Obituary and Condolences

John J. Bovey

August 25, 1937 February 19, 2019
John J. Bovey
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Obituary for John J. Bovey

John Bovey died February 19 at Oaknoll Retirement Community in Iowa City. He was born August 25, 1937 in Rushville, Illinois to Pauline and Joseph Bovey.

John earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Western Illinois University. He was a
renaissance man with many talents and interests. His colorful and diverse resume includes experience as a scuba diver, toymaker, civil engineer, Florida everglades surveyor, sports car mechanic, flower arranger, bartender and waiter, stage hand, photographer and cinematographer, furniture and cabinet maker, and Iowa Department of Transportation resident engineer.

As owner and president of Bovey Builders Inc. he built many residential homes and commercial structures in the Coralville and Iowa City area. He later worked as a housing inspector for the City of Iowa City until his retirement.

John was humble and mischievous, an explorer, philosopher, and lifelong learner. He was a good man with a gruff exterior, quick wit, and big heart. He had a great sense of adventure, was creative, and appreciated the fine arts as well as a can of beer. He taught his daughters the wonder of a robin’s nest outside his window as well as the adventure in the big coal pile in Coralville.

John was active in the Housing Fellowship of Johnson County. Memorial donations may be made to the Fellowship. (See memorial information below)

John is survived by his long-time partner, Wetherill Winder, his daughters Jessica and Jocelyn (Jeff Peterson), his former wife Jenean Arnold, his close friend Dick Klausner, and many Oaknoll staff and friends.

A memorial celebration of John’s life will be held at a later date. In the meantime, in his honor, give someone a big ol' papa bear hug, have a beer and a greasy cheeseburger, read a book, and start planning your next adventure. Life is too short to not do the good stuff.


To send flowers or a remembrance gift to the family of John J. Bovey, please visit our Tribute Store.


Memorial Contribution

Housing Fellowship of Johnson County

325 E. Washington Street: Suite 100
Iowa City, IA 52240
If you prefer to make your gift by check, please send checks payable to Community Foundation of Johnson County (include the name of the fund in the memo line) to our office.
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