John Bowen Culver JD ?80

John Bowen Culver JD ’80


John Bowen Culver JD ’80 passed away September 11, 2020, as the result of a sudden heart event. He was 66.

John was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on September 14, 1953, to William H. Culver Jr. and Jane E. (Bowen) Culver. He graduated from Hackett High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan.

After receiving his JD, John worked as law clerk for the late James R. Ellis in Multnomah County Circuit Court. He began practicing law as a criminal defense attorney at the Urban Indian Council, which later became Multnomah Defenders. In 1990, John joined Metropolitan Public Defenders. He was dedicated to preserving the rights of the indigent accused and worked tirelessly to defend them, showing patience and compassion toward even the most difficult clients. He retired from practice in January 2019. 

In addition to his easy-going manner, deep love of friends and family, and remarkable sense of humor, John will be remembered for his role at the Oregon Country Fair; his many, many collections; and his profound love of music. John had a tremendous impact on the lives he touched and we were all fortunate to have known him.

John is survived by his wife, Cathryn Ruckle; daughter Claire Kathryn Culver; son Bowen Ruckle Culver; sisters Jill Culver Jameson, Lois Plantefaber, and Mary Hamlin; brothers Casey and Joshua; sisters-in-law Helvi Sandvik, Liz Culver, and Patty Maher; brothers-in-law Gil Jameson, Terry Hamlin, and Arthur Ruckle; and his extended family, which included many nieces and nephews. John was preceded in death by his parents; his second mother, Rita Culver; his brothers Casey Plantefaber, Kelly Culver, and David Springgate; and his niece Kimberly Cuthbert McGinley.