Introduction to the Gus & Julia Interviews
When Gus Bowe died on February 6, 1966, it wasn’t just headline news in the Chicago Tribune. The New York Times reported the news as well. And over at the Chicago Daily News, Mike Royko took time out from his usual piece about a politician run amuck to recall and note Gus’s passing with regret. Royko said of Gus, “He made it the hard way, first building a reputation as a fine lawyer, achieving financial independence, being active in civic affairs, and then being elected as a blue-ribbon candidate to head the Municipal Court.” For Royko, Gus was one of the few men in public life who always said what he thought. For him Chicago had just lost a rare bird, a public official given to calling things the way he saw them. He ended his column with the lament, “The town is already duller.” Tony Bowe was only nine in 1966, but he still remembers Mayor Daley at his grandfather Gus’s wake, the packed crowd at Holy Name Cathedral, and the police escort to Evanston’s Calvary Cemetery where Gus was laid to rest.
Recognizing that Bill Bowe, Gus and Julia Bowe’s nephew, is the last member of his generation who knew Gus and Julia well, Tony suggested that the two of them collaborate in making a permanent record of aspects of their lives that might be of interest to other family members down the road.
Three video interviews made in early 2021 captured all the central topics Tony and Bill wanted to cover: (1) how Bill got to know Julia and Gus; (2) how and who Julia and Gus entertained; (3) their interest in the arts; (4) their volunteer work and civic engagement; (5) Gus’s political life and election in 1960 as Chief Justice of Chicago’s Municipal Court; (6) evolution of their law practice from Bowe & Bowe to Bowe, Bowe & Casey; (7) stories of the Canavan and Bowe families in America and relationships among the siblings Gus, Bill and Anna; and (8) a brief summing up by Bill as he now looks back at Gus and Julia.
Go ahead. Boldly plunge into one of the eight topic videos on this list. You’ll find these eight longer topic videos sit prominently at the top of the separate video clips each subject area is comprised of.
Or put your little toe in the water by picking one of the shorter individual video clips in each of the eight sections to get started. These clips are mostly 1-3 minutes in length, so you’re unlikely to get bogged down.
To help you navigate the videos further, in their lower right corner, click on the grid of three parallel lines on the bottom right of your selection. That’s the Chapter Icon most of the clips have. It gives you a preview of what’s in the clip and let’s you easily jump around to what interests you.
However you approach it, you’re bound to get a better picture as to what made Gus and Julia Bowe so exceptional and memorable.