Joan Annabel Bowlen née Spencer is a former teacher and figure skater who is married to the majority owner of Denver Broncos of the National Football League, Patrick Dennis “Pat” Bowlen. They met in Edmonton in Canada, and after a short courtship, married. Soon, they relocated to Denver, Colorado, where Pat bought the town’s NFL team. It catapulted the social status of the family, making them part of the city’s elites. While Pat worked tirelessly to make the Broncos one of the most domineering teams in the NFL, Annabel devoted herself to philanthropy. She first came to know about the Beacon Youth & Family Center in 1998 and founded Cherish the Children Guild. Since her husband stepped down as the Broncos CEO following the onset and progression of Alzheimer's disease in 2014, she has taken more active role in the team’s operations.
The Meteoric Rise to Fame
In her youth, Annabel was a figure skater. She completed her graduation from the University of Alberta in education and physical education. She was working as a figure skating trainer and teaching grade school students in Edmonton when she met Pat, the son of Paul Dennis Bowlen, a millionaire who had made his money in Canadian oil business. Pat had become successful in his own right as an affluent lawyer.
They married and moved to Denver, where he bought the Broncos from its previous owner Edgar Kaiser Jr. in 1984 and put the team’s ownership in a family trust fund.
While under his leadership, the Broncos won seven AFC and three Super Bowl championships, effectively making it one of most successful teams in the NFL history. Around this period, Annabel was introduced to the Beacon Youth & Family Center, which in time became her pet charity. She was the founder and President Emeritus of the charitable arm of the Englewood agency till 2011. Using the wealth and resources she had at her disposal, she reached out to her friends among the social elites of Denver and convinced them to join and donate, revitalizing the Cherish the Children Gala, Beacon’s annual destination-themed fundraiser.
Pat had been suffering from short-term memory loss for a long-time; he first talked about it publicly in an interview in 2009. In 2014, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, and subsequently vacated the position of the CEO. Following this, Annabel has become more actively involved with the team. In 2016, she accepted the AFC Championship Lamar Hunt Trophy as the public face of the owners of the team.
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Annabel was born in Edmonton, the capital of the Canadian province of Alberta, in 1956 to retired British secretary Joan Spencer and her World War II pilot husband. Annabel has a brother, Richard, who is the founder and president of Spencer Environmental Management Services (est. 1984). Their family is related to the British royal family through Princess Diana.
She and Pat have five children together, sons John and Patrick and daughters Brittany, Annabel, and Christiana. She is also the stepmother of Pat’s daughters Beth and Amie from his previous marriage to Sally Parker. The family is residing in Denver from the last 30 years.