By Nancy R. Elliott
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Richard Bowman was a man whose deep love of history changed Anderson. His passion and dedication made an indelible mark on the city and touched many lives. Bowman passed away on March 22, just shy of what would have been his 95th birthday on Easter Sunday.
“He loved history. He loved Madison County,” said longtime friend Rev. Bill Mathys of First United Methodist Church in Anderson.
Bowman’s need to pursue history created a legacy for the community in the form of books, archives, and a thriving Madison County Historical Society.
“He was instrumental in working with Max Howard,” said Don Hunt, who stepped in as president of the historical society in 2005 when Bowman stepped down. Hunt said that in 2004, Bowman worked closely with Howard in the donation of the old Citizens Bank Building at 11th and Meridian to set up a permanent home for Madison County history.
Bowman’s legacy to the community didn’t stop there. After more than 40 years as a chemical engineer at General Motors’ Guide Lamp, Bowman documented the story of the facility in a book. He wrote two other books detailing the histories of his grandfather and another ancestor.
Bowman applied his talents on behalf of the First United Methodist Church as well.
“He compiled all of our archives and helped remind us how important our history is,” said Rev. Jeff Taylor, pastor at the church. “He was the founder and prime mover of an income tax service that’s going on right now.”
The Alberta Bowman Vita Tax Center, named for Bowman’s late first wife, provides free tax assistance at the church to local citizens through trained, qualified volunteers. Last year, 900 tax forms were prepared.
“He was very generous,” said Maurita Bowman, the wife that Bowman leaves behind. The two married 15 years ago after meeting at a travel program Bowman presented. Their mutual love of travel drew them together.
Although their first date was a trip to the Indianapolis Zoo where Bowman volunteered, it wasn’t long before they traveled afield.
“We went over to England on the QE2 and flew back on the Concorde,” recalled Maurita. This man of many interests also found time to be an avid reader, crossword puzzler, photographer and even an artist who painted in acrylics and oils.
Bowman’s breadth of interests, spiritual devotion and care for his fellow man have left their mark on Madison County.
“He’s been quite a good influence in our community,” said Mathys.
Madison County Historian Stephen Jackson regretted Bowman’s passing, saying, “He’s truly going to be a loss to the historical society and to the community.”
Mathys will officiate at services for Bowman on Thursday at Robert D. Loose Funeral Homes & Crematory in Anderson. Visitation is from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. with services at 2:30.