Gowen, Billy Blaine "Bill," age 89, of Wichita, passed away Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, in Wesley Hospital in Wichita, with his wife of 60 years by his side. He was born June 14, 1924, in Washburn, Mo., the son of William D. and Mable (Webb) Gowen. On June 21, 1953, in Cassville, Mo., he was united in marriage to Norma Jean Baker, who survives. Also surviving are two daughters, Janet Bates and her husband, Bill, and Kay Gowen all of Wichita; one sister, Adella Horner and her husband, Bill of Cassville and two grandchildren, Andrew Pray of Seattle, Wash., and April Pray of Wichita. Preceding him in death were his parents and one brother, Wayne Gowen. Billy grew up and received his education at Washburn where he graduated from high school. After high school he joined the United States Army, during World War II, serving from Sept. 23, 1944 until Aug. 25, 1946. He then attended the University of Arkansas before being called back to the Army during the Korean War and served from Oct. 23, 1950, until Sept. 22, 1951. Upon returning home he finished his studies at the University of Arkansas and received his bachelor's degree. He had been employed with the Extension Service in Arkansas for a while and then moved to Wichita, where he was an Industrial Engineer for Boeing Aircraft for 32 years. After his retirement in 1985, he and Norma Jean did a lot of traveling. He loved to garden and enjoyed yard work. Researching the stock market was a major part of his retirement, which he thoroughly enjoyed. Over the years his love for animals was evident in the fact that he rescued at least 12 dogs and found their owners. Graveside services with military honors were held Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, in Washburn Prairie Cemetery, under direction of Fohn Funeral Home, Cassville. Contributions may be made to Lifeline Animal Placement and Protection, Inc., 310 N. 45th St. W., Wichita, KS 67204, in memory of Billy. Visit www.fohnfuneralhome.com for online obituaries, guestbook and private condolences.
Published in The Wichita Eagle on Dec. 20, 2013