Dedicated to the Preservation of the
U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
Robert Neal Bowers, Lt. Colonel, USAF (Retired)November 17, 1935 – September 02, 2012
Robert Neal Bowers, Lt. Colonel United States Air Force (Retired), born November 17, 1935 in Westfield, IN., passed away, at the age of 76, on Sunday, September 02, 2012 at his home in Vienna, VA. He was the son of Neal and Vera (Baker) Bowers, and spent his childhood in the Fishers and Noblesville areas.
He attended the original Fishers High School and graduated from Noblesville High School in 1953. He attended Purdue University and was commissioned in the United States Air Force as a Second Lieutenant. He became one of the Air Force’s top navigators, and went on to attain his dream of becoming an Air Force pilot, flying both helicopters and fixed wing airplanes. Robert was assigned to the 38th Aerospace Rescue Recovery Squadron as a search and rescue helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War. He was a decorated Vietnam veteran and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal. His final assignment was with the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon where he retired with 26½ years of service. After retirement, he worked in auto sales and management, and was a licensed real estate agent. He was a member of the Masons and the Shriners.
Robert is survived by his wife of 54 years, Shirley Pickett Bowers; children, Kimberly Griffiss and Mark Bowers of Vienna, VA; and grandson, James Griffiss, US Coast Guard. He is also survived by sisters, Margaret Roberts and Sharon Johnson of Noblesville; nieces and nephews, Carole (Phil) Collins, Breanne Scherer (Greg Oakes), Terry (Julie) Roberts and Ryan (Kelli) Scherer, of Noblesville, and Rob (Julie) Johnson of Orlando, Florida; five great-nieces, and three great-nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, sister, Sherilee Sue, and brothers, Terrence Kay, Keith Eugene, Terry Glenn and Leland Kent.
A celebration of Robert’s life was held in Vienna, Virginia on Saturday, September 15, 2012. He will be buried on January 24, 2013 in Arlington National Cemetery.
Memorials may be directed to the Wounded Warriors Project, www.WoundedWarriorProject.com, or mailed directly to P. O. Box 758517, Topeka, Kansas 66675.
Acknowledgements may be directed to Shirley Bowers, 9808 Bridle Ridge Court, Vienna, Virginia 22180.
January 07, 2013Please accept my heartfelt condolences on the loss of your loved one. When I lost my dear aunt in death, I was encouraged by reading my bible, The Holy Scriptures. I invite you to open your bible and read the book of Revelation, chapter 21, verse 4 (Rev. 21:4) and the book of Isaiah, chapter 25, verse 8 (Isa. 25:8) I found much comfort in knowing that Jehovah God (Isa. 45: 18, 19) promise to resurrect the dead. And, in due time, he will eliminate death, sorrow, and pain FOREVER. Warm regards, Mrs. A. Vega~Mrs. A. Vega – Vienna, VA.
December 03, 2012Offering our deepest condolences during this time.~Westfield Road – Noblesville, Indiana
December 19, 2012To the Bowers family: May friends, family and good memories comfort you in this time. May you find peace in knowing you have the opportunity to see him again. John 5.28-29. Our deepest condolences.~N. Severs – WV.
September 15, 2012My heart and prayers go out to the entire family. It was a honor to serve your family while I was with Heartland Hospice.~Posted by: Roxanne M. Woodward – Manassas, VA.
September 12, 2012Dear Shirley, I wanted you to know how very sorry we were to hear of Bob’s passing. From the first day I met you both you made me feel so welcome and because of my upbringing that was something I was not used to. The more time I spent with you and Bob I considered you both family also. I still cherish the silver serving dish you gave me and think of you whenever I see it. I remember all the good times we had at Roger’s in the pool, cook-outs, etc. and I was always on your and Bob’s shallow side. I’ll always remember Bob and miss him very much. I wish Jerry and I could be there but please know that we, along with Jerry Lynn and Melissa have both of you in our prayers and hope and pray that you get through it all. With all my love, Linda Ray Huddleson~Posted by: Linda Huddleson – Dayton, OH.
September 12, 2012Bobby once soared in the air as a pilot and is now soaring with the angels having earned the joy of everlasting life. A great man, a great friend. He will be missed. With our heartfelt sympathy. Love, Roger, Debbie, Caitlin & Chris~Debbie Ray – Nicholasville, KY.
September 11, 2012I was so distressed to read in the newspaper of Bob’s death. I worked closely with Bob & Shirley in politics many years ago and saw first-hand the extraordinary depth of his integrity and commitment to principles. He was a fine man. My deep and abiding condolences to Shirley and all of Bob’s family.~John S. Buckley – Arlington, VA.
September 08, 2012I worked closely with Bob for over 10 years in automotive retail. Among all staff, Bob distinguished himself with a bedrock work ethic, always lived up to his convictions and followed a true moral compass. What a pilot-patriot he was too, with a career of safe and successful flight hours and missions which included his flying a badly damaged aircraft with crew back to base with a leaking fuel cell and fatally wounded command pilot. A great man we all had in Bob, it showed each day. I visited Bob some months ago at home and watched the loving care from Shirley and family. I just wish I had made it one last time. Shirley, Kim, Mark, and James, know Bob must have felt blessed to receive your daily loving care.~Scott Johnson – Montgomery Village, MD.
September 08, 2012Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you at this time of loss. Robert was a wonderful husband; father, brother, uncle and friend. He will be greatly missed but his spirit lives on in his children and grandchild. All our love to Shirley, Kim, Mark and James. Sister Margaret, Terry and family, Carole and family~Margaret Roberts – Noblesville, IN.
September 08, 2012Our thoughts and prayers are with Shirley, Kim, Mark, and James at this time and thank you all for your dedication and love for Robert during his battle. Aunt Sharon and family~Sharon Johnson – Noblesville, IN.