Jack H. Bowden went to be with his Savior on Aug. 31 after a lengthy illness. He was born in Lockhart, Texas on Jan. 29, 1931 to Edward and Eoline Bowden. He grew up in Lockhart and graduated from Lockhart H.S. in 1949. Throughout his childhood he made various trips on the train with his brother from Texas to California. He attended Texas A&M one year, then Oklahoma University in Norman, Oklahoma for two years, studying civil engineering.
His Naval career began when he enlisted in December 1952, starting as a gunner’s mate on the USS Hamner. He served four years, reaching the rank of Chief Petty Officer. His service took him throughout Southeast Asia, including the Korean Conflict. He played softball in the service: out of 117 games, only losing seven, competing against everything from shore-based teams to Triple A teams. His Naval awards included the National Defense Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the Korean and China Service Medals and the Good Conduct Medal.
Right before finishing his Naval career, he met and married his wife, Margaret Louise Howe of Shawnee, Okla. on June 21, 1955, in Arcadia, Calif. Jack and Margaret eventually settled in Jal, N.M., where Jack worked for El Paso Natural Gas Company. They began raising their four girls: Margaret Ann, twins Becky and Beverly and Jacque.
His career with EPNG began as a gang hand at Plant #1 in May of 1958. After a short clerical position under “Moose” Roy Tabb, Jack moved to the Corrosion Department where he served for 35 years, achieving the title of Specialist Field Administrator. He retired in 1996 after a 38-year career with EPNG, being especially proud of his 35-year service watch.
His interest included various sports (especially golf), yard work, and officiating throughout Southeast New Mexico and West Texas for high school baseball, basketball and volleyball. He received two Zebra awards in 1986 and 1994. He served as Secretary/Treasurer of the Southwest Official Association from 1987 to 1993 for the Permian Basin Charter of Volleyball. He was a member of the New Mexico Activities Association for 25 years and a Regional Little League Official Umpire.
Jack was a loyal servant to his family and community. He gave blood at every opportunity, eventually joining the “5 gallon club.” He and Margaret attended every school event in which their girls participated.
He is survived by his loving wife of 52 years, Margaret; his daughters, Margaret Ann, Becky, and Beverly; and sons-in-law, Earl Smalts, Jim Nicolet, Wia (Terry) Lui, and Steve Bender. He also leaves behind eight grandchildren, Michael, John and Melissa Nicolet, J.J., Christopher and Brady Smalts, Michael Rebant, and Daniel Bender; and one great-granddaughter, Makayla Kantor.
He is preceded in death by his parents; brother Dr. E. Lane Bowden, Jr.; and his daughter, Jacque Bowden Nicolet.
A celebration of Jack’s life was held at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2007 at First United Methodist Church of Jal, N.M. with Reverend Daniel Kowacich officiating. Pallbearers included Earl Smalts, Steve Bender, Wai Lui, John Nicolet, JJ Smalts, Christopher Smalts, Daniel Bender and Brady Smalts. Doyle Rheay was named as Honorary Pallbearer.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials in Jack’s name be made to the American Cancer Society, PO Box 102454, Atlanta, Ga. 30368-2454 or to the First United Methodist Church, attn: Special Projects, PO Box 1000, Jal, N.M., 88252.
The family wishes to thank the dear friends of Jal and Midland, and the nurses at Midland Memorial Hospital, for their love and support during their loss.
Arrangements were entrusted to Family Services Funeral Parlor of Kermit, Texas.
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