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WBGO’s Cephas Bowles Dies at 62

Visitation Thursday, funeral service Friday

Visitation is Thursday afternoon and tonight and funeral services for Cephas Bowles, recently retired chief executive officer and president of jazz-formatted WBGO(FM), Newark, N.J. are set for Friday.

The 62-year-old Bowles died this past Saturday from complications from a stem cell transplant, according to his wife, Linda. He had been diagnosed with leukemia in late 2013.

A native of Newark and a resident of Dover, N.J., Bowles was senior executive of WBGO from 1993 to 2014, when he retired following a medical leave. During his tenure, the station experienced increased financial support and listener engagement through innovative programming, special events, live broadcasts and social media, according to the station.

Under Bowles’ leadership, Jazz 88.3 also increased the number of professional staff and renovated its two-story office building. In 2012, he spearheaded a capital campaign that funded, built and began transmitting from a tower in midtown Manhattan, which significantly strengthened the station’s metro-area reach.

A broadcast, philanthropic and nonprofit management consultant, Bowles was a long-time member of the National Public Radio Inc. board of directors. Bowles also offered his expertise to various community boards, including the Newark Arts Council, Dover Zoning Board of Adjustment, State of N.J. Martin Luther King Committee, National Jazz Museum of Harlem and Newark Regional Business Partnership, according to the station.

Following a stint at KUAT(FM), Tucson, Ariz., Bowles came to WBGO in 1993 as general manager for 16 years and was president and chief executive officer since 2009.

Bowles is survived by his wife, Linda Arrington-Bowles, and five siblings. Visitation will be held at Fountain Baptist Church, 116 Glenside Avenue, Summit, N.J., on Thursday, Feb. 26, from 4 to 8 p.m. Funeral services will begin at 10 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 27, at Fountain Baptist Church with internment immediately following at Evergreen Cemetery, 1137 N. Broad St., Hillside, N.J.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the following: Fountain Baptist Church Manna from Heaven Food Pantry; Syracuse University Black Alumni; WAER(FM); KUAT; WBGO; or Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide.