A local beloved Red Deer teacher and popular education blogger died suddenly over the weekend.
According to his sister who posted on facebook, Joe Bower, 37, suffered a heart attack last week. Since his death, online tributes have been pouring in including some from Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark, former Premier Dave Hancock, Liberal MP Kent Hehr and former PC Cabinet Minister Thomas Lukaszuk.
According to the Alberta Party web site, Bower was a fifth generation Albertan whose family has farmed in the Red Deer area for over 100 years. He wrote, “I live east of Red Deer on our family farm with my wife Tamara and children Kayley and Sawyer. I have taught for 15 years in Red Deer which includes mostly middle school (Grades 6 and 8) and four years teaching in a children’s’ inpatient psychiatric assessment unit. This year I am teaching Grade 6 and 8 language arts and social studies.”
On the web site he added he is an author and speaker on a variety of topics related to education and has a strong social media presence on his blog www.joebower.org and on Twitter @joe_bower.
On Monday, Red Deer Public Schools issued a statement regarding Bower’s death.
“Joe joined the staff of Red Deer Public Schools as a teacher in 2000 and taught in several of our schools, most recently teaching in our Alternative School Programs,” said Bruce Buruma, community relations for the Red Deer Public School District. “Joe was a passionate and committed educator who was a strong advocate for students and teachers. His education related blogs and twitter account garnered international attention.
“Joe will be deeply missed, however, he will be fondly remembered and his legacy will endure. Our District sends our prayers and positive thoughts to Joe’s family at this difficult time.”
In addition Bower’s sister, Jennifer Bower-Hannotte wrote a tribute to her brother on facebook.
“Today we lost a great man, a husband, father, son, brother, cousin, nephew, friend, and educator. A passionate man who was committed to creating a better world. Joe Bower’s passion will be his legacy. He has touched the lives of so many and I am honoured to have him as my big brother. The outpouring of love and support has meant the world to us. Keep sharing your stories and keep Joe in your heart today and always,” she wrote.
In Bower’s last blog post on Dec. 17th he stated, “The most important things that children learn in school are not easily measured. The most meaningful things in life may, in fact, be immeasurable.”