Richard Carl Bowman Maj. Gen. USAF, Ret
July 5, 1926 – May 3, 2019
Richard Carl Bowman, Maj. Gen. USAF, Ret., passed away from natural causes, at home, in Alexandria, Virginia, on Friday, May 3, 2019. He was 92 years old. He was a wonderful and much-loved husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.
General Bowman was born in Chicago. His parents were Carl E. Bowman and Lucile R. Bowman. Carl was an immigrant from Gotland, Sweden. As a young man, he especially enjoyed the boy scouts and he was an Eagle Scout. He had hoped to be either a geologist or a minister. He was very religious. He loved to visit the Field Museum and purchase rocks and fossils at the museum store. However, World War II interfered. In high school, he joined the ROTC, and after graduating he was still too young to join the infantry, so he enlisted in the Army Reserve Specialized Training Program. The career information below is from the Air Force Biography, www.af.mil/AboutUs.
From 1945-1949, Richard attended West Point. In 1949, at West Point, he won the NCAA fencing championship in epee. He graduated with a bachelor of science degree and a commission as a second lieutenant. In 1950, he married Lois Hassenauer. They were married for 68 years, until his death. In 1951, he was sent to Korea. He was the Flight Commander, 729th Bombardment Squadron, South Korea, and flew 55 missions in B-26 bomber in the Korean War. In 1954, he obtained his master’s degree in industrial engineering and management, Oklahoma State University. In 1955, he was assigned to the first staff of the U.S. Air Force Academy, as staff training officer for the commandant of cadets. He was responsible for developing the airmanship training programs. He also served on the accreditation committee and organized and coached the cadet intercollegiate fencing team. From 1957-1959, he attended Harvard University. He earned his master’s degree in public administration. In 1964, he received his doctorate in political science. In 1959, he returned to the Air Force Academy faculty in Colorado Springs, Colorado, as an associate professor in the political science department. From 1964-65, he moved to Alexandria, Virginia, and served as military assistant to General Earle G. Wheeler, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. From 1966-67, he attended the National War College. From 1967-1973, he served as Chief of Research and Analysis Division, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force. From 1973-1975, he served as Deputy defense adviser to U. S. ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization alliance, at Brussels, Belgium.
He was a command pilot with 4,800 flying hours. He was promoted to major general Aug. 1, 1975, with date of rank Nov. 1, 1972. He retired Dec. 1, 1981.
His awards include: Defense Distinguished Service Medal; Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster; Distinguished Flying Cross; Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters; Army Commendation Medal; Air Force Commendation Medal; Presidential Unit Citation emblem with oak leaf cluster; Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation ribbon; From the King of Norway: Commander with star of the Order of St. Olaf. 1981. From the Federal Republic of Germany: Knight Commander’s Cross with Star, 1978. The last two were in connection with his work with the NATO alliance.
Some of his volunteer activities included: Boy Scouts: Troop 680 Scoutmaster, and District Commissioner. Mt. Vernon Knights of Columbus, including Grand Knight. Lector at St. Louis Church. Member of the parish building committee overseeing the construction of the Junior High School.
Richard was a model train aficionado; he loved planning and building his model train. He also loved to play the piano, and to sing at Mass. He continued throughout his life as a student of American and military history. He loved sailing and boats. He was also a gardener and a birder. At the time of his death, he was waiting for the return of the hummingbirds. One of his favorite things was to take his family to Cape Cod for a vacation every year, and sail his Sunfish with them. He loved to travel with Lois, especially to England and Ireland.
He is survived by Lois H. Bowman, his wife of 68 years; his daughters: Victoria (Chris) Smoke; Meg Runsdorf (Padraic Flaherty); Kristin Spencer; and Mary (John) Millikin, and his son, Richard, Jr. “Tod” (Cathy) Bowman.
His grandchildren include Maggie (Bill) Bennett; Julia and Sarah Bowman; Joe (Melissa), Andrew (Claire), Peter (Farah), Alice (Adam), and Michael Millikin.
He also had a great-granddaughter, Mya Bennett, and two step-great-granddaughters, Nadia and Natasha Sepahi-Ziyaeen.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Carl and Lucile Bowman, and his brother, John Bowman.
Visitation, May 8 (Wednesday) from 6-8 pm. Demaine Funeral Home, 520 South Washington St., Alexandria VA 22314. Funeral Mass, May 9 (Thursday) 11am, St. Louis Catholic Church, 2907 Popkins Lane, Alexandria, VA 22306. Reception to follow at Knights of Columbus Hall, 8592 Richmond Hwy, Alexandria, VA 22309. Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery, date to be announced.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” Psalm 23
- Visitation Wednesday, May 8, 2019
- Mass of The Resurrection Thursday, May 9, 2019
Richard Carl Bowman Maj. Gen. USAF, Ret
May 7, 2019
To the family of Mr. Bowman. I'm very sorry to hear about your great loss. Not many of us can say we have a family member, who has lived such a long life. At ( 1 Corinthians 15:26) we are reassured that the last enemy death, is to be brought to nothing.
May 6, 2019
Dear Lois and the entire Bowman family--I was so very sorry to hear of Dick's passing. I know what a wonderful husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather he was. Each time I had the pleasure of being around him, he was always so gracious and kind to me. I will never forget hearing that strong voice in song coming from the back pews of St. Louis; I knew instantly it was his voice singing praises to our Lord--how wonderful the sound. May he rest in the arms of our Lord and may our Lord bring you his peace in this time of such sorrow. Thinking and praying for you.