Dash at the Blank Park Zoo.  He suddenly felt unsteady and sat down on a park bench.  He became disoriented and didn’t know where he was.  He lost consciousness in the ambulance to Mercy and never woke up.  It was a massive stroke.


Hamilton’s has posted an obituary and sympathy page for Dave on their website which you can reach by clicking on this.  There is no obit yet and nobody has written their condolences yet, either.  That sounds like something you should do right now, doesn’t it?  So do it.

Mark Blunck, a friend of Dave’s since 5th grade, says Dave had been a Des Moines police officer for at least twenty years.  He was working on a Masters Degree in Public Administration. He and Sandy had dated for many years, quietly marrying this year.


Deb Dresback called the funeral home to find out that visitation will be from 12 noon until 8 PM, Thursday, October 2, at the Hamilton Southtown Funeral Home at 5400 SW 9th Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50315. The family will be there from 4 PM to 8 PM. The funeral follows on Friday morning, 11:30 AM, at Christ the King Catholic Parish, 5711 SW 9th Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50315-5006; Office: 515-285-2888.


Hamilton’s Funeral Home has posted Dave’s obituary here:

David Bowen

David Bowen

David A. Bowen, 53, died September 29th, 2008 from complications following a stroke while working for the Des Moines Police Department on Saturday, September 27th. Mass of Christian Burial will be 11:30 am Friday, October 3rd at Christ the King Catholic Church with burial following at Sunset Memorial Gardens. Public visitation will be from 12-8 pm Thursday at Hamilton’s Southtown Funeral Home with family present from 4-8 pm.

Dave was born June 6th, 1955 in Des Moines to Chris and Charlotte Bowen. He graduated from Lincoln High School in 1973 and served in the United States Army, honorably discharging in 1976.

Dave joined the Des Moines Police Department on June 6th, 1977 where he was assigned as an officer to the Uniform Patrol and Criminal Investigation Divisions. He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 1993 and was assigned to the Communication Section, Narcotics Unit, Uniform Patrol and the Traffic Unit. In 2005 Dave was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant, serving in the Office of Professional Standard, Metro Star, and the Traffic Unit. Throughout his 31 year career, Dave was recognized with numerous commendations.

Dave continued his education, graduating with honors in 2000 from Upper Iowa University where he earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Law Enforcement. In 2003, he earned his Masters Degree in Public Administration with honors from Drake University. In December, 2007 he completed the School of Police Staff and Command at Northwestern University.

Dave is survived by his loving wife, Sandi (Zavalla) who share three loving children, Darla (Reggie) Blackwell of Topeka KS, Melanie Cox of Grimes and Jay (Jonnalyn) DuBois of Urbandale; they are blessed with six grandchildren, Paisley, Devin, Jordan, Nate, Jaden & Ethan; his brothers, Gary (Karon), Chris and Steve (Yvonne) Bowen all of Des Moines; his sister, Karen (David) Perry of Jefferson; sixteen nieces and nephews; numerous aunts and uncles and his maltese, Lexus.

Dave was preceded in death by parents Chris and Charlotte, and his sister Elaine.

Memorial Contributions may be made to the Des Moines Police Burial Association.

Dave Bowen & Sandi Zavalla at the 2003 reunion at Willow Creek

Dave Bowen & Sandi Zavalla at the 2003 reunion at Willow Creek



20 Responses to “David Bowen”

  1. Loretta Rizzuti Says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with you. My rosary beads are a constant reminder that life is short. Please let me know if I can do anything. Love, Loretta

  2. Ann (Hartman) Williams Says:

    Sandy, I’m in terrible distress about this, please let me know if there is anything I can do. If you need someone to talk to, I am here for you. I’m saying all kinds of prayers for both of you. My best regards, dear friend.

  3. Jo (Jodi Tedesco) Schwerzler Says:

    Dave & Sandy,

    I’m in shock I just can’t believe this news…Please know if you need any help I’m here for the both of you! I’ve known Dave since grade school -oh I just can’t wrap my mind around this.

    My prayers are yours!

  4. Dale Valenti Says:

    Wow, and David looked so good the other night. Our thoughts and prayers are with you Sandy.

  5. Tom Comiskey Says:

    Dave always looked like the picture of health — we were talking at the reunion and he told me he was still working out quite a bit.
    “Horrible” is not a strong enough word to describe this tragedy.

  6. Sharon Pascuzzi Gatto Says:


    Our prayers are with you for strength during this difficult time. We pray Dave is in heaven watching our for you and your family.

    God Bless and be strong.

  7. Anna Maldonado Stallard Says:

    Sandy, My thoughts and prayers are with you at this very sad time. I am so thankful to have been able to spend some time talking to Dave about the good old days. This is so hard to believe. How lucky the class of 73′ was to be together again in his presence.

  8. Ronda Billings Gentosi Says:

    I’m in shock. I talked to Dave at length on Saturday night. I can’t imagine how you are coping right now. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  9. Dee McCoy Davis Says:

    My thoughts are with you Sandy. Having lost my husband suddenly I know only too well what you are going through. Please know that I am praying for you and will continue to uphold you in the coming days. Allow your wonderful memories to give you comfort when nothing else will. Give yourself the freedom to mourn in whatever ways you need to. My best advice would be to realize that people don’t always know what to say and be a good forgiver if their words hurt. Hopefully that won’t happen. Dee McCoy Davis

  10. Deb Swanson Dresback Says:

    I have no words to describe the feeling of numbness I had when I heard..I am just sick..Dave was a wonderful friend and classmate.He and Sandi and I go way back..We enjoyed their company at our monthly out to eat parties,and our class reunions.We were all just together a week ago,laughing,and having so much fun.We know what a week can mean.We are all grieving the loss of a wonderful friend and classmate.
    Sandi,we love you..Dave..You know we love you too.
    Prayers,and Love

  11. Deb Swanson Dresback Says:

    From The Reunion Committee..We send our love and prayers out to Sandi,and the Bowen family.We have all had a great loss,and we mourn with you.We all loved Dave,and Sandi.They were always at class events.
    We will miss this friend,and classmate.

    Lincoln Class Of 1973…Together Always..

  12. Carolyne Harper Budgell Says:


    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Your memories, family and friends will help you through this tremendous loss.

  13. Jill Hoffman Reynolds Says:

    Dear Sandy,

    Quite honestly, I only knew the two of you by sight. I wanted you and your family to know how very sorry I am. You will all be in my thoughts and prayers now and for all the days in front of you. Please don’t hesitate to call on any class members for anything–we’re all a great bunch of caring people.

    Most sincerely—Jill Hoffman Reynolds

  14. Gayle Mitchell Fawkes Says:

    Dear Sandy,
    I did not have the good fortune to see you, Dave and everyone else at the class reunion but I am so sorry for your loss. Maybe you can take comfort in the fact that you did just attend the reunion and you and Dave got to have a good time and share great memories. Memories are what it is all about now. My sympathies to you and your family. Love Gayle Mitchell

  15. jane,curt brookhart Says:

    dear sandy
    curt and i want would like say how sorry we truly are. when the e-mail came from judy bradshaw curt was shocked he just talked to dave at the station. what a lose. he was a great friend to curt, he will truly be missed by all in des moines, he loved his job and was great at it. sandy i dont know you very well but i feel for you. let the brother hood keep you strong. just know you can call any one at any time. memories live on forever. our sympathies to you and your family. curt and jane brookhart

  16. Mark Blunck Says:

    Dear Sandy,
    I was absolutely stunned when I heard about this over the weekend. Like others, I can’t even comprehend this happening, and no words can describe how this is so trying for you and all of us who knew Dave. He and I met at Granger Elementary and then to Weeks. He was the kindest and gentlest person I’ve ever met. Between reunions, I would catch up on what was going on with him through his brother Gary at The Pub every Christmas. Gary always spoke very proudly about his brother’s accomplishments. This is one of those indelible moments in life that we will remember forever and feel honored that we were in the presence of a great and caring person. I will miss him dearly and please know that you have a huge group of friends and classmates that you can rely on at a moments notice. Love, Mark.

  17. Deb Swanson-Dresback Says:

    If this is any comfort,my phones,have went crazy the past few days..All
    classmates from all over,calling.shocked,on hearing the news..I have had calls from California,Tennessee,Arizona,Texas,reaching out for comfort in this terrible nightmare.However,the first question asked by each classmate is”How is Sandi”What,can we do for her”?
    If there is anything we can do,anytime,call,e mail,your classmates,and Daves are here,and we are totally grieving with you.

    With Love From Us All
    The Class Of 1973 “Always Together”..

  18. Vicki Collings Says:

    Sandi, I was so shocked and saddened to hear of Dave’s passing since I just saw him at the reunion. Although I don’t know you, I wanted to pass on some comments that will hopefully be of some comfort to you. A friend of mine who works for the Police Department told me that she could not think of anyone in the entire Police Department that would ever have one bad word to say about Dave. She also told me what really impressed her about Dave was the fact that whenever she saw him at the station, he always greeted her and remembered her name and that he was one of the nicest men she had ever met. I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this very sad time.

    Vicki Collings (Class of 1973)

  19. Sandi Zavalla Says:

    Thank You everyone for your kind thoughts and prayers. ….Dave was the love of my life – my best friend, my soulmate. He was a wonderful husband and let me be the best I can be. He accepted & loved me for who I am. He gave me everything I wanted/needed, only if I could, I would give everything I have just to have him back again. I’m devastated and know my life will never be the same.

    The funeral service was beautiful today & it was a perfect sunny day at Sunset Cemetary. Dave deserved the flawless & perfectly orchestrated military funeral. It was absolutely breathtaking! There was at least one officer saluting at each street on the way from Christ the King to the cemetary. The bagpipe, planes flying overhead, 21 gun salute, & the honorguards —stunning. I was presented with the Amercan flag.

    400+ people came to the visitation last night was overwhelming to say the least. Thanks to those of you who came. Everyone told me Dave was a fabulous person, (tho I already knew that)….

    Thanks again – just wanted to give you all an update. Keep praying for me, I will need the strenght to carry me through the days ahead.

  20. Sherry Gamble Cooper Says:

    I am so sorry to hear about Dave’s passing. My heart goes out to you for the loss of your husband, lover, companion, father to your children, and your best friend. I pray that in time, the hurt will fade and you have nothing but fond memories and embrace the loving relationship that Dave shared with you and your children. We will miss Dave, like so many others that we knew at Lincoln that are no longer with us, but none of us will truely know the void and emptiness you must be feeling. We care..we love you!

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