KU to add soldier’s name to campanile
WWII memorial will now include student from Marion
For the first time in more than 50 years, the name of a KU student killed
in World War II will be added to the dozens of names etched in the Memorial
Campanile’s Virginia Greenstone walls.
Second Lt. Raleigh Chase Bowlby Jr. of Marion, one semester shy of graduation
from KU when he enlisted in the Army, was killed in action near Cassino,
Italy, April 8, 1944. Seven years later, when the 120-foot campanile was
built as a memorial to the KU students and faculty lost in the war, Bowlby’s
was not among the 276 listed.
That unfortunate omission will be rectified this fall when Midland Marble
and Granite of Independence, Mo., installs granite bearing Bowlby’s
name. Midland is volunteering its services in honor of Bowlby.
The omission was first noticed in the 1960s but not reported to the university
until this summer. Bowlby’s widow, Mary Jane Cunningham of Caldwell,
had remarried, and her second husband, the late Leonard Cunningham, and
their daughter Kathy Booth would visit the campus to attend KU football
games at Memorial Stadium, which is directly below the campanile.
“It was puzzling to us, but we never saw it as an oversight,”
said Booth, now a Sterling resident. “We thought perhaps he didn’t
meet the criteria.”
Booth decided to explore the issue this summer after she and her husband
visited the new World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., and found that
Bowlby’s name was listed on that memorial’s Web site. When
KU verified that Bowlby indeed qualified, it immediately began making
plans to add his name to the Campanile.
“We merely inquired to see if he could be listed in the Archives,”
Booth said. “We didn’t anticipate this.”
According to the University Archives records, the original list of 276
names was compiled over several years by a Kansas Alumni Association committee
that relied heavily on reports from family members and friends because
there were no official records linking soldiers to their colleges. Booth
said her mother was living in California at the time and never heard of
The list of names on the campanile walls is available online at www.carillon.ku.edu.
The campanile, which contains a 53-bell carillon, was built in 1950 and
dedicated on May 27, 1951. The names are engraved on the east and west
walls of the Memorial Room at the base of the tower.