James R. Gray Funeral Home
1530 Buffalo Rd. Rochester, NY 14624



Bowks, Roland “Ron”

The proud adopted son of deceased parents Booker and Cleo Bowks. Ron is survived by his beloved partner Maria Papp Washington and her two children, Kristina and Jeremy and his lifelong friends Calvin and Eileen. Maria’s family, Ron’s “Music Family” including close friends Donna, Mary Ann, Bernie & Stacie, Glenn, Laura, George, Deb & Jim, John, BJ, Don, Anne, Sharon, and many others are feeling the same heartache.

Ron’s education included Immaculate Conception and St. Lucy’s grammar schools, Aquinas Institute high school, Rochester Institute of Technology (BS) and the Simon School of the University of Rochester (MS in Manufacturing and Operations Research).

He entered the U.S. Marine Corps in 1967 and was in the top 1% in his graduating class. He served in Vietnam and voluntarily returned after his unit was overrun and several fellow marines died in combat. Upon returning stateside, he served out his enlistment at the Marine Air Wing in Cherry Point, N.C.

Roland’s work experience began as a ‘mail and messenger person’ at Eastman Kodak Company and ended as manager of Kodacolor Acetate Film. In between those 36 years, he worked in Materials Management, Purchasing, Safety, and was a supervisor for Single Use Cameras.

Ron’s musical career started as a soloist in 4th grade and continued as drum major of the state championship Aquinas band. During his career he has been awarded numerous state and national championships both as a performer and a leader, and served with distinction as a member of the United States Marine Corps band.He has taught several local high school marching bands and drum and bugle corps and held the position of drum major for many units.

Ron was a former adjudicator for both the New York State School Music Association and for the Rochester Broadway Theater League.Ron directed many community theater and high school musicals and was honored to return to Aquinas as an interim band director.

His musical career included conducting the Kodak concert band (performing over 500 free concerts throughout the community since 1980), leading the Rochester Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra, the Gateswingers Big Band, Papa Joe’s Crawfish Stew Dixieland band and performing with salsa band Grupo Calle Uno and his own jazz combo.

More than his accomplishments, Ron will be remembered for his kindness, patience, and positive loving nature. Our world has lost a good man.

Friends are invited to call Friday from 3-7 pm at James R. Gray Funeral Home, 1530 Buffalo Rd., with a service to follow. Burial with Military Honors will be held on Saturday morning, 11 am at Oatka Cemetery in Scottsville. 

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to Hope Hall School, 612 Buffalo Rd, Rochester, NY 14624

Jim Gray6 Comments