Meredith Lucy Bower (Meredith Bower Holt)
Meredith Lucy Bower (Meredith Bower Holt)
January 19, 1977 – April 5, 2019
Meredith Lucy Bower, known professionally as Meredith Bower Holt, died suddenly on April 5, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. She was born on January 19, 1977 in Antibes, France, to Peter Bower (Ann; Fort Walton Beach, Florida) and Myriam S. Bower (St. Geours-de-Maremne, France). She moved to the United States in 1978 and grew up in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Northern Virginia. She had a profound love for nature and all its creatures and especially loved her “forever dogs” Kiwi and Emma; she tolerated with great affection her orange tabby cat, Firn.
Meredith graduated from Choate Rosemary Hall 1994, where she was president of the Wemewehs, Choate’s female a cappella ensemble. In 1998, she graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University, earning a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature with a concentration in creative writing and a certificate in Italian language and literature. Meredith studied poetry with Pulitzer Prize winners Yusef Komunyakaa and Paul Muldoon. Her thesis, The Tower, was praised by faculty as a masterful work of poetry, written in a language as intensely private, personal, and powerful as she was.
Meredith’s creativity and vital spark are matched only by her empathy and compassion, gifts that gave her a remarkable ability to inspire people to do amazing things. After working as a paralegal, medical practice administrator, and manager of a dog day care, she joined the staff of ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership in September 2007. Inspired by an unwavering belief that a small handful of people could change the world, she developed a new membership model that empowered small groups with the same wisdom and resources available to organizations with hundreds of staff. Her tenure ushered in unprecedented growth and engagement for the nearly-100-year-old association.
The first week she worked at ASAE, she met her future husband, Newton Holt, at a gathering called the Great Ideas Conference in Orlando, Florida, and they quickly found an enduring love that was the greatest idea of all. They made their first home together in Washington, DC in August of 2008. On September 4, 2010, they married in Annapolis, Maryland, then honeymooned in New Zealand for close to three weeks, touring both the North and South Islands by car, train, and foot, driving on the “wrong” side of the road and taking in beauty that would carry them for the rest of their lives.
In October 2016, Meredith and Newton moved to Denver, Colorado, where she was a passionate and effective advocate for healthcare, human rights, and the eradication of the cruel stigma of mental illness. Her nonprofit expertise was invaluable in informing the nascent cannabis industry, and she was the driving force behind key campaigns to dispel negative stereotypes about cannabis, particularly for medical need. She was one of the first medical cannabis patients in Washington, DC, and gave many interviews about her experiences treating phantom limb pain with cannabis. She was a regular contributing writer to the Amputee Coalition of America’s InMotion magazine. Meredith was co-leader of Colorado’s #insulin4all initiative, and on March 21, 2019, stood beside fellow Princetonian Governor Jared Polis as he signed CO HB1077, allowing pharmacists to dispense emergency refills of life-saving medications. She was fiercely proud of Colorado, her native France, and Princeton and was preparing to serve with the class of 1998 on the Petey Greene Project to bring education to incarcerated people.
Meredith’s life was true and noble servant-leadership. She walked with those who most needed her, helping to carry anything too heavy to be carried by one. She did this with a quiet courage and gentle, honest smile that belied a fierce warrior. A below-knee amputee since 2006, and a patient with Schmidt’s syndrome, one of the rarest endocrine diseases in the world, she lived a beautiful, graceful life of service that enriched forever all she touched. Her husband, Newton, promises to carry on her work and continue her legacy of love and compassion.
In addition to her husband and parents, Meredith precedes her sister and champion Melanie Bower Calu (Gregoire) and nephews, Tilo and Liam, of Munich, Germany; her aunt, Ginger Bower, of Washington, DC; her aunt and uncle France and Alain Dubois of Josse, France; and a multitude of grateful cousins, friends, colleagues, and allies.
Newton and Melanie will host a private celebration of Meredith’s life to honor every star in the magnificent galaxy of her days, not just the saddest ones.
In lieu of flowers, please remember Meredith’s legacy with a donation to NAMI (www.nami.org).