Delbert Duane Bowers had two careers and a host of civic affiliations.
Bowers, 87, of Harker Heights, the former co-owner of Crawford-Bowers Funeral Home, died Monday at a Harker Heights hospital.
Born Nov. 20, 1929, in Barada, Neb., he graduated from the University of Nebraska in Omaha.
After graduation, he entered the U.S. Army, serving for 27 years until his retirement in 1974 at the rank of chief warrant officer 4.
Afterward, he had a second career as a funeral director, partnering with William “Bill” Crawford as co-owner of Crawford-Bowers Funeral Home in Killeen in 1972 and Crawford-Bowers Funeral Home in Copperas Cove in 1988.
They sold the business in 1989 to Service Corporation International, though Bowers remained active as a consultant until his death.
Keith Turner, central Texas market leader for Dignity Memorial Funeral Homes, first started working for Bowers in high school, doing odd jobs including raking leaves, washing cars and mowing the lawn.
“He was my mentor, role model and friend,” Turner said. “He was a strong, trustworthy individual and someone who genuinely wanted to help all of mankind regardless of race, religion or economical status. He wanted to help everyone in their darkest hour.”
The opportunity for Bowers to do just that arose when he oversaw funeral arrangements for the shooting victims of the Oct. 16, 1991, Luby’s massacre in Killeen.
Turner said he was impressed by Bowers’ handling of the arrangements.
“He handled it very professionally and was straightforward,” Turner said. “He handled everyone with the utmost respect and the dignity that they deserved.”
Aside from being a successful business leader, Bowers was dedicated to many civic organizations, including Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3892 in Harker Heights, Disabled American Veterans Post 147 in Killeen and American Legion Post 223 in Killeen.
He was a member of the Elks Lodge of Falls City, Neb., since 1950, the Killeen Evening Lions Club, the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce, the Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce and the Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce.
Bowers was also an active member of Skyline Baptist Church in Killeen.
“He was dedicated to his church,” Turner said. “He regularly attended church events and social outings right up to his death.”
In his spare time, he enjoyed spending time with his family, playing golf and working at the funeral home.
Bowers was preceded in death by his parents, Delbert L. and Daisy Kirkendall Bowers.
He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Jean Bowers of Harker Heights; a son, Brent Bowers of Nashville, Tenn.; a daughter, Debra Hand of El Paso; a brother, Delmar Bowers of Mountain Home, Ark.; a sister, Delores Stanfild of Falls City, Neb.; four grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.
Funeral services were Friday at Skyline Baptist Church in Killeen, and burial with military honors followed at Killeen City Cemetery.
Visitation was Thursday at Crawford-Bowers Funeral Home in Killeen. Visitation was Wednesday at Crawford-Bowers Funeral Home in Copperas Cove.
Memorials may be made to Skyline Baptist Church, 906 Trimmier Road, Killeen, TX 76541, or to Friends of the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery (for wreaths), 100 W. Central Texas Expressway, Suite 302, Harker Heights, TX 76548.
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