Rex Bowen
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Rex Bowen
  • June 29, 1927 - November 18, 2017
  • Broomfield, Colorado

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Rex Bowen Jr. (age 90) died peacefully in his sleep after a brief illness at his home in Broomfield, Colorado on Saturday, November 18, 2017. He was born June 29, 1927 to Rex and Dovie (Smith) Bowen in Hope, Kentucky. After being drafted into the US Army in 1945, he married the love of his life, Ottilie Gabrielle (Weninger) in Vienna, Austria on August 30, 1947.
He is survived by his loving wife of 70 years and 4 children: Marie (Dave) Helsing, Bill (Diane) Bowen, Robert (Sue) Bowen, and Richard (Leora) Bowen; 9 grandchildren: Vanessa H (Dave) Godshalk, Derek Helsing, Sabrina (Josh) Stevens, David (Laura) Bowen, Jennifer Bowen, Cassie (Jon) DeSouza, Nikki (Jason) Surrett, Ethan and Josie Bowen; and 4 great grandchildren: Connor and Cadence Godshalk, Astrea Bowen, and Jonah Surrett. He is also survived by his sister Nancy Jane (Kelley) and many nieces and nephews.
Predeceased are his parents and siblings Mary Hazel (Moore), Buster, Rexie Maywood (Leachman), Georgie (Lee), Norval Douglas, Fred Everett, Carrie Elizabeth (Mueller), and Norine (Westerfield).
Growing up in rural Kentucky, Rex never dreamed that he would one day travel throughout the world, and become an accomplished photographer in the U.S. Army Signal Corp, attaining the rank of Sergeant First Class. After serving 23 years, including the Korean war, he retired in 1969 and settled in Fountain, Colorado. He returned to work in multiple jobs, including housing construction, finally accepting a position as photographer in the US Civil service for 18 years before retiring again and moving to Sun City, Arizona.
It was in Sun City that Rex and Tillie started enjoying the fruits of their labors with special friends, going on cruises, RV camping in Colorado and the western US, visiting family, and volunteering. For 20 years Rex volunteered at the baseball spring training camp facility in Peoria, for an organization that supported and funded various youth programs in surrounding communities. Rex was also proud to be a 'Kentucky Colonel'.
Rex will be remembered with love for the many admirable qualities he possessed and shared with others, especially including gratitude, hard working, generous, persevering, and devoted and dedicated husband and father. Throughout his life he worked hard to support his family, including holding multiple simultaneous jobs at various times during his life. At the same time he was very generous with both his time and his money, supporting a wide variety of charitable causes.
One of Rex's enduring character traits is perseverance. This was exemplified where as a young soldier performing cleanup duties in Austria following World War II, a pretty young Austrian girl, who spoke no English, caught his eye. He invited her out for ice cream through a friend of hers who spoke a little English. But she said NO. She said no three more times, but eventually he won her over. Then they faced another hurdle when Rex requested permission from the Army to marry her. His commanding officer, based on a letter from Rex's mother, blocked the request. Undeterred, Rex appealed this decision up his chain of command until he reached a general who approved the marriage. The result was the union of Rex and Tillie in marriage in a loving relationship that endured for over 70 years!
Special thanks to the caring staff at Sunrise FlatIrons during Rex's final days.
If desired, tax deductable donations in memory of Rex Bowen can be made to the Banner Olive Branch Senior Center, 11250 N 107th Ave, Sun City, Arizona 85351. Phone (623) 465-6000
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy can be shared at www.olingerhighland.com for the Bowen family.