(NEWS ARTICLE) BRITTON, Mich. - Long-time Britton resident Allen Robert Bower, a General Motors factory worker whose passion for developing nesting boxes for endangered birds led to his recognition as an expert on bluebirds and flickers, died Friday.
He was 76. The cause of death was not given.
Mr. Bower's work in expanding the population of bluebirds and northern flickers, a type of woodpecker, was recognized by state and national organizations.
His designs for nesting boxes specifically for bluebirds and flickers were published in books and articles.
His son Scott said Mr. Bower became interested in bluebirds in 1988 after reading about their importance and their decline.
"He was an avid outdoorsman," his son said.
"He felt it was his calling to give back because he was a hunter."
His nest-box design for the woodpeckers was recognized by the National Audubon Society in its Birdhouse Book.
His work on developing woodpecker nesting boxes earned him the nickname of "Flickerman," said his son, Scott.
The Bower Flicker Box has little cuts to mimic the chiseling that woodpeckers do to tree cavities.
The decline of bluebird numbers by the 1970s was attributed to the loss of habitat and from competition for nesting cavities by house sparrows and starlings.
Cornell University's Laboratory of Ornithology says volunteer efforts have led to an upsurge of bluebird sightings.
His conservation work was recognized by the North American Bluebird Society around 2005, his son said, and he was the recipient of numerous other conservation awards.
Mr. Bower was born Nov. 16, 1937, in Romulus, Mich., to George and Estelle Bower.
He married Nina Crutchfield on March 20, 1965, and she became his companion in bird conservation efforts.
He is a graduate of Romulus High School in 1956, and he attended a two-year short course on agriculture at Michigan State University.
He enlisted in the Army shortly before the Cuban Missile Crisis, serving stateside, his son said.
He was discharged in November, 1963.
He remained active with veterans organizations and was part of the group of volunteers who brought the replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall to Toledo, his son said.
Upon his return to civilian life, he moved to Britton, in Lenawee County, taking a factory job at General Motor's Fisher-Body plant in Tecumseh.
When the plant was closed, he transferred to GM's Hydromatic plant in Toledo, retiring in 2000 after 34 years of service, his son said.
His daughter-in-law, Kim Bower, said Mr. Bower spent his retirement visiting schools to spread the gospel of conservationism and telling the students how they could play an active role.
"I remember him when he told me he wanted his legacy to be to make sure that the flickers made a comeback," she said.
Surviving are his wife, Nina; sons, Todd and Scott; daughter, Andrea Mason; brother, Carl; sister, Arlene Martlock, and five grandchildren.
Services are at 11 a.m. today at Ridgeway Church of the Nazarene, Britton, Mich.
J. Gilbert Purse Funeral Home in Tecumseh is handling arrangements.
Contact Jim Sielicki at: email@example.com or 419-724-6050.
Published in Toledo Blade on June 30, 2014