On our first day back for second semester, our team gathered to mourn the loss of Henry Zietlow (’22), an incredibly special member of our Bowdoin Rowing family. On January 14, Henry passed away after his car was struck by an oncoming truck. Now that we are back on campus, it is painfully clear that his life and his passing have had huge impacts on not only our rowing family, but also our broader Bowdoin community.
Henry was a truly special young man, a steadfast friend, and one of the hardest working rowers that anyone on the team has had the pleasure of knowing. Although we only shared one semester with Henry, that time was nothing short of a blessing. Henry was never without his genuine smile and was rarely without one of his iconic headbands. He always saw the beauty in the world and the best in his teammates. It was impossible not to feel like even the earliest of mornings were at least a little brighter when Henry was around.
Henry was so kind and cheerful to everyone that he met. From knighting teammates with “free speed” to listening to the hottest Minnesotan rappers on van rides back from practice, every interaction with Henry felt so personal and genuinely warm. Mix that unique spirit with genius in the classroom, talent in the orchestra hall, and a dedication to put up more meters than just about anyone else in the erg room and you can start to picture what a special guy Henry was.
Even so, it seems impossible to say everything necessary to even begin to give a sufficient description of the caliber of person that Henry was in one post. Please check out the link below to see a video on Henry’s incredible experience at an erg marathon that he undertook just before his passing. We think that it exemplifies his soft spoken humility, incredible work ethic, strength of character, and, of course, his dazzling smile.
Henry Zietlow- Rowing a Marathon
Thank you so much to all the programs at Bowdoin and beyond that have reached out and offered their condolences. The reaction from the greater rowing community is simply amazing and it has touched us in ways you can’t imagine.
Thank you to the Zietlow family for blessing our team with such a remarkable young man.
If anyone is looking for a way to honor Henry’s legacy, please consider making a donation to one of the following organizations:
YMCA Camp Widjiwagan
Henry Zietlow Endowment Fund
P.O. Box 1450
Minneapolis, MN 55485-5901
Henry Zietlow Crew Memorial
4100 College Station
Brunswick, ME 04011
We love you, Henry. You will always be in each and every one of our hearts. Thank you for being such an amazing part of our Bowdoin Rowing Family.
Michael Donnelly (’20)