Dudley Bowker
1927 - 2020
Share
Share Dudley's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share
Dudley Francis Bowker, 92

WORCESTER - Bank President, Pilot, Helped Transform Worcester Airport

Dudley Francis Bowker, 92, died May 8, 2020 from complications of Covid-19. A lifelong resident of Worcester, Dudley served as president and CEO of Millbury Savings Bank. An accomplished pilot, he served as chairman of the Worcester Airport Commission and as a member of the Massachusetts Aeronautics Commission, advocating for improvements that expanded the city's regional airport into an economic engine for central Massachusetts.

He was a resident of the Jewish Healthcare Center at the time of his death.

He was born in Worcester in 1927, the fourth son of Harold Sawyer and Susie Mae (Upham) Bowker. He was a graduate of Commerce High School and a 3-year program sponsored by the National Association of Mutual Savings Banks at Brown University. He started his 45-year financial career as a teller at the Millbury Savings Bank rising to president. He is remembered for his lively personality and ability to keep the bank prosperous during his 14-year tenure at the helm. He retired in 1993.

Dudley enlisted in the Navy in 1945 before finishing high school in order to join his 3 older brothers in combat. He attended Aviation Machinists Mate School at the Naval Air Training Center and trained as a rear seat aerial gunner for Navy dive and torpedo bombers. He became a target drone pilot and operator. He served aboard the battleship USS Wyoming, and the USS Solar, a destroyer that was sunk an hour after he transferred off.

At the age of 15, Dudley worked at the Grafton Airport, trading his time for flying lessons. He received his pilot's license at the age of 16. Using the GI Bill, he attended the Boston National Aviation Academy and graduated with a certificate in airframe and power plant mechanics. He flew planes until he was 87 years old. He flew his niece to Nantucket for her honeymoon and friends and relatives to regional airports for Saturday morning breakfasts.

He was active with the Greendale Men's Club and enjoyed playing in the senior softball league as a pitcher. He was a 32nd degree Mason and a member of the Olive Branch Lodge in Douglas.

Dudley is survived by his wife of 28 years Gladys (Crawford) Forget Bowker, four children: Barbara Minney of Millbury; Steven and his partner Sue Henzy of Georgia; Lee and his wife Judy and Cheryl Vassar and her husband Jeffrey of Millbury; four stepchildren; Steven Forget and his wife Micheline of Shrewsbury; Paula Morrison and her husband Scott of Holden; Christine Forget and her husband John Humphreys of Jamaica Plain and Peter Forget of Westerville, OH as well as 8 grandchildren, 8 step-grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews He is predeceased by his parents, his three brothers, Bradley, Calvin, and Gordon and son-in-law Louis H. Minney.

The family would like to thank the staff of the Jewish Healthcare Center for their kindness and care of Dudley.

Due to the current restrictions on public gatherings, services for Dudley will be private and a celebration of life will be scheduled at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Park Congregational Church, 111 Park Ave., Worcester, MA 01609 or Oakham Congregational Church, 4 Coldbrook Road, Unit 12, Oakham, MA 01068.

MERCADANTE FUNERAL HOME & CHAPEL, 370 Plantation Street, Worcester is assisting the family with arrangements. To share your thoughts and memories of Dudley, please visit his guestbook at www.mercadantefuneral.com.


To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Worcester Telegram & Gazette from May 12 to May 14, 2020.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
Service
Celebration of Life
MEMORIES & CONDOLENCES
Not sure what to say?
View Printed Guest Book
24 entries
May 18, 2020
My deepest condolences to the Bowker family on your loss - David Lachina
David Lachina
Friend
May 16, 2020
My memories of this man brings a smile to my face. Dudley was a very dear friend to our family.
I will always treasure his humor, generosity and friendship. He was one of a kind and one of my dad's favorite.

My sincere sympathy to the family for your loss. May God bless all of you and keep you safe.
Louella Grenier (Allaire)
Friend
May 16, 2020
Sorry to hear of Dudley's passing. My father played senior softball. My dad always said how nice Dudley was and had such a good sense of humor. I also met Dudley and always enjoyed talking softball and of flying. May he RIP and now fly with the Angels.
Scott and Willard Burnham
May 15, 2020
Dudley was a great teammate with a real sense of humor.
Amadeu(Junie) Pavini
Friend
May 14, 2020
Barbara and family so sorry to hear of my UNCLE DUDLEY 's passing. Many fond memories of him when we were younger.W ish all the Bowkers the best. Susie Bowker White
Susie Bowker/White
May 14, 2020
5/14/20
To the Bowker family
We are so sad to learn that Covid-19
took the life of Dudley.
Our Condolences from the MSB Little League
family, The Hansons
May 14, 2020
Dudley was my Little League coach in the early 1960s when I played for Millbury Savings Bank. He was the consumate coach. Great memories of playing baseball with his son Steve all the way through high school. While deployed on several cruises flying F-14s, I'd forward videos to my mother documenting life aboard the ship. She always forwarded them to Dudley who had an insatiable thirst for aviation. He was a hero of mine since I was 9 years old and I'll never forget him. My condolences to the Bowker family during this difficult time.
John Huchowski
May 14, 2020
sorry for your loss of your DAD bob divris
May 14, 2020
Dudley will be missed. I enjoyed the years of knowing him, hanging out with him at the airport and times flying.
Great person I was lucky to have known him.
Tom Lussier
May 14, 2020
Sorry to hear of Dudley's passing, he was a friend to everyone he met. He leaves a lasting memory for all his family and friends to reminisce about. He wore many hats and wore them well. My sincere condolences to Dudley's family in this time of mourning.
Burt Clark
May 13, 2020
So sorry for your loss . Remembering my Dad and Dudley , such great friends . He used to buy a magazine from me when I was in high school . He was awesome guy and he will be greatly missed . My sincere condolences.
From Tracy Kot ( Joyce Cardins daughter )
Tracy kot ( Cardin )
Friend
May 13, 2020
He was someone that will leave a lasting memory in my mind.
Britt Britton
Friend
May 13, 2020
Barbara,
So sorry to hear of the loss of your father.
He was a very interesting man.
Sharron-Stockwell-Vottiero
Sharron Vottiero
May 13, 2020
Soo sorry about the loss of Dudley. he was a good man.
Carrie Gurney
Friend
May 13, 2020
So sorry to hear of your loss. We enjoyed Gladys and Dudley's company at the Anderson's house. Our sincere condolences.
Larry & Barbara Morris
May 13, 2020
Will always remember the great times we had playing senior softball together in Worcester. RIP Brother Dudley.
Guy Helander
May 13, 2020
Will always remember the great times we had playing senior softball together in Worcester. RIP Brother Dudley
Guy Helander
May 13, 2020
Barbara, so sorry for the loss of your father. Judging from his obituary, he had a very active and interesting life! May your fond memories help to ease your sorrow at this difficult time.
Mary (Graveline) Brodeur
Friend
May 13, 2020
Terrific pitcher, great teammate, always fun to be around .will be missed.
Jack Catterall
Friend
May 13, 2020
Mrs. Bowker & family: Lots of great memories with this man. He believed in me even when I didn't! He lived a full life and left no stone unturned. Sleep tight Mr. B & thank-you! For Mrs. Bowker & family I pray all your wonderful memories will guide you all through this very sad time.
Bonny (Wilkinson) Dattis
Friend
May 12, 2020
A Great friend and will be missed at our Saturday breakfasts at McDonalds. "Rest in Peace my friend"


Tim Hickey
Tim Hickey
May 12, 2020
Gladys,
I'm very sorry to hear of Dudley's passing.
Keri (Arzinda's friend)
May 12, 2020
REST IN PEACE DUDLEY!
Michael Marzo
May 12, 2020
Paul David
INVITE OTHERS TO ADD MEMORIES
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences