In memoriam: Addison Bowman, visionary activist and scholar

Addison “Addie” Bowman, emeritus professor at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa William S. Richardson School of Law, died on December 15. He was 88.

“Professor Bowman will be greatly missed,” said UH law school Dean Camille Nelson. “He was a revered scholar and activist and was admired and respected by all within our law school as well as members of the community for his public service. We offer our deepest condolences to his family.”

Bowman joined the law school in the mid-1970s. Among his many accolades, he was named the charter recipient of the Outstanding Professor of Law Award in 1983 and received UH Mānoa’s prestigious Robert W. Clopton Award for Distinguished Community Service in 1980. He was also honored by the Society of American Law Teachers in 2002 as a founding board member and was described as a “visionary activist for equality, access and diversity throughout law and society.”

He was also lauded by colleagues for his humility, tenacity and passion for advancing justice. 

He retired from full-time teaching after two decades of service. To commemorate this, August 22, 1997 was designated as Addison M. Bowman Day by gubernatorial proclamation. 

Bowman authored the Hawaiʻi Rules of Evidence Manual and served as reporter to the Judicial Council Committee, as well as a reporter to the Hawaiʻi Supreme Court’s Standing Committee on the Rules of Evidence. He was also an appellate mediator for the Hawaiʻi Supreme Court and conducted continuing legal education programs in evidence and professional responsibility law statewide.

He earned his LLM (Master of Laws) from Georgetown University Law Center; his LLB (Bachelor of Laws) from Dickinson School of Law; and his AB (Bachelor of Arts) from Dartmouth College.

He is survived by wife Jo Kim; children Michael (Glen Ellerbrock), Max (Marielle Hampton), Eli (Nicole Bowman) and Noa; and three grandchildren, Mira, Sophie and Wes. A memorial service will be held in Honokaʻa on January 20, 2024. For more information, click here.