Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

May 10, 2013

Bowen laid to rest

Former governor, 95, lauded for his faithful public service

GOSHEN — BREMEN – On a gray and chilly May morning, this tiny and proud northern Indiana community came together Friday to lay one of the true giants of this state to rest.

Former Indiana Gov. Dr. Otis R. Bowen, known more commonly as simply “Doc,” passed away Saturday night at the age of 95. Twice a widower, Bowen leaves behind his third wife, Carol, four children and their families.

He also leaves behind a legacy matched by few during a life dedicated to helping people in his examination room, in the Statehouse and eventually on a presidential cabinet.

Hundreds of friends, family and dignitaries packed into St. Paul’s Lutheran Church here on South Center Street to acknowledge that legacy and pay final respects during a funeral service Friday.

Pastor Roger Rhode presided over the service, and described Bowen, Indiana’s 44th governor (1973-81), to the congregation as a soft-spoken and honest man.

“He sought no honors or recognition,” Rhode said. “He only sought to work for others. He took the talents and gifts God gave him and used them to his fullest.”

Bowen’s flag-draped casket was positioned at the front of the sanctuary. A framed portrait from his days as governor was propped behind it, showing the man’s elegant silver hair and dark-rimmed glasses.

The Rev. David Kahlenberg of Indianapolis was the first to speak during Bowen’s funeral and compared the country doctor who spent 26 years of his life in family practice, as one of the great political figures of all time.

“Who in their right mind,” Kahlenberg asked during his eulogy, “could say Doc Bowen didn’t achieve greatness.”

The reverend went on to declare Bowen, who delivered more than 3,000 babies in Bremen, “a champion statesman,” serving six years as Marshall County coroner, 17 years as a state representative, six years as Indiana’s Speaker of the House, eight years as governor and three years as President Reagan’s Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Kahlenberg also spoke of Bowen’s love of family, his Christianity and his humanitarianism. He told the humorous story about how Bowen, as governor, grabbed his shovel and cleared a lady’s driveway entrance that had just been plowed closed after she called him to complain.

“There wasn’t a human being that Dr. Bowen didn’t respect and accept,” Kahlenberg said. “Every citizen in Indiana was important to him.”

Among those in attendance Friday were current Gov. Mike Pence, former governors Mitch Daniels and Joe Kernan, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, Indiana Supreme Chief Justice Brent Dickson, U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, U.S. Sens. Dan Coats and Joe Donnelly.

Also in attendance were neighbors, former patients and Bremen High School athletic coaches. Bowen, after all, was also once the school’s team doctor.

Bowen’s oldest son, Rick, spoke for the family during the funeral. He explained how his father loved his family above all else. Rick Bowen also pointed out that “Doc,” a devoted Republican, loved politics and knew how to handle himself.

“The biggest mistake you could make,” Rick said, “was to think this country doctor was weak and that you could take advantage of him.”

Rick also spoke of his father’s love of basketball, particularly Indiana University basketball.  During Bowen’s years as governor he developed a special relationship with IU’s legendary coach Bob Knight.

But it was Bowen’s relationship with his hometown of Bremen that meant so much to him, Rick said. Bowen, his son explained, would attend every Bremen High School commencement ceremony, often pointing out how many of the graduates he had delivered each year.

“This town and its people were his base,” Rick said. “…Dad could have retired anywhere, but he came back to Bremen; his home and his people.”

It certainly looked like Bowen’s town Friday as signs in several local businesses proclaimed their respect for the man. Over at Netter’s Family Restaurant, which claims to have the nicest waitresses and ugliest cooks, the east side of the outdoor marquee read simply, “Doc Bowen 1918-2013.” The west side of the sign read, “Try our famous pulled pork $6.99.” 

Before the funeral, the town’s street sweeper did a final run down Center Street, just to be sure. Afterward, Bowen’s procession to the cemetery looked more like a Memorial Day Parade.

With the sun breaking through the clouds, his casket was led up Center Street and through downtown, on a horse-drawn open wagon. Students at St. Paul’s Lutheran School, as well as the nearby public schools, took a break from their day’s studies and lined the streets.

Residents along the route came outside to pay their respects, sitting on their porches, lawn chairs and open tailgates. Small children waved tiny flags. A giant flag was hung above the South Street intersection, held aloft by the efforts of Nappanee Ladder truck 96 and Bremen Ladder truck 10.

The procession finally concluded at the crest of a small hill in the middle of Bremen Cemetery. With the family gathered around the casket, 19 cannon blasts in the distance popped one at a time in a salute to the former governor and World War II veteran. Twenty-one cannon salutes are reserved for presidents.

Shortly thereafter the honor guard followed with three sharp rifle cracks as part of Bowen’s 21-gun salute to recognize his military service. He served in World War II and was part of the first wave of Allied troops to invade Okinawa in the Pacific Theater, his son said during his eulogy.

A somber rendition of “Taps” followed, and as the last notes faded, a military helicopter cut diagonally above the cemetery. The service concluded around 2:15 p.m. with the presentation of American flags to the family.

The Rev. David Kahlenberg ended his remarks about Bowen earlier that morning with a Scripture reading from Matthew 25:21.

“Well done good and faithful servant,” he read. “Enter into the joy of your master.”

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Fresh shrimp business approved GOSHEN — Finding fresh shrimp in Elkhart County just got a little easier.

    August 21, 2014

  • NWS GN140822 john hertzel (2) John Hertzler relishes role with Goshen Historical Society GOSHEN — Visitors to the Goshen Historical Society’s museum might not know John Hertzler is there, tucked back in an office beyond the rows of historic documents, photographs and artifacts.

    August 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Lifelong Learning fall courses announced GOSHEN — The Lifelong Learning Institute of Elkhart County is offering fall courses. These short courses are designed to provide stimulating and affordable classes in many fields for active seniors. There are no tests or grades, and no previous studies or degrees are required.

    August 21, 2014

  • South Ninth Street area under boil water order South Ninth Street, between East Jackson and Franklin streets in Goshen, is under a boil water order from noon until further notice.

    August 21, 2014

  • GN140821 Pike Street Project 2 INDOT meeting held to discuss Pike Street project GOSHEN — Major changes may be on the way for a small section of Pike Street in downtown Goshen.

    August 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0821 goshen college challenge Locals embrace ice bucket challenge It’s a challenge that has united participants with the shared sensation of an icy burst of water, sopping wet clothing and video evidence — all in the name of philanthropy.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140821 nisly complaint Complaint filed against state rep candidate Accusations of wrongdoing, in the form of a complaint to the Indiana Election Commission, have been levied against District 22 representative Republican nominee Curt Nisly.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140820 dometic groundbreaking Dometic breaks ground on significant expansion in Goshen GOSHEN — As Dometic officials gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony for the $7 million expansion of their Goshen distribution center Wednesday, the work was already underway in the background. “It’s happening right now,” said Dave Schutz, vice presi

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140821 Ignition art Plenty of good music on horizon at Ignition Several upcoming shows at Ignition Garage in Goshen were announced this week.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • City plan nearing a final draft GOSHEN — The city’s new comprehensive plan is nearing completion, and a near-final draft has now been released for public review. Goshen Plan Commission members released the draft of the city’s newly penned comprehensive plan, titled “Uncommonly Grea

    August 19, 2014

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Poll

Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
I think all students should be required to pay for their school meals
     View Results
AP Video
US: We Do Not Pay Ransom to Terrorists Ferguson Teachers Training to Deal With Trauma Jon Hamm on the Unrest in Ferguson Tit for Tat? McDonald's Shuttered in Moscow Life on the Professional Video Game Circuit TX Gov Perry in Washington: 'Confident' in Case Hospital Releases Two Missionaries Who Had Ebola Ramen Health Risks: The Dark Side of the Noodle NYC Doctor-in-chief Seeks Community Approach Indonesian Police Fire Tear Gas at Protesters Raw: Shots Fired in Liberian Shantytown DOJ, Bank of America Reach Record Settlement Raw: Cubavision Airs Images of Fidel Castro Raw: Grief After Deadly Airstrikes in Gaza Officer Who Pointed Gun at Protesters Suspended Kathy Griffin Challenges Minaj to 'a Booty Off' Johnson: Six Arrests, No Tear Gas in Ferguson Raw: Rescue, Relief Efforts at Japan Landslide Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream California Drought Stings Honeybees, Beekeepers