In September, Brian Bowers took on a role that had long been in flux: that of the box office manager at Case Western Reserve University’s Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center. An inherently busy position made even more challenging by a transition to a new ticketing system, the opportunity excited Bowers, who didn’t hesitate to get to work.
But now, just over six months later, the university community is mourning after Bowers passed away unexpectedly April 29.
“The scope of work Brian came into was astonishing and every day he came in and plugged away at it,” said Jason Cohen, director of the Maltz Performing Arts Center.
Not easily shaken by the already steep workload he faced, Bowers always was looking for new projects to take on—so much so Cohen said he often had to rein him in.
“He really loved being here and doing new things and wanting to try different things,” Cohen said.
After working remotely for more than 10 years with the local outpost of the 48 Hour Film Project, Bowers quickly developed relationships with everyone he encountered at CWRU, including fellow staff members, undergraduate students working at the box office and external clients performing at the Maltz Center.
His ability to connect with others was innate, with each relationship he made unique to the individual.
“Brian and I spent hours and hours and hours together, but never in the same room,” said colleague Ross Peabody, who works remotely. Despite that, the relationship between Bowers and Peabody was effortless.
Peabody remembered Bowers as thoughtful, observant and sweet, and recalled how once Bowers, while on vacation, showed up unexpectedly to a staff meeting on Zoom—poolside.
A proud Clevelander and former “song-and-dance man”—as Cohen referred to him—Bowers was known to reflect fondly on his time spent at the Beck Center in Lakewood as a teenager. As he got older, he maintained strong connections with the region’s film and theater network. In addition to years as the Cleveland producer for the 48 Hour Film Project, Bowers served as executive director of the Cleveland Film Collaborative, studied theater at Baldwin Wallace University and worked as a marketing coordinator at Avon Lake-based TrueNorth Cultural Arts.
Following his death, tributes swiftly poured in to honor Bowers. Cohen said he was inundated with text messages from mutual connections when news of Bowers’ death broke in the tight-knit local film and theater community.
“His reach went far and wide,” Cohen said. “It was part of his DNA.”
A dedicated family man, Bowers leaves behind an infant daughter, two adult children and his fiancée.
Students who would like support during this time are encouraged to contact University Health and Counseling Services at 216.368.5872. This line is staffed by a counselor 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Faculty and staff can access counseling at any time by calling IMPACT Solutions at 1.800.227.6007.
Editor’s note: Details about services will be shared should they become available.