Jane Allan Bowie, former executive director of Network 2000 who earlier worked in marketing and public relations, died Monday of amyotropic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease, at her Lutherville home. She was 67.
"We met through Network 2000 when she was the new executive director. I'm a member of the organization, and we developed a professional friendship right away," said Karen D. McGraw of Timonium, who retired as senior vice president of human relations at McCormick & Co., where she was also a member of the board.
"We went on a cruise with a group of nuns, and that was the start of our professional friendship. She was kind, loved the arts, was a great listener and had a good sense of humor," said Ms. McGraw.
"Jane Allan had strong opinions on things and very strong beliefs. In some ways, she was quirky and liked to see things done a certain way," she said. "She was a really, really good human being
The daughter of Washington Bowie V, a J.F. Griener Co. civil engineer, and Mary McIntyre "Macky" Bowie, former owner, editor and publisher of The Boonsboro Times, Jane Allan Bowie was born in Baltimore and raised in the Bellona Avenue home in Lutherville where she spent the rest of her life.
She graduated in 1964 from Towson High School and made her debut that year at the Hagerstown Assembly Club.
She earned a bachelor's degree in drama in 1968 from Hollins College. Fluent in French, she studied for a year after graduating from college at the Sorbonne in Paris.
From 1969 to 1971, Ms. Bowie was an account manager with the Van Sant Dugdale advertising agency.
For the next decade, she worked part time before being named vice president of marketing and PR in 1983 for the old Equitable Trust Co., where she helped establish the old Lady Equitable Race in downtown Baltimore.
Ms. Bowie served as executive director of Santa Claus Anonymous from 2000 to 2009. She began working in 2006 as executive director of Network 2000.
Network 2000, a statewide nonprofit, was founded in 1993 to promote the advancement of women in executive and leadership positions while giving them the guidance to make it a reality.
The organization, whose members are invited to join, also was focused on gender equality in the workplace, both locally and nationally.
"Progress has been made in our country, but there's more work to do," Ms. Bowie told The Baltimore Sun in an interview this year.
She told the newspaper that only 15 percent to 16 percent of publicly traded companies have women on their boards of directors, and that has remained static for the last decade.
"The needle is moving some," she said. "Hopefully, we're almost at the tipping point."
"Jane Allan took this job because of its mission and that it was an organization that advanced the role of women, and she worked hard to further that mission," said Ms. McGraw. "She also got speakers and established a Business 2000 Award. This meant a tremendous amount to her."
In addition to supporting eight presidents of the organization, she was involved in a number of strategic initiatives that led Network 2000 to become a part of the Inter Organization Network.
She brought her expertise into play with the founding of the Effective Mentoring Program, implementation of the Business 2000 Award, and building a fiscally strong organization that had adequate financial reserves.
She helped the organization meet the goals of its five-year strategic plan and directed two strategic plans. She also played a significant role in developing a new logo for Network 2000.
Diagnosed with ALS in November, Ms. Bowie retired in June from Network 2000.
Ms. Bowie was a longtime member of the Junior League of Baltimore and had served as its president from 1987 to 1989.
"She was the first Junior League president who worked full time while in office," said Ms. McGraw,
"Jane Allan and I worked many years together in the Junior League, during which time we became very good friends," said Sue Dillion, who also served as president of the organization.
"Her amazing skills and dedication to the community were exemplary,' said Ms. Dillion. "She loved to laugh, always had a smile for everyone, and was a very, very genuine person."
Ms. Bowie was active in the preservation of Lutherville and had served on the board of the Lutherville Community Association.
She also participated in the effort that resulted in the Baltimore County community being placed on the National Register of Historic Places and being designated a Baltimore County Historic District. For years, she helped organize Lutherville Days and house tours.
"I first got to know Jane Allan and her family when we moved to Lutherville more than 50 years ago," said Drusilla Jones, who owned and operated Drusilla's Books of North Howard Street for years until closing the business two years ago.
"She was such a lovely girl and was a marvelously talented person," said Ms. Jones. "She had lots of business acumen, awareness, and was always very thoughtful of others."
Ms. Bowie maintained a deep lifelong interest in Maryland and Baltimore history.
She was an active member of the Hamilton Street Club.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday in the chapel of the Episcopal Church of the Holy Comforter, 130 W. Seminary Ave., Lutherville.
Ms. Bowie is survived by two brothers, Washington Bowie VI of Windsor Mill and Landon Bowie of New York City; a sister, Marion Bowie Robbins of Luray, Va.; two nephews; a grand-nephew and a grand-niece.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun