John Adrian Bosman
Jack Bosman passed away on Tuesday, December 11, 2012, in Houston, Texas, after a brief illness. We will miss him deeply.
He had sparkly blue eyes and the kindest of souls. He was a spiritual leader and a champion of causes for the poor and for those who had been treated unjustly. He was courageous. He was awed by the beauty of God’s creations. His acts of kindness and his sense of adventure and wonder inspired those of us who were lucky to have known and loved him.
He was born in East Orange, New Jersey on October 3, 1920, to Johanna Elizabeth Van Goozen Bosman and Willem Marinus Bosman, who were both Dutch immigrants. He spent many happy years in Maplewood, New Jersey with his family and close friends from the neighborhood. He traveled often as a child to his parents’ native country and to other amazing destinations. He and his dad were Yankees fans and he liked to tell stories about watching Babe Ruth play in the old Yankee Stadium. He graduated from Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey, in 1938. He graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1942. He served as a second lieutenant in the United States Navy during World War II.
Jack was always a spiritual person, and after the war, he attended Union Theological Seminary in New York City, New York and the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia. He was ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1950. He married the love of his life, Elsie Sebastian, in June 1950 at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in New York City.
Jack served as the Rector at St. Thomas Episcopal Church-in-the-Fields in Gibsonia, Pennsylvania, from 1950-56, and at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas, from 1956-1985. During his tenure as a priest, Jack felt strongly about standing up for his beliefs as a disciple of Christ. In 1965, he joined clergy of many faiths to march with Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma, Alabama, in support of civil rights. When he wrote about “Why I Went to Selma,” he stated, "When you preach many sermons about helping carry our brothers’ burdens, and then the call comes to do it in a strange and frightening but very clear-cut way –it becomes a matter of trying to live the life you’ve been talking about. "When you hear God saying in this day, `Listen to the cry of your brother in need, and do not fear to become involved,' and then the cry comes from Selma—you must stand with your brother who has been beaten and be ready to be beaten with him for his dignity as a human being.
"The going was something of an offering—one little drop in the scales weighted heavy on the other side with the untold suffering the white man has visited upon the black. We could never hope to repay or make restitution, but at least we could be found trying. "And looking back to Selma, we know a nation sees itself clearer because of what happened there, and was pressed from on High to hasten justice and freedom. As for us, we found in Selma something more of ourselves, something more of our fellow man, something more of God’s working."
Jack was also a great inspiration to his family, whom he loved dearly. He enjoyed playing golf and tennis. He loved being outdoors. He took us on hiking adventures to several National Parks, explorations of Mexico and Canada, and trips back to his favorite boyhood spots in New England. He loved reading the New York Times and he excelled at crossword puzzles. He adored his grandchildren, he spent hours playing with them and he delighted in all their achievements. By his example, he taught us to love and care for others, to enjoy music and the outdoors, to improve our minds and souls, and to do our best in all our endeavors. We are forever grateful to him.
In Jack’s memory and in his honor, we urge you to have courage to do the right thing, treat everyone with kindness and dignity, and appreciate the incredible world we live in.
Jack is survived by his beloved wife of 62 years, Elsie Sebastian Bosman, and his four children and their spouses: Virginia Joan Bosman and Les Doleshal of Austin, Texas; William Paul Bosman and Amy Bosman of Houston, Texas; Pamela Cristine Bosman and Clifton Caskey of Houston, Texas; and Lisa Johanna Bosman and Kevin Rieden of Austin, Texas. He is also survived by his grandchildren: Paul Adrian Bosman and wife Katie Bosman, Kelly Ann Bosman, Samuel Bosman Caskey, Hannah Cristine Rieden, Benjamin William Rieden, and Nathan Henry Rieden; and by his sister-in-law Virginia Sebastian of Wallingford, Connecticut.
A private memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Casa Juan Diego,P. O. Box 70113, Houston, TX 77270, or to the Southern Poverty Law Center, 400 Washington Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36104.