Edward Thomas Bowe, M.D., was born on May 12, 1930, and lived in the Bronx with his parents, Letty nee Tate and Edward T. Bowe Jr., and his elder sister Dorothy. He fell in love with music and developed a talent for wind instruments while still in his teens. It wasn’t long after graduation from Cardinal Hayes High School that he caught the attention of renowned jazz musician Louis Prima. Soon young Ed Bowe was touring the country, playing saxophone and clarinet in one of the era’s greatest bands.
This career turned abruptly when, during the Korean War, Ed was drafted into the Army. He was trained to teach field and radio repair and posted to Germany. Once there, he began to study and play the oboe, an avocation from which he would never waver. During off hours he could be heard sitting in with local jazz combos. Eventually, through luck and talent, he was granted a transfer to an Army band, where he remained until his discharge.
The GI Bill allowed Ed to enroll in pre-med at Columbia College, graduating in 1957. He received his M.D. in 1961 from the College of Physicians & Surgeons at Columbia University. After an internship at Upstate Medical Center, Dr. Bowe returned to New York City for a residency in obstetrics & gynecology at Sloane Hospital for Women at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center.
From his first days as an M.D., Dr. Bowe was actively involved with perinatal research and treatment innovations, including fetal monitoring and blood sampling, and the development of RHO (D) immunoglobulin to fight Rh disease. He took great joy in teaching and mentoring medical students and residents and was an early and staunch advocate of midwives as colleagues in every aspect of OB/GYN practice.
Dr. Bowe rose to become professor emeritus of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons. He earned a reputation as a perinatologist of the first rank over his 40-ycar practice, performing high-risk obstetrics and gynecology until his retirement in 2001. During this same period he devoted himself passionately to music, playing his oboe in orchestras and chamber music ensembles from New York City to Bennington, Vt.
Dr. Bowe died peacefully on March 26, 2011, following a lengthy struggle with cancer. He will be mourned as the beloved husband of CarolSue and devoted father of Deirdre, Daphne, Ashton, Christopher, and Cordelia.
In addition to his wife and children from his first marriage, Dr. Bowe will be missed by his children’s spouses and many adoring grandchildren. No doubt he will be remembered with love and gratitude by thousands of mothers, whose healthy babies he delivered with great skill, devotion, and compassion. This is his legacy.