Colonel Robert Lee Bowers U.S. Army, Retired

May 21, 1949April 10, 2019

Colonel Robert Lee Bowers, US Army (Ret.), age 69 of San Antonio, Texas, passed away on Wednesday, 10 April, 2019. Born in San Antonio, Texas, Colonel Bowers spent many years away from his birthplace, as the son of an Air Force officer, and then as an officer in the U.S. Army, himself. Colonel Bowers attended North Georgia College where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and was a member of REX (Sigma Nu) Fraternity. Following graduation, he commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army.

His military career included numerous challenging and rewarding assignments. During his 28 years on active duty, Colonel Bowers attended the Army Command and General Staff College; Army War College; Ranger Training; Intelligence Officer Advanced Course; and was both a student, and later, an instructor at the U.S. Army Intelligence School. He was a recipient of the Legion of Merit, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and five awards of the Meritorious Service Medal, among others. In addition to his many awards, Colonel Bowers also earned the right to wear a Master Parachutist Badge with a combat distinguishing device (Bronze Service Star); Air Assault Badge; Ranger Tab; Scuba Diver Badge; and, Army Staff Identification Badge.

Colonel Bowers commanded units from the company through the brigade levels and mentored generations of Army leaders. His duty stations included multiple tours of duty in Germany, a stint as the G-2 for the famed 101st Airborne Division, and later at the Pentagon, as the Chief of Force Development for the U.S. Army. For his last command, Colonel Bowers led the nation’s primary provider of ground intelligence as Commander, National Ground Intelligence Center. Upon retirement from the Army in April of 1999, he had a ten-year career with SAIC.

He is survived by his sons, Russell and Johnson Bowers, and their partners Rebecca Harvey and Hillary Fox. Both boys were deeply loved by Bob alongside his former spouse, Judi Bowers. He is additionally survived by his sister, Mary-Linton Napper; brother, John Bowers; and cousin Don Johnson along with their beautiful families. He is preceded in grace by his mother and father, and his brother, Steve Bowers. A funeral service with full military honors will be conducted 10:45 AM Friday, April 26th, 2019 at Fort Sam Houston. Following the memorial service, a reception to celebrate the life of Colonel Bowers will be held at the Army Residence Community, from 1-3 PM. Memorial contributions may be given to RAICES Texas, a non-profit dedicated to refugee and immigrant legal services, in lieu of flowers.

Colonel Robert Bowers was quick to offer a story, and a smile, to all who knew him, and even to a few who didn’t! He was a true patriot, and a cherished friend. He will be greatly missed.

Col. Robert Lee Bowers was a:

Soldier United States Army, 1971 to 1999

Son of Col. William R. and Mary B. Bowers

Father of Russell and Johnson Bowers

Father -in-Law of Rebecca Harvey

Brother of Steve, Mary Linton, and John Bowers

Brother-in-Law of Larry Napper, husband of Mary Linton, Cathy Bowers, wife of John, and Pam Bowers, wife of Steve

Uncle of Mary Linton and Larry’s sons, David and Robert Napper John and Cathy’s daughters, Katie and Johnnie Lee Bowers Steve’s children Chrissy, Chandler, and Hillary Bowers, and half-sister, Paige Adair

Cousin of Susan, Don, and Linton Johnson and Linda and Cynthia Johnson


26 April

Graveside Service with Military Honors

10:45 am

Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery

Shelter No. 5

1520 Harry Wurzbach Rd
San Antonio, Texas 78209


Colonel Robert Lee Bowers U.S. Army, Retired

have a memory or condolence to add?

Bill Heapes

April 23, 2019

I still can't believe that we lost such a good friend and great person, to never hear him laugh again or tell a story truly breaks my heart. To have known him, however, is a gift that will never be lost. Bob was full of life and passion. He served his country well and was a patriot to the end.

Many of us in Charlottesville got to know Bob and his family throughout his tenure at NGIC and the private sector after his military retirement. Bob was family to those who he worked with, giving of himself in support of the mission and the people who implemented it. Bob we love you and are forever grateful that we had the opportunity to be your friend, we are better people for that.

Dori Hestand

April 22, 2019

I am just so saddened to read this. My husband, Paul, worked under Bob at the 311th MI BN at Ft Campbell, KY in the mid to late 80's. Bob and Judi quickly became lifelong friends. Bob sometimes had a gruff exterior, but was really so kind and easy. And that infectious smile. Bob played Santa one year at our BN Christmas party, several young soldiers asked me, "who thought MAJ Bowers could be Santa?" I did! And the kids loved him. My 36 yr old son recalled yesterday what he, as a four year old, asked for, cake, and Santa immediately provided. We sat together at a couple MI balls, so much laughter! When Bob's brother died and they had to leave for the funeral, Johnson stayed with us. We stayed the weekend with the Bowers family in VA when we moved back to the states from Rome ... always so open and generous. We had brunch together a few years ago in Arlington, the conversation just seemed to start back up where it left off. To Russell and Johnson, I am so sorry for your enormous loss. And Judi, much love to you. To your entire family, praying for peace as you all navigate the fog of grief. I am just so very sorry for your loss. God rest your soul Bob ...

Marc Maier

April 20, 2019

Rest in peace Colonel. I will always remember fondly our times together - Friday office hours socializing and spreading good cheer, arguing and debating, and myself sometimes trying to fill in as a post military 1st LT where I could. Your ability to take a story or anecdote and make it a relatable experience to any audience was one of your great strengths. Thank you for teaching us about 'a little high, a little low, maybe swinging in the trees' and how to properly run a poker table, including the breakfast charity pot for the players that lost everything (my first few years at Liverfest). I'm sure there was a great story for the origin of that which I never heard or maybe don't remember. But your friendship and guidance has made me a better person and for that I'm very grateful to have known you.
(Photo Credit to Chris Weicht - 2012)

Perry Stedman

April 18, 2019

I am very sorry to learn of this news. COL Bowers was not only a good leader but also a good friend after his retirement and subsequent private sector endeavors. I wish peace to him and his family. COL Bowers was a good man, friend to many, and served his country well.

Craig Strickland

April 18, 2019

I was saddened when informed that Bob had passed. Although I have not seen him since college, his memories will always be clearly etched in my mind. I am sure that many know Bob as a serious career Army officer who was a natural leader. Based on my interactions with him I am sure that was the case.
I knew Bob more a REX fraternity brother who was a person that possessed extreme natural charisma and leadership. AT NGC he took me out to get my first college beer in the Screaming Eagle (1953 VW).
I will always cherish that memory and many others from our fraternity days. As I said to other REX brothers when I found out Bob had passed..... We have lost a legend.
I am sure my sadness extends to all that knew Bob, but our memories with smiles will never be lost.

Buster Sexton

April 17, 2019

Outwardly, Col. Bowers came across as a tough, hardline military man. But, those of us who were under his everyday command at NGIC found him fair, and likable and made us feel part of the team. I enjoyed working under his command more than most. My personal experiences with him showed a warm and personable man, one I could call friend. He will certainly be missed. Rest In Peace, Col. Bowers.

Chuck Brady

April 17, 2019

Colonel Bowers was a great leader, a mentor, and a loyal friend. We had such great times together and I will miss him dearly. I would like to extend my condolences to the Bowers family, you are all in my prayers.

Greg Gordon

April 17, 2019

He was our Commander at NGIC, but when he was on the golf course he was just one of the guys—which is how he wanted it. We shared many laughs. A truly great Commander and a truly great person.

Carolyn Durham

April 16, 2019

I shall not forget the kindness and support Colonel Bowers extended to my family and me during my father's illness and death. His friendship through the years was a constant. Rest in peace my dear friend.

Josef Antosh

April 15, 2019

I have many memories visiting the Bowers family as a kid back when COL Bowers was in his prime. He was one squared away dude.