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Jane Ralston Bowles

November 20, 2022 at 12:00 a.m.
Jane Ralston Bowles

Jane Ralston Bowles, age 77, died peacefully at home in Dallas, Texas, on Thursday, November 3, 2022. Janie was born on May 30, 1945, in Englewood, New Jersey. She was the second of three children and only daughter of Jesse G. Ralston and Miriam Belle (Penny) Ralston. Raised in El Dorado, Arkansas, Janie attended El Dorado High School (Class of 1963) and Vanderbilt University (Class of 1967), where she met Donald E. Bowles, Jr. who became the love of her life.

Janie and Don were married in 1968 and, in 2022, celebrated 54 years of great teamwork and long walks together. They were proud parents of two children and their spouses - Helen & Ryan Bowles of Dallas and Lisa & Greg Johnson of Dallas - and proud grandparents of five grandchildren - Will Johnson, Xander Bowles, Grady Johnson, Gavin Bowles, and Rebecca Jane Johnson.

Janie made Dallas her home, alongside Don, in 1972. Since then, she contributed her quiet, graceful, encouraging energy to Pi Beta Phi, Junior League of Dallas, Dallas Woman’s Club, Ronald McDonald House, Algonquin Book Club, Camp Soroptomist (now Camp Summit), YMCA of the Rockies, and YMCA Camp Grady Spruce. Lovers Lane United Methodist Church was Janie and Don’s church home for those many years. As members of LLUMC, they loved and were loved by a vibrant body of Christ in the Sanctuary Choir, Adams and Eves Sunday School class, Methodist Youth Fellowship (MYF) leadership, HeartStrings Ministry, and countless committees and campaigns. At her core, Janie was a tireless cheerleader, she loved to live and lived to give her very best to others.

Janie and Don were wonderful partners. They served together, laughed together, and walked together. My, how they walked! It was one of their secrets to a great marriage. This mutual love culminated in a coast-to-coast walk across Northern England in 2006 - 190 miles in 14 days - and reminded them, in Don’s words, that “we never know what’s around the corner and sometimes it is not easy. But we are so happy to travel that road together.”

A teacher at heart with a gentle and compassionate spirit, Janie shared her gifts teaching French at several schools and, at the age of 51, returned to school herself earning a master’s degree and certification in speech-language pathology. She spent nearly a decade conducting patient assessments and providing family support for early Alzheimer’s intervention at the Center for BrainHealth at UT Dallas. She was passionate about serving families affected by dementia even as she and her siblings were caring for their own mother, diagnosed at age 68.

Then in 2013, also at the age of 68, Janie faced her own diagnosis of Lewy body dementia. What a blessing it was for her to be armed with knowledge and perspective and to have served so many families who had walked the path that she now walked. Through it all, Janie never lost her joy and optimism but was filled with a Philippians 4:6 “peace that surpasses all understanding.” It was this chapter of her story that inspired Janie and Don to create, in honor of her parents, the Penny and Jesse Ralston Behavioral Neurology and Dementia Fellowship Fund through the Southwestern Medical Foundation.

Janie and her family are grateful for the loving care she received from, among many others, Rose Adame, Dr. Diana Kerwin, Dr. Jeff Phillips, and our angel on earth, Mavis Franklin.

A service of thanksgiving for her life will be held at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church, 9200 Inwood Road, on Monday, December 19, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. Memorials may be made to Camp Grady Spruce through the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas (www.ymcadallas.org/donate) and the Ralston Fellowship Fund through the Southwestern Medical Foundation (www.swmedical.org/give).


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