DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Gregory Bowler of Bradford, who served on the Hospital Administrative District 4 Board of Directors for more than 20 years and was board chairman from 1996 to 2012, retired after the March 27 meeting at Mayo Regional Hospital.
A former University of Maine faculty member who holds a Ph.D. in mass communications, Bowler said he initially had little knowledge of healthcare or hospitals.
“I didn’t have a particular interest in, or knowledge of hospital governance,” recalled Bowler in a Mayo Regional Hospital press release. “The town manager in Bradford at the time needed someone to be on the Board, and I agreed out of a sense of civic duty.”
Bowler originally served on the HAD 4 board in the early 1980s, shortly after Mayo Regional Hospital opened in 1978. After taking some years off, he was re-elected to the board in 1994 and served continuously until his final meeting last month. Bowler was board chairman during Ralph Gabarro’s entire 15-year tenure as Mayo CEO.
Mayo experienced major growth in employment and services during Bowler’s years on the board. The hospital completed an $8 million facility expansion 2001-2003. Yet what he remembers best is not the technological advances or building projects, but the people he met.
“The biggest high point, to me, was meeting the people at the hospital. It’s been a great pleasure to meet the other people on the Board, the hospital leaders, and members of the medical staff,” said Bowler. “Healthcare is a people business, and there’s a bunch of people at Mayo who I really admire.”
Bowler earned an undergraduate degree in radio and television at Indiana University in the 1950s, and then worked for years on the production side of commercial and public television. He returned to the academic world to earn his doctorate at Ohio State, and taught at West Virginia University before joining the UMaine faculty in 1974 to teach speech communications. Bowler was later involved in video instruction through UMaine’s ITV distance learning program.
His board involvement at Mayo kept Bowler active after his retirement from UMaine, as he attended hundreds of meetings at the hospital over the years. He had an unassuming presence despite his leadership role.
“I didn’t really appreciate all that Greg offered until I worked so closely with him the last year,” said Mary Alyce Higgins of Dover-Foxcroft, who was board co-chair with Bowler during 2012, and who also will retire from the board this spring. “We saw each other at least once every week and spoke on the phone several times a week. And e-mails were constant. I have missed him the last few months as we are both winding down. I was so glad to have had the opportunity to get to know him so well. He did so much for Mayo, and did it quietly.”