Hollis Bowers, of Silver Spring, MD, died at home, on Wed. June 12, 2013. He was one month shy of his 95th birthday.
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Hollis Bowers was a 1940 graduate of Strayer College of Accountancy, Washington, DC and began employment with the FBI the same year. Appointed a Special Agent in Nov. 1941, he served in the Houston, TX, NY, NY and DC offices until April 1962. During his FBI tenure he worked on accounting frauds, criminal violations, Soviet espionage, and as an Instructor in the Training Division. In the book, "The FBI-KGB War," author, Ralph Lamphere, acknowledged Mr. Bowers for his assistance and encouragement.
In April of 1962, he joined the US Dept. of Labor, where he and a cadre of former FBI agents were responsible for planning and directing the criminal aspects of investigations into labor-management corruption. These investigations were an outgrowth of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (Landrum-Griffin Bill) of 1959 enacted following the "Teamster Hearings." While with the DOL, he was directly responsible for bringing to the attention of the US Dept. of Justice information critical to the investigation and conviction of William "Tony" Boyle, President of the United Mine Workers of America, for involvement in the infamous murders of Jack Yablonski, his wife, and daughter, on Dec. 31, 1969, at their home in California, PA. Yablonski was a candidate and opponent of Boyle's in the 1969 UMWA election. Trevor Armbrister, of The Readerás Digest, authored a book in 1975 about the murders entitled, "Act of Vengeance." In his book, he acknowledged the role of Mr. Bowers in the investigation.
Following retirement from the DOL in 1970, Mr. Bowers was employed as Executive Director of the Apartment House Council, Washington, DC and later beginning in 1972, served as Director of the Insurance and Protection Division of the American Bankers Association until 1977. He was the motivating force in development of the ABA's hallmark Bank Protection Manual distributed to over 12,000 financial institutions.
Mr. Bowers spent the years 1977-1982 as a part-time investigative consultant to law firms while maintaining residences in Silver Spring and the Eastern Shore of MD. He re-entered the federal service in Oct. 1982, as Assistant Director for Investigations, Office of Inspector and Auditor, Nuclear Regulatory Agency and again retired in Oct. 1985.
He was a member of the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI since 1962 and a life member of the American Society of Industrial Security and the Association of Former Intelligence Officers.
In private life, he converted to Roman Catholicism at the age of 20 and was an ardent foe of abortion. He was a Loyola Retreatant for many years and a member of St. Bernadette Church, Silver Spring, MD for 40 years. In 1990 he moved to Woodstock, VA where he was a member of St. John Bosco Church until he returned to Silver Spring in 2010.
Mr. Bowers' only sibling, Lt. Hugh "Buddy" Bowers, USAF, 708th Bomb Squad, was KIA in WWII on Aug. 27, 1944 while flying his 22nd Mission .
Mr. Bowers' wife, the former Ellen Elizabeth Sullivan, a third generation Washingtonian, died in 2002. Their son, LCpl John M. Bowers, USMC, was KIA in Vietnam March 21, 1966 after volunteering for a special mission during which he responded under fire to a call for help from a wounded comrade. Their son, James R. Bowers, died in Silver Spring, Dec. 6, 1994.
Mr. Bowers is survived by 4 children, Kathleen E. Wallis of Chevy Chase, MD, Thomas H. Bowers of Hagerstown, MD, Ellen S. Bowers of Silver Spring, MD, Anita M. Chunn of Jamul, CA and 9 grandchildren.
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Published in Northern Virginia Daily on June 18, 2013