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Harry E. Stowers

1926 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
Harry E. Stowers Obituary
Stowers, Justice Harry E.

Harry E. Stowers, Jr., a native New Mexican, was born April 21, 1926 in Fort Bayard and raised in Madrid â€" both small New Mexico mining towns.

It was from Madrid's hardscrabble daily life that Harry developed his roots. Raised during the Depression, he saw everything from street fights to dusty caravans of miners' coffins wending through town after a mining accident. Harry learned from his parents, Harry and Florence Stowers, the tenacity and resolve required to overcome difficult circumstances. It was his upbringing in Madrid that instilled the values that made Harry successful later in life as a lawyer, judge, and eventually Chief Justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court.

Upon graduating from Silver City High School in 1943, Harry attended the University of New Mexico and, as a walk-on, started on the Lobos' baseball team. This, after not playing ball in high school, as Silver City had no team. His schooling interrupted by World War II, Harry was drafted into the Army as a "Buck Private" and sent to the Philippines as an infantryman. He left at the end of the war, less than two years later, as a First Sergeant in the 557th Signal Depot Company. His leadership qualities blossomed in the steamy Philippine jungle.

After the war, Harry finished his studies at UNM in 1950 and enrolled at Georgetown University Law School in Washington, D.C. He put himself through school working a variety of full-time jobs: aide to Senator Dennis Chavez, assistant doorman of the U.S. Senate, guard for the Congressional Police Force, and clerk in the Senate Post Office. Returning to Albuquerque, Harry first worked in the City Attorney's Office and later served as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of New Mexico. He then worked in private practice for 14 years.

During this time, Harry was active in the Albuquerque Citizens' Committee, which developed a platform and recruited candidates to run for city commissioner. Participation in this committee, including acting as its chairman, sparked Harry's lifelong love of politics. In 1968, Harry ran for governor, but lost in the Democratic primary.

Harry's civic involvement was not limited to politics, as he was active in a variety of community affairs. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the United Community Fund, a precursor to the United Way. He was a member of the Albuquerque Boys Club and a founding member of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Albuquerque. He also belonged to the Kiwanis Club of Albuquerque.

Months after Harry's unsuccessful run for District Court Judge, Governor Bruce King appointed him to fill a vacancy on the District Court. Eleven years later, he was elected to the New Mexico Supreme Court, became its Chief Justice, and retired from the judiciary in 1989. He served a term as Mayor of the Village of Los Ranchos and was lured back into practice by the Branch Law Firm, where he served of counsel until he was 88.

Harry was a trusted friend, mentor and confidant, the father of daughter, Faye McAfee, twins, Liz Vigil and Joe Stowers, and a loving and devoted husband to wife, Joyce. He is also survived by his sister, Linda Brittelle, and step-daughters, Karen Mangum and Ramona Mangum.

His hobbies included politics, reading and gardening. He was admired and respected by all as a fun-loving, honorable, disciplined, caring and generous man. Harry passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family, on July 8, 2015, age 89.

In summary, a good man â€" a gentleman, a scholar and a New Mexican.

A Rosary and eulogy in his honor will be held on Thursday, July 16, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, 9502 4th St. NW, on the corner of 4th St. and Alameda Blvd. A Funeral Mass will start at 10:00 a.m. Interment will follow immediately after mass at Sunset Memorial Park, 924 Menaul Blvd. NE.

Please visit our online guest book for Harry at www.frenchfunerals.com.

FRENCH - Westside

9300 Golf Course Rd. NW

Published in Albuquerque Journal from July 12 to July 15, 2015
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