Robert Emmett Bowen III, a highly regarded bass player from Astoria who also was a well-respected music professor at Hofstra University, died Monday after being struck by a truck in a hit-and-run accident on Second Avenue in Manhattan while riding his bicycle. Bowen, a father of two school-age children, was 45.
No arrests have been made in the crash, Bowen's family said.
Students described Bowen as a dedicated teacher, who spent his own time mentoring young musicians. Faculty members said Bowen was a "world-class jazz bassist" who was very well-respected in the New York music community.
"As an educator, he was probably the most nurturing," said Hofstra's David Lalama, the director of jazz studies where Bowen was a faculty member for several years. "He was very encouraging to all of his students no matter what their level. He found a way to communicate and encourage their own musical growth. It was in his DNA to be that way."
Born in Concord, Mass., Bowen went to the University of Dayton in Ohio and earned his master's from the Manhattan School of Music, said his brother, Michael Bowen, of Pelham. He has two children, Robert Emmett Bowen IV, 10, and Stella Louisa Lemmon Bowen, 8, with Amy Lemmon Bowen, the children's mother.
"For Bob, teaching was as natural as breathing, and it went well beyond the studio or classroom," Amy Lemmon Bowen said. "He was always in touch with his students even after they had moved on - going to their performances, advising them on purchasing instruments and, of course, showing by example how to be a creative, exuberant and compassionate person."
Michael Bowen said his brother "was the best possible father that you can imagine. He was completely dedicated and devoted to his kids."
A private funeral service was held Friday in Astoria. A public service will be held at a later date.
In addition to his children, Amy Lemmon Bowen and his brother, Michael, survivors include his siblings Thomas, of Schaumburg, Ill., Joseph, of Huntingdon, England, Paul of Astoria, and Rita of Astoria; and his parents, Rita Vasquez, of Astoria, and Robert Emmett Bowen, of Annandale, Va.
A scholarship fund is expected to be set up soon for the children.