Herbert Estill Bowman
June 28, 1928 – May 5, 2019
Rocky Flats pioneer and civic leader, Herbert Bowman, died May 5, 2019 at the age of 90 after living an extraordinary life. Bowman was born in Detroit, Michigan and came to Colorado as a baby with his parents. After living in a rail car for several years with his parents at the West Entrance of the Moffat Tunnel during the tunnel’s construction, his family settled in Grand Junction where Bowman was raised. He played football and basketball for Grand Junction High School before joining the Army to obtain the GI Bill for college in 1946. During his time in the Army, Bowman trained guard dogs and was on a security force at the Los Alamos National Laboratory just after the Manhattan Project. Two years later, Bowman entered Mesa College and then the University of Colorado, graduating in 1951 with a degree in Nuclear Physics. He then began working for the Dow Chemical Company on a project for the Atomic Energy Commission located in Los Alamos. The project eventually became the Rocky Flats Nuclear Facility in Golden.
Bowman was the tenth person hired at Rocky Flats and rose over the years from Production Control Manager, Quality Manager, Manufacturing Manager, and Assistant General Manager to General Manager of the entire facility in 1974. He was involved in Junior Achievement in Boulder, Rotary International and was a tutor for Boulder’s Juvenile Detention System.
While at Rocky Flats, Bowman also met Beverly Wolf and was married in 1953. They raised two children in Boulder, Gary Bowman and Lisa Bowman Schrader. The family moved in 1975 as Bowman’s career took him first to Freeport, Texas and then to Ohio with the Eastern Division of Dow Chemical where he managed numerous facilities. His civic leadership included President of the Ohio Chemical Council, President of the Findlay Chamber of Commerce, President of Junior Achievement in Colorado, Vice President of the Boy Scout Council of Ohio, President of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Member of the President’s Advisory Council for the University of Colorado, Director of the Ohio Council of Commerce and Industry, and a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International.
Bowman retired in 1987 and continued to be involved in numerous civic activities in Ohio and New Mexico before returning to Colorado in 2005. In 1992 production at Rocky Flats ceased and the decommissioning of the site began. Bowman said, “It was our hope and desire that someday Rocky Flats would be gone and the need for nuclear weapons would be no longer necessary. It was our dream that there would be a world without weapons, especially nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons just don’t have a place in our world.”
Herbert Bowman is survived by his brother, Bruce Bowman of Longmont (Patsy Bowman) his son, Gary Bowman of Longmont (Amy Bowman) his daughter Lisa Bowman Schrader of Castle Rock (Randy Schrader), his grandson Steve Schrader (Stephanie Schrader) and his granddaughter Jennifer Schrader Sparks (Joel Sparks.) He was also a great grandfather to Lily and Wyatt Schrader.
Herb Bowman’s family will honor his memory with a Celebration of Life on Wednesday, May 15, at 2:00 p.m. at Christ Lutheran Church (8997 S. Broadway, Highlands Ranch.) The community is welcome. If you were going to send flowers, Herb would love you to donate, instead, to the American Red Cross’s Mile High Chapter at 444 N. Sherman Street, Denver, CO 80203. (“Herb Bowman memorial fund”). The family asks that those wishing to attend, consider wearing Black and Gold to Herb's memorial to honor his love of “his” University of Colorado Buffaloes.
- American Red Cross - Mile High Chapter
- Celebration of Life Service Wednesday, May 15, 2019