Retiree dies on first day of boat trip down Mississippi

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 28, 2005

MINNEISKA (AP) &045; It was supposed to be a dream trip.

Steve Bowles and his wife, Jeanette, had just retired. They sold their home in Inver Grove Heights and most of their other belongings, and packed the rest on their 37-foot sailboat, the Brisas II.

They set out Thursday morning down the Mississippi River, planning to sail the length of the river and then across the Gulf of Mexico to their retirement home in Brandenton, Fla.

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His journey ended the day it began. The longtime 3M Co. fire-protection engineer slipped on some rocks, hit the back of his head and died Thursday evening on the banks of the river.

Winona County Sheriff David Brand said relatives think Bowles died accidentally, either by drowning or from the blow to the head. Autopsy results were pending.

&uot;His feet went out from under him when he stepped on some slippery rocks,&uot; Veldhouse said. &uot;To hear my mom tell it, he fell over backwards, hit his head and rolled over face down in the


The couple had just picked up their sailboat Thursday at a marina in Lake City.