Horace Mann math award namesake Joan Bowen dies


Joan Brady Bowen died of natural causes at her Riverdale home on Feb. 28, 2024.

She was born in Manhattan in 1932, and was preceded in death by Alfred H. Bowen — her husband of 63 years — as well as sisters Florence Donohue, Helen Coy and Rosalie Brenner, and her son-in-law, YongSoo Ha.

She is survived by her seven children: Christopher (Darlene), Robert (Armilyn), Edward, Kenneth (Laura), Andrew (Sam), Kathleen Ha, and Daniel, as well as her grandchildren: Timothy (Lauren), Constance Borro (Rudy), Nicholas, Jennifer HoanzI (Michael), Alyssa Ha (Luke Baron), Kathryn Ha Zipf (Steve), Grae (Owen Lindquist), Benjamin (Anna), Elizabeth, and Rosa; and 11 great-grandchildren: Stella, Alfred, Theadora, Oliver, Joseph, Cordelia, Winn, Gus, Sebastian, Josephine and Rafael.

She also is survived by her brother-in-law, Bill Bowen, as well as nieces and nephews, childhood friend Bernice Hauser, and dear friends in Hague.

A residents of the Bronx for more than 60 years, she enjoyed spending summers with family at Silver Bay and Arcady Bay in these cherished communities.

She was a high-achieving student and dedicated educator with a lifelong love of learning. She became valedictorian of her junior high school and attended Hunter College High School.

She studied at Hunter College, where she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in her junior year. She graduated from Hunter College with both her baccalaureate in mathematical statistics (magna cum laude), and a master’s degree in secondary mathematics education.

In 1970, she began a career of more than 30 years at the Horace Mann School, where she held both administrative and teaching positions. At a time when women were routinely paid less than men, she led a faculty committee that instituted a fair compensation plan and equal benefits for all.

She served as the head of the math department, as well as the head of grades 11 and 12. She also was a division head of grades 7 through 12, assistant to the head of school, and even interim head of school, making her the first headmistress in Horace Mann’s history.

She particularly loved teaching Advanced Placement AB and BC Calculus.

In 1997, she received the College Board Award for Outstanding Contribution to the AP program. Horace Mann still commemorates her each year by awarding the Joan Brady Bowen Prize to an outstanding mathematics student.

Visitors may call at the Riverdale-on-Hudson Funeral Home, 6110 Riverdale Ave., on Sunday, March 10 from 4 to 7 p.m. A service will be held there on Monday, March 11 at 10 a.m., followed by interment at Gate of Heaven Cemetery.

Her loving heart, sense of humor and brilliant mind — which never grew dull — were brilliant beacons to all who knew her.

Joan Brady Bowen,