Lt. Col. William "Bill" H. Bowers
William H. (Bill) Bowers, passed away on April 6, 2020 after an intense battle with cancer. He was predeceased by his parents, Tyler residents Mervin and Ovalee Bowers. He is survived by his wife Rosie of Houston, children Melissa Davidson (Jason) of Friendswood, TX, William (Lisa) of Clifton, TX, Chris of Houston, and Jennifer Boyd (Hamilton) of Webster, TX, two grandsons Kellen and Landen Davidson, sisters Carla Bishop of Garland, TX and Becky Berry of Tyler, TX, brother Robert of Lindale, TX, and former F-4 aircrew of Marine Fighter Attack Squadrons-323 and 112.
Bill was born in Tyler, TX on Nov. 8, 1949. He graduated from Robert E. Lee HS (68) and Tyler Jr College. In 1973 he enlisted in the Marine Corps and completed basic officer training in Quantico, VA and Naval Flight Officer training in Pensacola, FL. In 1976, he was transferred to the 323 squadron as a RIO in the F-4 Phantom. He was aboard the USS Coral Sea in 1979 during the Iranian hostage crisis and flew in support of their rescue in Operation Eagle Claw. During his tour at El Toro he met and married his wife Rosie. After active duty Bill graduated from Austin College in 1982 and accepted a position with NASA. It was a fulfillment of his dreams to work with astronauts and the space program. In his more than 30 years of service to NASA, his roles included astronaut photography trainer, lead writer for the Space Shuttle operations and T-38 pilot manuals, and finally as safety engineer with the Space Shuttle and International Space Station. He was the recipient of the coveted Silver Snoopy award in 2004. Bill completed Naval Fighter Weapons School (Top Gun) in 1984 while in the reserves with VMFA-112. He retired in 1998 at the rank of Lt. Col. Bill officiated football for 38 seasons and was a member of the Collings Foundation which preserves historic aircraft including the F-4 Phantom. He was so very honored to be the last RIO still flying in the F-4. Bill took great pride in sharing his love of flying with his children and his sons worked and flew with him on various Foundation aircraft. One of his greatest joys was his son Will as his F-4 crew chief and his grandsons witnessing his F-4 flight at the 2017 Wings Over Houston air show. His daughters took his love of running by completing triathlons including Ironmans and marathons.
Published by Houston Chronicle on May 3, 2020.