Lt. Col. William "Bill" Bowers
1949 - 2020
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.
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13 Entries
I only met Bill one time in the early-mid 1980s. I was at NAS Dallas taking photos and he was flying with VMFA-112. He took up a camera for me and got some spectacular shots. One even ended up on the cover of a DVD. We exchanged emails for years. I knew he was sick and when I didn't get any responses to me emails earlier this year I feared for the worst. Obviously my fears were founded.

What a dear man and outstanding aviation photographer. I only wish we would have lived closer to each other. I will miss our email exchanges and shared aviation photos.
Robert Genat
September 18, 2020
Sorry to hear of Bill's passing, I really respected Bill after knowing him several years and after reading his obit, I didn't know half of his many impressive accomplishments. A straight shooter if ever there was one. Looking forward to seeing you on the other side and hearing about some of your adventures.
May 6, 2020
What a memorable life of service to his country, family and community. My sincere condolences to those who loved him. His family and friends are in my prayers for peace and comfort during this difficult time of grief.
May 6, 2020
I loved working with Bill. He was a Marine through and through. I remember him walking and running the back yard at work and appreciated his dedication to physical fitness. He was patient and kind and didn't mind a little roughness around the edges if the intent was in the right spot. I was sorry to hear of him passing and wish you and your family peace on these long days.
Liz M
May 6, 2020
A fine man, a good colleague, and a fellow pilot. B-Bop, you pulled up into the Missing Man too soon. Rest well, my friend.
Dean Eppler
May 6, 2020
I remember Bill coming to my softball games and taking great action photos of our team. My dad, Don Williams, had great respect for Bill and enjoyed working with him. Very sorry to hear of his passing.
Barbara Corso
May 6, 2020
One of the truly great men I have ever worked with.
Robert Seiwell
May 5, 2020
Bill was an outstanding gentleman - respectful, calm, and patient, I never saw him angry and he was always willing to listen and try resolve whatever latest issue/challenge was in front of us. I am very thankful to have known - and learned much - from him.
Richard Guidry
May 4, 2020
B2 was a great friend & co-worker. Worked next to him for over ten years. His hard work and friendship will be missed.
Mike Hudson
May 4, 2020
I officiated with Bill in the Houston Chapter of Football Officials. He was a rule guy who could be counted on to be ready for the season. He will be missed.
Ron McMiller
May 4, 2020
A great husband, father, airman, Texan and American! We salute you and your family! A great patient too! Dr Desiree Hopping
Desiree OD
May 4, 2020
My sincerest sympathy to the Bowers family for your loss. I worked with Bill during many NASA Shuttle and Spacelab astronaut photo/TV training sessions. He was incredibly personable and well liked by everyone who knew him, always willing to go the extra step, ensuring every technical photo-tv detail was documented and ready for flight. He also took many incredible action shots of our daughter and son playing ball. We enjoyed many chats with him at the ball fields. He shared a big smile, a warm handshake and an interesting conversation, no matter the hour. Rest In Peace, Bill, you will be missed.
Jody Eichblatt
May 3, 2020
I would like to offer my sincere condolences, and please know that God will comfort your family throughout this difficult time (2 Thessalonians 2:16,17).
May 1, 2020
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