Frame John Bowers
West Point, 1969
Be Thou At Peace
Posted by Bill Bowers on February 7, 2011:
My brother, Frame "John" Bowers passed this week after a heroic fight against ALS. There was a service in Milford Ohio which is going to be followed by internment at FT Sam Houston. The below Eulogy was written by his son, MAJ David Bowers, and his daughter, Jennifer Bowers Pang.
John Bowers Eulogy
Written by children David Bowers and Jennifer Bowers Pang
Daddy, you touched so many people over the course of your almost 64 years. You are such a wonderful person. You are the person who always does the right thing, no matter what. You are the best father, husband, grandfather, military officer, coach, pilot, teacher, son, brother, friend and above all, an inspiration. You will continue to inspire both of us as we face life and the many challenges that are to come. You have been and will always be a gauge as to how to live our lives the right way.
Everything you do, you do 100 percent and never cut corners. You always have taken the high road, and you have the strongest moral compass of anyone we know. You have always led by example, and we turned out the way we did because of you and mom's excellent examples of how to live our lives the right way, not the easy way. We have more respect for you than anyone else on earth -- we always have, but as we've become adults, we now realize how hard some of the choices you have made in life have been.... And we respect and admire you for never compromising your morals but always walking the straight path.
When we asked our father over Christmas if he was afraid to die, he responded "Absolutely Not! I look at this as another adventure. Just like Airborne School, Flight School, Vietnam, Canoeing the boundary waters or having kids - it is all an adventure and what you make of it." This summarized our father's mentality until the end. Although quiet, he was fearless and always sought out the next challenge. We have asked, "Why did this happen to our Dad; he did everything right? Of all people, he did not deserve this!" This question has plagued our whole family and we've truly struggled with finding the answer. But now, we have come to recognize that God let our father develop ALS, because He knew our dad could not only handle this challenge but also use it to teach others during this journey in his life. Our father would lead by example, helping others look inward, and be inspired by our dad's quiet courage and determination to deal with it and live life to the fullest anyway. John Bowers never let this hurdle define him as a person, instead he took it in stride. It illuminated how he led his life -- rising to whatever challenge came his way. Our hope is that our Dad's fearless determination against this terrible test, has taught others about themselves and faith in God.
In closing, our father would not want people to cry, he would not want people to spend money on a funeral, and most importantly he would not want people be upset over his passing. Our Dad would want people to look into themselves and embrace life with the same faith, dedication and fearlessness he had when facing life's challenges, including ALS.
Dad, your helicopter is fixed and..it is time to fly..... Best of luck on your new adventure, we love you.
John Bowers obituary
Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Frame John Bowers III, age 63, beloved husband, father, grandfather, friend, coach and inspiration to all passed away peacefully in his sleep due to complications from ALS on Tuesday, Feb. 1 at 12:44 a.m. He was a warrior to the end, fighting the disease with courage and grace.
John is survived by his wife Judy Wiggins Bowers of Cincinnati; children Jennifer Bowers Pang of Honolulu, Hawaii and Major David F. Bowers of Tampa, Florida; grandsons DJ Pang, John "Kailoa" Pang and Kawika Pang of Honolulu, Hawaii; siblings Nancy "Prissi" Duderstadt of Chicago, Illinois and Walter "Bill" Bowers of Norfolk, Virginia; and father, Frame John Bowers, Jr. of San Antonio, Texas.
During his 28 years (11 active, 17 reserve) in the United States Army including service as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, John received many recognitions and accommodations such as the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal with 23 oak leaf clusters, Army Commendation Medal, Reserve Commendation Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry. In 2008, John retired from General Electric after 28 years as an Aeronautical Engineer and Six Sigma instructor. John graduated 7th in his class from West Point in 1969, earned a masters in aeronautical engineering from Princeton in 1976 and a masters in business administration in 1983.
John's love of service was evident even as a boy, when he joined the Cub Scouts. Later as a teenager he earned the rank of Eagle Scout from the Boy Scouts of America and was awarded the Queen's Scout (Eagle Scout equivalent) from the Governor General of Canada. As an adult, John shared this love of Scouting with scores of boys, serving as Assistant Scoutmaster with Troup 286 with Scoutmaster Tim Harth; during his tenure, ten Scouts achieved the rank of Eagle. In recognition of his passion for Scouting, in 2009 John received the distinguished "Spirit of the Eagle", BSA's Lifetime Achievement Award.
John was committed to helping others, and spent his entire life teaching and sharing whenever possible. Since 1980, John was an active member of St. Thomas Episcopal Church where he served the ministry of the parish in a number of important positions. He served two terms as a member of the Parish Vestry in addition to chairing the annual Every Member Stewardship program. John also contributed his leadership skills as a member of the Search Committee for a rector. Other parish ministries included serving as a chalice bearer, usher, and a number of outreach ministries including Habitat for Humanity where he traveled to New Orleans to help after Hurricane Katrina and Inter Parish Ministries. Even when fighting ALS, one could see John every week at Church, taking and filling orders for gift cards to various establishments to raise money for St. Thomas' Outreach Program.
John was active in General Electric's Elfun Society for 15 years, both as a board member and as an Aiken High School mentor. As a leader in the EAA Young Aviators program, John and Tim Harth exposed kids to aviation by leading trips to the airport and inspiring a love of aviation with local teens.
John's family will hold a Memorial Service Friday, Feb. 4 at 10 a.m. at St. Thomas Church in Terrace Park, followed by a formal military funeral Wednesday, Feb. 9 at 13:30 at the Fort Sam Houston National Military Cemetery in San Antonio, Texas. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the ALS Association (www.alsa.org) or the Boy Scouts of America (www.scouting.org).